Weathering Life's Storms
So many of us are going through stress, and life seems out of control. That’s frightening. The truth is, we never have control. How often, in my own life, I have cried the prayer from 2 Chronicles:
We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you.
Each of us has a story of a time, either right now, or in the past, of tumultuous circumstances. At any time, life can spin out of control—and for many of us, it feels that way right now.
David Powlison, in his soothing way, talks about the storms of life. How like hurricanes they can spread havoc all around us. We may not be able to stop the havoc, but we can be in the eye of the storm with our Savior.
We cannot control the storm.
But we have a rock and a fortress.
We are all under the cover of His wings.
What Powlison also says, which is easier to receive because of his gentleness, is that storms can help us change and see our own sin. Even when storms are not a direct result of sin in our lives, they can still reveal our idols, our sins, and help us change. When my husband died, it revealed so much that was selfish and sinful and misplaced in my heart.
Two huge things to remember in the storm:
Jesus is your refuge.
Jesus is your refining fire.
He may show you things about yourself so that He can conform you to His image.
Praying for friends who are weathering their own storms has caused me to reflect on the storm that came to our home when we adopted Annie.
Annie was five, and was like a little stone because of hurt from her past. Steve and I threw ourselves into loving her well. But that triggered a storm in our 11-year-old daughter Sally. She felt, as she put it to us, “rudely displaced.” She spun into a depression, losing weight she really didn’t have to lose, not sleeping, in despair. We got her help, we gave her love, but the storm continued for two more years. In this storm, I saw my own failures as a mother—I’d been too lenient with Sally—I’d been too selfish… storms show where we are weak. They reveal our sin. This storm also revealed sin in Sally’s life—but it took time for her to see it.
When she was thirteen, she went to a Christian concert and the singer said, “If you have yuck in your soul and you cannot get rid of it, God can help you.” Sally practically ran forward. And, as she says, “God took the yuck out of my soul so I could love my sister.” When she was on Focus on the Family with me, Sally said: “The night before I was to leave for college, I was snuggling with Annie on top of our bunk bed. She looked up at me with tears in her eyes and said, ‘Sally—you are my very best friend.’ I’m so thankful God took that yuck from my heart.”
Storms can always reveal sin and help conform us to the image of Christ. Romans 8:28-29 shows us God has a purpose in the suffering of his saints, and that purpose is to conform us to the image of Christ. The fire may be painful, but the Potter is at work, making us beautiful. In light of eternity, is this not what matters most?