On my way home from church last week, I was looking forward to spending some time in the sunshine. As I was driving, the skies began to grow dark from behind and it was headed towards home. I was surprised to see the dark clouds because I checked the forecast that morning and I figured it was going to be sunny and hot all day. I said out loud, “Great, of course the skies are dark now.” A few minutes later, the skies began to pour some of the largest raindrops I have ever seen.
In that moment, it all began to make sense. I was so looking forward to the sunshine, but I was surrounded by rain on every corner. How often does this happen to you in life? We press forward towards home and towards sunshine, but sometimes it seems as though the clouds are chasing us and we are about to face a torrential downpour.
What is your downpour?
Maybe it was the call that you lost a loved one. Perhaps you found out that your loved one has cancer.
Maybe you heard that your spouse found someone else and left you to be a single parent.
Perhaps you have broken relationships that you cannot seem to mend.
Perhaps you were called into work for the last time and then heard that you were being laid off.
Maybe your best friend decided that it is best to part ways.
Perhaps your finances took a nosedive and you don’t know how to pick them up again.
Maybe depression has taken you into a place of isolation that you just cannot seem to overcome.
Perhaps you are so inwardly broken that you forget what it feels like to be whole.
Am I speaking your language? Am I reaching you with one of these situations?
I hear it so often, “I just cannot catch a break.” Oh, how exhausting it is to enter into warfare—physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
For clarity, we do not have control over life’s situations and storms are inevitable… BUT we do have control over what becomes of us during these times. The Father whispered to me the other day, “You choose. You can allow it to overcome you and you can fall under pressure, OR you can overcome it and allow it to make you stronger.”
Fear vs. Faith
I wrote a blog post about fear and faith a few months ago that explained how the two cannot coexist. (If you have not read that, it goes hand-in-hand with this blog post). To continue this idea, I find it important to illustrate how we can choose faith OVER fear in the midst of storms.
Before we can dive into how we can constantly choose faith over fear, it is important to turn to Scripture and see what Jesus had to say. Matthew 8:23-27 talks about the time that the disciples were on a boat when a storm appeared and they feared for their lives. As they were panicking in the eye of the storm, Jesus was sound asleep. They called out to Him, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing” (Verse 25). Jesus’ response hit me like a boulder. He said to his followers, “Why are you so afraid, O you of little faith?” In other words, Jesus looked at his disciples and said, “Why are you so worked up over this storm? Don’t you know who I am? Don’t you know what I am capable of doing?” I was convicted… How many times am I overcome with anxiety and fear instead of choosing to have faith in who He is and what He can do? I have spent too many days of my life trying to fight. I have spent sleepless nights trying to understand. I have spent YEARS trying to cope. Sometimes, all the time we spend trying to do this or trying to do that, Jesus is reaching out His hand and saying, “Where is your faith? Can you please trust that I am in control?” After He asks the disciples about their faith, Jesus rebuked the wind and waves and there was a great calm. The disciples marveled at His power over every part of creation. I am sure, in that moment, they were rather convicted as well for not simply trusting in who He was and what He could do.
I completely understand that it is easier said than done to trust at times. It is much easier to say that you will have faith in His might than it is to actually surrender the fight and to allow Him to do the work. The Father had some special words in Exodus 14:14, “The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” In order to be silent, at peace, we must understand how we can find peace and rest among storms. I have assembled the steps that God has given me to not only surrender my own way, but to put all faith in His way.
Implementing faith and trusting His divine will
Step 1) Have faith in who He is
Who is He? Answer that question to yourself. If you would, think of a list of names to describe the Father. It is good to rehearse all that He is because it helps us realize that He is capable. Without knowing who He is and believing in His power, we simply cannot comprehend how He will work all things for our good. If you are a follower and lover of the Father, He will work all things for your good (Romans 8:28). This leads me to my next point.
Step 2) Have faith in what He can do
My pastor spoke on Romans 8:28 a few weeks ago and related it to Proverbs 3:5-7 (A beautiful portion of Scripture about trusting in the Lord). He said, “Not all things are good. We, as Christians, get in the habit of thinking that we have the ticket to all goodness for the rest of our lives which is not the case.” We live in a fallen world that only seems to be getting worse—there are many things filling the earth that lack goodness. Death, divorce, heartbreak, sickness, pain, division, and loss are not good. BUT. He promised to WORK all things for our good if we would just love Him. My Jesus gave me His word that He is working all things for my good, even when I am driving into storm clouds. Think of it as a pinky promise from the Savior—He is willing and He is working. The moment we trust in what He can do, we hand the battle over to the Father as a statement of faith.
Step 3) Choose faith
It is simply not enough to acknowledge that He is God and to know what He is able to accomplish. We must CHOOSE faith… Precious readers, it is a choice we must make daily to have faith in His will and way. If we could just trust in Him, we would be at complete peace regardless of the storm clouds gathering.
“Jesus, Jesus, how I trust You”
I was driving to work this morning and this song came on my radio. It is an old hymn that I have known since diapers, but it hit me hard today…
“Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to take Him at His Word
Just to rest upon His promise,
Just to know, “Thus saith the Lord!”
Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!
How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus.
Oh, for grace to trust Him more!”
This afternoon, I got some sobering news. As much as I wanted to cry, as much as I wanted to fight… I was stilled. My soul was at peace by these very words I heard this morning. It is so sweet to trust in Jesus, dear brothers and sisters. It is a daily surrender, believe me, my stubborn self knows how hard it is to not always do everything for myself. BUT there is nothing sweeter that choosing to have faith in His way and to find peace that only comes from trusting His will above our own.
You choose! You can try to do it on your own, nosedive into concrete, and get stuck in a cycle of endless efforts OR you can simply have faith in Him and in what He can do in your present situation.
Trusting Him gives a sweet sense of stillness. He is promising to fight for you, we need only to be still and silent in light of faith.