I hope that you had a safe, healthy, and Christ centered weekend? I hope that you and your family and friends worshiped with us online! If not…DO IT!
So…on this Monday morning, let’s think about the storms that we had over the weekend. They were very intense! Take a minute to think about the biggest storm that have experienced in your lifetime. Share your thoughts about that storm with whoever might be with you…or call someone and see what their biggest storm was. Perhaps it was:
- A Hurricane like Katrina, Harvey, Sandy.
- A snow storm like the blizzard of 1977 or the winter of 1988.
- A tornado…perhaps Xenia in 1974..or the 4th of July 1969 in Lakewood.
- Maybe a wind storm, hail, power outages, lightning strikes, flooding…?
Sometimes there are storm warnings, giving us time to prepare…to change our plans…to get indoors…to board up windows…to move to higher ground….and to pray to the Lord that we are protected from the elements.
But what about the other (non-weather related) storms that are so common and devastating!
- Physical storms of sickness or disease…sometimes life changing or deadly (like coronavirus). Maybe you are dealing with cancer, heart issues, or respiratory illness, physical limitations.
- Financial storms. Many are facing storms due to businesses, restaurants, and stores being closed for the time being…stock market losses, or poor budgeting skills, lost income or child support due to this strange time we live in as a nation.
- Relational storms. Marriage issues or the pain of divorce…parents struggling with grown children and their life choices…Poor and toxic relationships at work or neighbors….relational stress due to staying home with loved ones (at least we love tham most of the time) 24/7 in close quarters. Relationship issues are as old as man and woman (Adam blamed Eve, Eve blamed God, Cain killed Abel, Noah’s kids mocked Noah, throughout every generation right up to your relational storms today)
- Emotional storms. Dealing with the storms caused by anger, depression, anxiety, fear, pride…addictions to junk food, shopping, drugs, pornography. God gave us all emotions to make us human…but we face storms when those emotions get out of control.
- Spiritual storms. Many times our life’s situation, the storms that we have listed above, cause is to blame God…to wonder if He is all powerful…if He hears our prayers…if He even cares about you and your issues. Satan loves to mess with our minds, trying to separate us from the only real Hope that we have. (Jesus!)
WOW…you might be saying to your self that this devotion is a real downer!
Well…There are 3 important facts to be reminded of:
- This is not the Garden of Eden…nor is this is Heaven! This is life in a fallen and sin flawed world. It’s the result of Adam and Eve (and us) being removed from the perfection God created for us. That can be very sobering to think about. It can leave us feeling hopeless. But God Loves us too much to leave us like this! Sin does separate us from a Holy God…but it never separates us from His Love!!! Romans 5:6-8…You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
- Holy week begins next week. It shows God’s love for you and His plan to fix the problem. Jesus (who lived a sinless life) will sacrifice Himself on the cross for you. To die for your sins. To purchase eternity for you in His Heavenly kingdom. There will be no weather storm, no physical, financial, relational, emotional, nor spiritual storms there!!
- What do we do in the meantime? How do we handle the countless storms that this world will throw at you?
Well John 16:33 says “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” The Message translation puts it this way “I’ve told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I’ve conquered the world.”
- The way I see it…is that we will all face trouble and difficulties as long as we live on this earth…And yet we find PEACE in any storm we face…due to the fact that God has overcome (conquered) this world for us
- We can face each new day and each new storm knowing that God Loves you…is with you…cries when you cry, smiles when you smile…has a plan for your life…has a place prepared for you in His Heavenly kingdom.
- Our job is to trust in Him and to glorify Him through our thoughts, words and actions.
- It starts by staying connected to Him through Bible study and prayer. Seek His will for you in the midst of this corona storm. And then acting on His nudged! Who would He have you reach out to, to pray for, to call with encouragement, to support financially, to do random acts of kindness for?
- Trust that God will somehow bring good out of this, and every storm that you face.
- Romans 8:28… And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
- I don’t know how he can bring good out of all of the storms we listed earlier…but my trust is in He who is the creator and sustainer of all life…the Redeemer, Savior, Messiah who died for me (and you)…the Comforter and Counselor who will point us to our Hope in Jesus!
Pray for those impacted by coronavirus and it’s collateral damage, those in the middle of one of life’s storms, for those whose jobs put them on the front lines, those lonely and fearful! Keep your eyes open for Jesus holding an umbrella over you…to keep you dry in spite of the rain!!!!! He is your refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble!!!!