Sunday, April 30, 2017

When Facing Unexpected Storms

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Mildred Witte Struven wrote, “A clay pot sitting in the sun will always be a clay pot. It has to go through the white heat of the furnace to become porcelain” (Bits and Pieces, September 19, 1991, p.6). Job’s life is a quintessential example of the worst kind of storm anyone faces in his or her lifetime. Job’s faithfulness pleased God and bragged about it during a meeting with Satan. It seems odd for such a conversation, but it happened. Satan challenged Job’s faithfulness as a result of a quid pro quo arrangement with God. Everything on the table except death. God’s confidence in Job became the lightning rod for Satan’s accusation. Then the battle of faith begins with storms of huge proportion right after another.

Job’s first three storms came on everything he owned and made him miserable in an instant. In just one day, from being the richest man in his time, he became the poorest (Job 1:3). Job’s next storm came on his children and lost his ten children through a freak storm killing them all in one swoop (Job 1:2). Job’s next storm was a physical attack, and painful sores appeared all over his body (Job 1:2). Job’s next storm was losing moral and spiritual support from his wife (Job 1:2). In all of these things, Job stood on his faith and integrity. Somebody said it appropriately; “In adversity we usually want God to do a removing job when He wants to do an improving job. To realize the worth of the anchor, we need to feel the storm.” Robert Schmidgall described,
“The Scriptures often exhort us to be filled with various godly virtues--which means what? How do we know if we are "full of goodness" (Rom. 15:14), for example? Think a moment about a water-saturated sponge. If we push down with our finger even slightly, water runs out onto the table. We immediately know what fills the interior pockets of the sponge. The same is true of ourselves. We can tell what fills us on the inside by what comes out under pressure.

In this scenario faced with such tremendous pressure, let’s ensure these attitudes are present in helping us sustain our faith when storms of life occur:

1.      Let our faith in God become reliable through the storms of life because “he who promised is faithful” (Hebrews 10:23). Oswald Chambers wrote, “Faith for my deliverance is not faith in God. Faith means, whether I am visibly delivered or not, I will stick to my belief that God is love. There are some things only learned in a fiery furnace.”
2.      Let the integrity of our faith in God’s ways and means become resilient as the storm intensifies because “Whoever walks in integrity will be delivered” (Proverbs 28:18a). J. C. Ferdinand Pittman shared this beautiful illustration, “A bell buoy rings only during storms. The beating of the waves and wind bring out the music that is within it, so too do trials reveal what is inside a person.
3.      Let our commitment to maintaining God’s honor become resolute in the midst of the storm because “The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer” (Proverbs 15:28a). Carl Lundquist shared, “Henry Wingblade used to say that Christian personality is hidden deep inside us. No one knows what's inside--unless the waiter is bumped and he trips! Just so, people don't know what's inside us until we've been bumped. But if Christ is living inside, what spills out is the fruit of the Spirit.”

In the end, Job remained faithful in his conviction, although there were times it seemed he wavered, but only for a short period being typical of anyone when facing the same storms. Job’s story remained an essential backdrop in remembering what we face daily and look back at this story with full knowledge that God is always in control no matter what.

Here’s something for us to reflect and experience a new sense of hope in God’s promises:

God has not promised skies always blue,
Flower-strewn pathways all our life through;
God has not promised sun without rain,
Joy without sorrow, peace without pain.
But God has promised strength for the day,
Rest for the labor, light for the way;
Grace for the trials, help from above,
Unfailing sympathy, undying love. ~ Source Unknown.

Let’s talk again!