During a recent thunderstorm I was lying in bed listening to the heavy rain and wind outside. Although the wind made it sound like there was complete chaos going on just outside my window, I felt an unusual peace in the moment. I began to think about how people react when a “life storm” hits their otherwise calm existance. Do they experience that same peace I felt that night or is their response something much different. How you react during the storms of life greatly depends on who your trust lies in.
Whenever there is a big thunderstorm at our home my grandmother who lives with us reacts with worry and fear. She can’t sit still. She comes in and out of her room as she tries to stay calm but she can’t help but keep looking out all the windows to make sure everything is still ok. If she was in the middle of something and a storm comes up she stops everything to direct all her focus and attention to the storm even though she’s in the safety of our home. She prepares for the worst possible scenario by readying her flashlight and ensuring that if it gets too bad we’ll all head to the basement for safety. She wants to talk about the storm and relay all the information that the weatherman has communicated on TV. She thinks there’s no chance that the storm will quickly blow over and fully expects it to last a very long time. Even if there is no severe weather in the forecast, if she sees clouds outside she assumes that a bad storm is coming. And although at 99 years old she has been through many, many thunderstorms and has come out of them completely unscathed, she still becomes consumed by the most current one.
Even as Christians don’t we respond that way many times to the storms of life? We worry, we can’t be at rest, instead of being full of faith we fully expect the worst case scenario, we put all our focus and attention on the storm and we are fearful of what’s going on around us even though we’re under the covering of God’s protection. We expect our storm to last a very long time and we quickly forget the previous storms we’ve been through and survived. Yet we proclaim our belief in Jesus, the very One who calmed the storm by rebuking the winds but like His disciples we lack faith and are fearful when the storm hits. We put our trust in our own abilities to overcome our storm. We become consumed by it and allow it to steal our focus away from the only place it should be. We too easily brush off the promises of God’s word that says that we are to be without fear because God is with us wherever we go. (Joshua 1:9). We forget that His word also says “When I am afraid I will trust in you”. (Psalm 56:3). Our trust is completely misplaced if it is anywhere but in God and the promises of His word.
When our trust is in God, not only can we experience a calm before the storm, but we can experience complete calm during the storm. When we surrender control of the situations and circumstances in our lives that usher us into the darkness of a storm, there is an inexplicable peace that overcomes the effects of the storm. And when we can continue to rejoice in the Lord even when things are spiraling out of control, His grace will sustain us through the storm. Philippians 4:6-7 promises “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” He is faithful in His promises. If you are in a storm and everything is raging around you and fear and worry are consuming you, it’s time to put your trust in the Jesus. Cry out to Him and ask Him to calm the storm. Then praise Him that He is the only One who can. The storm may continue to rage all around you but the storm within you will subside. That’s a promise.