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[Blog] The Calm in Your Storm

blog Nov 10, 2021

            God isn’t the absence of the storm, he is the calm in the middle of it. In the middle of the nightmare, or walking down the hall of a suddenly vacant home, God expects us to lean into him and expect the best even when we look around and see the worst.

            Storm clouds on the horizon? Trust God anyway.

            Medical report that talks about treatments and medicines? Believe that he is the God of the improbable and the impossible.

            Still lonely and wondering when your Prince (or Princess) Charming is coming? Know that God cares more than you can fathom, and then listen for his voice.

            Finances crumbling around you? Guess what—trust that God can do a lot with a little.

            Be willing to step out on the water.

            When the disciples were absolutely freaking out because they were in the middle of the sea in a storm that was so bad they were using all of their human strength just trying to keep the boat upright, Jesus didn’t stop the storm.

            As humans, the guys were sweating it. Losing their cool. At a total loss as to what to do next besides fight for their life in their own strength. Jesus wasn’t even there! I’m sure they were frustrated, angry and hurt. What was the point of Jesus if he couldn’t even show up when they needed him the most?

 

A lost cause

            That’s the tricky thing about our God. He isn’t moved by need. He’s moved by faith. The disciples might have thought it was cruel that Jesus was just calmly passing by, walking on the water as if nothing were wrong, as if his closest friends weren’t right there desperately fighting for survival against a storm they knew Jesus could calm.

            I can’t help but wonder if Jesus was thinking, I showed these guys how to get out of a mess just like this a few days ago. C’mon, guys, you can do it. Use your faith like I showed you. You can do this!

            When Jesus finally answered them and spoke to the situation, he didn’t even intend to calm the storm. No words of “Peace, be still” like they had heard before. No ceasing of the circumstances. No cutting off enemy forces in a single nanosecond of time.

            Instead, he said, “Take courage! I AM! Stop being afraid!” and the hurricane-proportion winds raged on.

            Seriously, Jesus?

            Not a single, solitary thing about their situation changed. I’m sure they were disappointed. After all, they had watched him end a hurricane with one simple sentence in the past. Why not this time? Why not for them?

            Maybe that’s where you and I tend to exit the faith road and go ahead and yell, “This is going to kill me! I can’t do it. It’s impossible.” Or maybe your flair for the dramatic isn’t quite as overt as mine and you simply state, “I quit!” but you mean those two words from the depth of your soul.

            We expect God to stop the storm, and he doesn’t. So we stop praying about it and consider it a lost cause.  

            The funny thing about God is that he isn’t human. He is a Spirit. Therefore, he doesn’t see what we see, think how we think, react how we want him to react or even save us the way we want to be saved.

 

A bigger plan

            It’s not that the storm was too big for Jesus. He wasn’t intimidated, or too busy, or miffed at the disciples. He simply had a bigger plan and it wasn’t to calm the storm. He intended to calm the disciples.

            Calm them into their faith becoming stronger.

            Calm them into miracle territory.

            Calm them into the ability to walk on water.

            It didn’t hit everyone at the same level. The magnitude of that thought may not have even hit you yet. But it did hit Peter, the only one of the 12 who grabbed hold of it. And when he did, he responded in faith, not fear, despite the storm. He said, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.”

            Forget you! Debt that’s trying to drown me.

            Forget you! Depression that’s clawing at my mind.

            Forget you! Addiction I’m trying so hard to hide.

            Though nothing changed on the outside, Peter was suddenly calm on the inside. Jesus didn’t calm the problem, the machine, the war, the menace. Jesus calmed Peter in the middle of it all. The weather didn’t change, but the man did. He grew stronger in his faith than his circumstances.

            Instead of the storm killing Peter and his dream, he got out of the boat and walked on top of the very thing that was trying to kill him. And we’re still talking about it over 2,000 years later.

            The intention of God isn’t to make your life rainbows and unicorns every time you call his name. His intention is to strengthen you to do things you never thought you could do. Not just to survive but to thrive!

            I didn’t just survive life after my first marriage crumbled, nursing my wounds in a corner. I did that for a short season, sure, but during that time my faith grew stronger. Because of God’s strength inside of me, I found a calm I could never have found on my own. I am now thriving.

            What the enemy meant for evil, God has used for my good (shoutout to Genesis 50:20). What was meant to kill me—has elevated me. What was meant to be my tombstone—has become my steppingstone. And the same is true for you!

            God does not want you to barely survive, He wants you to thrive. He believes in you even more than you believe in him, and so much more than you believe in yourself.

            Don’t let the triggers of past pain derail the future blessing God is drawing you to. God has a plan for you. He will be the calm in your storm. Don’t look for the storm to stop, look for the opportunity for God to do the miracle in the storm. And don’t set any goals to survive this; decide by faith that God has designed the way for you to thrive through it all!

 

A new fuel

            When you face fear and decide its place in your life is done, if you replace it with faith, it has no place to come back to. That doesn’t just drive fear out, it lets faith in.

            Life is not about fearing but fulfilling. Fulfilling the purpose of your life regardless of the lumps and the bumps. The journey from letting it stop you to letting it propel you.

            It’s not always the circumstances in our life that derail us; many times it’s how we handle those circumstances. Are they roadblocks? Or gas in the tank? Over the years, my fuel source started to change. And as my fuel source changed, life began to really propel me in another direction, one that was less about me, less about my victimhood, and more toward gratefulness for all that happened to me. With that attitude, who knows how many blessings God will create from the wreckage?

            One time, my husband, David, and I were taking a Sunday drive on a Friday (as pastors, that’s our day off) and wandering through town when we ended up in a familiar neighborhood. I started reminiscing out loud as he drove me down the different streets, and that’s when I saw it.

            There must have been something about my body language that gave away my shock even though I tried to hide it. David knew something was different. “I feel like there’s something you’re not telling me,” he prodded.

            We had just driven by a house that had burned down—a weird enough spectacle in and of itself, so I thought I would get by without commentary. But he pushed, and my mind whirred. Do I say it out loud?

            He asked again. “Are you OK? You seem a little shook.”

            “That was the house I was molested in,” I answered.

            David answered in a split second, as if his reply was straight from heaven itself: “God burned that house down so you’ll never have to see it again.”

            Don’t freak out. I’m not wishing fire and brimstone on anyone. The chances of the same people living there almost 40 years later are like zilch. And I’m not even saying that it was the family that lived there that did it. I am not hoping harm comes to anyone. There was probably no one home and the family got a great insurance check. Or the house was condemned, and this was a way to get rid of it. I don’t know, and I’m not asking.

            All I know, for a fact, is that what happened to me can never, ever happen to any other little girl in that house ever again. I’ll never look at that place again as a memorial to the pain of my past. God took the place of my pain, in a location that I never drive by, and let me know that I don’t have to be reminded of that anymore.

            I went to bed that night and slept like a baby. No nightmares.

            It’s not that our past will never poke its ugly head up for us to face, but when it does, we can face it like so many before us: with faith in God for the fulfillment of his promise. Trusting God for the strength you don’t have and the forgiveness you haven’t known how to give is the beginning of healing.

            It’s where God will show you that your story is far from over, and begin leading you to the future he created for you. So when lemons show up (which they definitely will), instead of juggling them to make a sour drink of life you never wanted anyway, lean into God and watch him work his magic.

 

 

This article was extracted from Issue 3 of Inspire Magazine (Fall 2021). Learn how to get your copy of Inspire Magazine.