The Storms of Life!
Have you felt the need for rain this week? I don’t just mean the wet ”stuff” that comes from the clouds. I am talking about the floodgates of Heaven opening up. The glory of God filling the earth and healing the land. Sometimes it seems we need more strength than others.
This past week the news has seemingly been one devastating tragedy after another. When our lives get hot and dry and problems bombard us we begin to murmur, where is God? What is happening? When is it going to end? We question the how’s and the whys of things we don’t understand. I can’t begin to answer or explain why bad things happen but I can say that Jesus expects us to take up our cross and to continue to follow Him. It is through the suffering that realization of freedom and glory come about.
An Arabian proverb came to me in a letter this week and it made a strong impact on my thoughts; All sunshine makes a desert. This proverb realizes that sometimes the storms in life are what we need in order to get our life back on track to where it needs to be. Rainy days may not be what we want for our life but it is through the rain that we grow. It is important to remember and to understand that we belong to God and live to serve His purposes. For without passing through the difficulties we will not grow to where we need to be.
Deep Roots Find what They Need
Deep roots are the key to preparation when the droughts come.
~A man learned a lesson, we should all be mindful of. He was touring an orange grove where an irrigation pump had broken down and the trees sat with yellowing and curling leaves. The season that year was unusually dry and because of the lack of water some of the trees were dying. The guide of the dying grove led the visitor to his own orchard where he only irrigated sparingly. ”These trees can go another two weeks without rain,” he said.
The tourist didn’t understand how that could be when the other grove was obviously suffering so much. The farmer explained, ”You see, when they were young, I withheld water from them. This hardship caused them to send their roots deeper into the soil in search of moisture. Now these trees are the deepest-rooted trees in the area. While others are scorching inÂ the sun, these trees are finding the refreshing nourishment they need at a greater depth that we simply can’t see.” ~
Deep roots can stand firm against the droughts of life.
Rain is not Always a Bad Thing!
Standing strong against the issues of a world filled with sin isn’t always easy which is why we need the deep roots of a relationship with Christ. It is through His example that we can come to accept problems more as He did. It is through knowing that not only will He provide the strength to stand against them but that He is the only pathway to peace. This week’s focus verse is about taking the good with the bad and understanding that the way of the cross is a clear and challenging description of Christian life. But life is not all storms of rain either and there is a hope and promise that suffering is never permanent as Peter tells us in 1 Peter 5:10. God has called us to share in His eternal glory through Jesus Christ. Â Suffering doesn’t last long in the terms of eternity and only God restores, supports, and gives us the strength we need.
Crosses in the Rain
Each day we must bear our own cross or see that others are mightily struggling with their crosses. But it is knowing that we all are growing for God’s purposes and that He will restore us that makes the burden light. The cross is the bridge that always leads to better things. Our current sufferings may end here or they may end in Heaven but the important thing is the hope and promise that they will end. And in the meantime we pray that God will open the floodgates of Heaven up and that He will rain down upon us because we so desperately need Him here. We need His glory to fill this place and our lives.
Then He said to the crowd, ”If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me. Luke 9:23 (NLT)
Sharing the Rain Together
Understanding that if you do not experience the storms of life that your growth will not reach the depths that it needs is the first step in finding peace during the rain. As you deepen your relationship with God it becomes easier to give your problems over to him and become more like He wants you to be. Growing makes you strong and gives you the strength to carry through as you in turn share the power of the cross with others.
It is important that you do not think or allow yourself to go through problems alone. When you share the power of the cross with others you offer a lifeline to not only find the strength to tackle the problems that plague life but the glory in the reward of eternity. So it is important that you continue to do things for others using your gifts and talents along with trying to live a Godly life not waning through your own issues but maximizing life at its fullest. God expects us to use all we are given eagerly for His glory to shine.
This is much easier to say than to apply but you can take note from the great Apostle Paul as he reminds us in Philippians 4:11 ”“ 13 to give joy in all circumstances for it is through Christ that you find strength. Live for God completely doing what you can do through the means He has provided you but let Him control the rest.
Seeking Peace in the Rain
Take a lesson in finding peace from the prayer of Serenity attributed to Reinhold Niebuhr, an American protestant minister. The prayer is often shortened but it’s full of deep truth and meaning when you read it in its entirety. It is the second half of the prayer that reminds you that the hardships in life are not set out just for humans because God, like every great leader, gives the authentic example of experience for us to follow.
God, give me grace to accept withÂ serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.
Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.
Refresh Us with Rain
Problems get your attention and force you to look to God, when otherwise you might just well ignore Him. Taking up your cross means giving up complete control to God and following Christ knowing that you can expect problems. But it is also knowing that you can expect peace in the eternity and you can experience it right here in the midst of a sinful and problem filled world.
Find the challenge of life to take up your cross and follow Christ wherever He may lead. Know that your convictions in Him are right and you will be rewarded with peace. Find comfort knowing that God cares enough to provide a way for you to join Him in peace not only in eternity but right here on earth if you chose to do so. As you take up your cross you must trust and remember that you don’t see the whole picture, there are better things coming and therefore you must keep proclaiming God’s kingdom.
So as we lift our crosses high let us all pray that God will rain down upon us with the floodgates of Heaven filling us with His glory and presence because rain isn’t always a bad thing.
Love in Christ,
It takes both rain and sunshine to make a rainbow.
What are your thoughts? Join Us in Discussion
Has the news of this week had you questioning where is God? Have you chosen to take up your cross and follow Him wherever it may lead? Can you find the peace and comfort in both the rainy and sunny days in your life? Join us as we discuss finding the peace of God in the sufferings of the cross.