via Bill Peel
September 22nd, 2017
The terrible storms that battered Florida, the Texas coast, and the Caribbean are shocking reminders of how fragile life is, how destructive nature can be, and how helpless we often are to resist its power.
The most difficult storms that we experience in life, however, are often not weather related. Health can erode, relationships can explode, and business can dry up—no matter how much effort we put into them—bringing trauma it’s sometimes hard to endure. Perhaps you, like me, have cried out at times like these, “God, where are you?” There have times when I've felt toward God like C.S. Lewis did when he lost his wife. He wrote:
Meanwhile, where is God? This is one of the most disquieting symptoms. When you are happy, so happy that you have no sense of needing Him, if you turn to Him then with praise, you will be welcomed with open arms. But go to Him when your need is desperate, when all other help is vain and what do you find? A door slammed in your face, and a sound of bolting and double bolting on the inside. After that silence. You may as well turn away. (A Grief Observed)
When we feel as if God has shut the door and cannot hear our cries, it's easy for our faith to take wing and for us to panic. So how do we hold onto God even when it seems as if he has let go of us? Where does the faith come from to keep knocking, when the lights are out, and it looks as if no one is home? What is the source of a faith that doesn't take flight in crisis, that doesn't buckle under the gale-force winds of life?
It is difficult to be realistic about life and remain positive at the same time. Idealism inevitably leads to disillusionment. Realism without God leads to despair. So how do we keep life nailed down? Here are five nails I am learning to drive.
Accept the fact that life is out of our control.
The fact is that the things that matter the most to us in life, are the things we control the very least. Whether our faith holds up or folds up will largely depend on whether the object of our faith is capable of controlling what we can't.
So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. (Matthew 6:31-32)
Remember who God is.
A reporter once asked Albert Einstein's wife if she understood the Theory of Relativity. She replied, “No, but I know Albert, and he can be trusted.” Can you and I say the same thing about God? “No, I don't understand what God is doing in my life right now. But I know God, and He can be trusted.”
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)
Take the risk of faith.
The cost of faith is always a risk. No risk, no faith, it's that simple. The only way we can develop the confidence that what we belief about God is true, is to try Him out. That's why God allows the world to feel the pain of estrangement from Him. That is why husbands and wives hurt each other. That's why our children disappoint us. That's why health and finances fail, why the roof leaks and the car breaks down, and we meet conflicts at work and even at church. God is shouting to us,
“The world cannot help you, but I can. Try Me out. Keep knocking, not because you can see a light on, but because you know that I am home.
Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you (Hebrews 13:5).
“Keep working not because you feel strong, but because I am
working in you both to will and to act according to [my] good pleasure’ (Phil. 2:13).
“Keep demonstrating love to your mate, even when you feel empty and rejected, because I am ...
able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us." (Eph. 3:20)
Every time we step out on what we believe to be true about God, the more natural that kind of response becomes. Every time we exercise faith, our faith becomes stronger.
Entrust ourselves to our faithful Creator when storms arise.
Grasping the size of the God who created, preserves, and rules all creation, has been a constant source of strength to God's people who find themselves in the temporary clutches of the evil men and circumstances.
So then, those who suffer according to God's will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to be good” (1 Peter 4:19).
Because God is who He is, men have run to Him as their refuge in times of distress. He is the One who keeps life nailed down when all hell breaks loose. He is the One who gives me hope, when things look hopeless. He is the One who encourages me when fear and doubt close in around me.
Don’t face the storms alone.
Our faithful Creator is the ultimate refuge. But, there are times when He uses a more tangible place of safety—His hope and strength franchise on earth, the church, individual members of the body of Christ. The fact is we need each other.
Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching (Hebrews 10:24, 25).
Sing our song.
The storms of life allow us see God unclouded. When we see God in the storm, there is something in our heart that jumps for joy. We learn a new song of praise to God. What begins in pain can end in joyful praise. Whatever storms we face, there is a sovereign Creator we can trust who says, "Come, taste and see that I am good."
I waited patiently for the Lord;he turned to me and heard my cry.He lifted me out of the slimy pit,out of the mud and mire;he set my feet on a solid rockand gave me a firm place to stand.He put a new song in my mouth,a hymn of praise to our God.Many will see and fearand put their trust in the Lord. (Psalm 40:1-5)