When a horrible and horrendous thunderstorm comes, tree branches are falling on the house, the wind is wailing and the windows are shuddering and threatening to shatter, the lights are blinking and the power is likely to go out, hail sounds like rocks falling from the sky as you peek out your front door to get a foreshadowing of the damage you will have to address when the storm has finally passed even though it feels like it never will, the last thing on your mind most likely is how to do anything other than make it through the storm, assess the damage, and wipe away your tears and the sweat from your brow. Surely you can’t even fathom in the middle of the hellacious thunderstorm of loving and serving God and loving and serving others in His name. First you have to get through the storm, right? If you ever will, you wonder, right?
Friend, I have a long history when I’m in the midst of spiritual, mental, and emotional storms as the devil and circumstances and sometimes even people come hard at me and I feel like I can barely make it through the next moment – and there have been plenty of those times – of allowing the devil to convince me I can’t possibly love and serve the Lord and others in the midst of it all.
I have felt like it is simply too hard to do anything other than see if I will make it through the next moment. Oftentimes, I have struggled to believe I would even make it through the storm. Would the storm ever pass? Even if it did, would I have the wherewithal to carry on? Lacking faith, and staring at the storm much of the time instead of looking to Jesus, I have struggled. Serving God and others as I struggled? Impossible, or so I thought.
What has happened so many times is that I have pretty much shut down, hunkered down, cried out desperately to the Lord for help, and figured I might as well stop trying to serve Him and help people in my ministry work. How could I be of any use? How could I possibly do a thing other than make it through the madness of the storm? So many times, I have found myself pretty much paralyzed until the storms have passed. Then I have been left feeling worn, weary, damaged, etc. and haven’t been able to barely imagine going forward loving and serving the Lord and others.
But I have learned over the course of time that THE LORD WILL ENABLE US TO LOVE AND SERVE HIM AND OTHERS RIGHT IN THE MIDST OF THE STORM WHEN IT IS HIS WILL AND WHEN WE HUMBLE OURSELVES AND ARE SURRENDERED TO HIM. But in order for this to happen, we need to SUBMIT TO GOD as the Bible says, RESIST THE DEVIL, and DRAW NEAR TO GOD who will DRAW NEAR to us! We need to decide not to let the devil have his way and BE STRONG IN THE LORD as the Bible says. We need to BE STEDFAST IN THE FAITH. And through FAITH IN JESUS and in the promises of the Bible, we CAN love the Lord with all our hearts and others as ourselves through the storms of this life.
Rest assured there are times the Lord wants us to step back from serving, spend seasons of quiet time with Him and get revived and refreshed and healed and prepared for where He will lead us next. But there are also times the Lord has service work for us right in the thick of the storms we pass through.
Let us listen to the voice of the Lord and not the voice of the devil when we go through the storms of this life. Let us cry out to God for His love and mercy, His strength and power, His wisdom and help, His comfort and hope and healing, and trust HE WILL BRING US THROUGH THE STORMS according to HIS WILL. And let us BE WILLING to love and serve the Lord as He so desires even as we go through storms.
I’m in the midst of a nasty storm even as I write this. I had just about allowed the devil to convince me I couldn’t write and minister to people because of how brutal this spiritual, mental, and emotional storm has been. But God in His loving tender kindness and mercy gently yet strongly reminded me we are not to love and serve Him and others in our human weakness apart from Him but instead in His glorious love, grace, mercy, and power as we choose to trust in Him, to rest in Him, to hope in Him, to abide in Him.
If you’re in a storm, friend, cry out to the Lord. And, in your crying out, see if He places on your heart opportunities and ways to love and serve Him and others even as the storm rages on. Trusting Him to bring you through the storm. All for the glory of Christ, AMEN!
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.” 1 Peter 5:8-10
“But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “GOD RESISTS THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.” Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you…” James 4:6-8
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.” Ephesians 6:10
“For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”