I was reading some advice from the National Weather Service on what to do if you're out in an open field and you see a lightning storm coming. Do they say to stand on a hill and hold your golf club up as high as you can? No, they say to get to your knees, bend forward to the ground, put your head between your knees, and stay down. That way, your body is less likely to become a conductor for the lightning. A low physical profile is the key if there are storms around you.
I thought, "That's a very good analogy of the Christian life." What do you do when facing a spiritual storm? Do you get up and say, "I'm really something! Watch me!" No, you get down low, and you trust harder. You maintain a low spiritual profile.
How should we respond when we go through extreme suffering? Paul answers that question in Second Thessalonians. He talks about the good and positive things happening in their lives, and contrasts that with the bad stuff going on around them. They met the bad stuff with the right stuff, which was faith in God and love for one another.
"We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all abounds toward each other, so that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure, which is manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer" (2 Thessalonians 1:3-5).
The storms they were facing didn't uproot the tree of faith. It caused their roots to go down deeper, and to grow exceedingly. One of the keys to doing what's right when things go wrong is to be rooted in Jesus Christ, to get beyond superficial, surface faith.
J.I. Packer said, "God uses chronic pain and weakness, along with other afflictions, as his chisel for sculpting our lives. Felt weakness deepens dependence on Christ for strength each day. The weaker we feel, the harder we lean. The harder we lean, the stronger we grow spiritually, even while our bodies may waste away."
You may not be going through extreme trials or storms right now. But you know they'll come. And when they do, get down low and lean on God.