Everyone experiences difficulties; it’s only a matter of time. So what do Christians do when they have difficulties? “Man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward.” (Job 5:7). What do we do with all these “sparks” in our life, just as worries enter our lives one after another like sparks fly upward continually from a fire? We are thrust into problems as soon as we are born, and for some people, even before they are. Why does God allow suffering for His children? Why would anyone choose to stay in a troubled world? How many people do you think would ever consider God if everything in the world went according to plan and everyone was content?
It seems that wealth turns us away from God while difficulties seem to pull us towards Him. That’s because wealth is a person’s own god; it gives them present support in the here and now as well as future stability. They have never experienced living pay day to pay day. The destitute, the broken and the shattered have nowhere else to turn. With no other options, many of these oppressed people turn to God. God has been waiting for just that to happen! Because God cannot restore something that is initially not broken, He wanted things to come to an end on their own. Those who are full of themselves cannot be filled by God.
When our vehicle starts to have problems, we look under the hood, so when troubles comes into our lives, it doesn’t hurt to look under our own “hoods” and see why we’re passing through a particular storm in life. God could prevent them from happening to us, so why doesn’t He? I believe it’s because He knows these storms are for our own good, and no matter how bad it gets, God will bring good out of it (Romans 8:28).
Not every storm is God’s cosmic spanking. Everyone who has trouble doesn’t mean they’re in trouble with God. Most often God allows trials and troubles to enter our lives so as to refine us and make us depend upon Him. I remember where it was written that “The Lord hurled a great wind upon the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship threatened to break up.” (Jonah 1:4). Jonah actually brought this storm on himself by rejecting God’s mission and Jonah was heading the wrong way so God brought him back the right direction … toward Nineveh.
God sends storms of affection because He loves you, not because He’s mad at you. God says that “the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives” (Hebrews 12:6). Like our own children, we should say, “It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline.” (Hebrews 12:7)? We need this discipline from God so that we might not hurt ourselves.
The storms that God sends could be storms of perfection, storms of direction, storms of correction, storms of affection and storms of reflection … depending on what we need, but when God sends or allows storms of reflection, He wants us to stop and think about our life. Sometimes He is making us examine our lives and rearrange our priorities if necessary. These storms may be from God in order that we stop and take stock of where we’re going and what we’re headed for (good or bad), but in all these storms, we must recognize that what is over our head is always under His feet!
Storms of perfection allow us to share in Jesus’ sufferings and persecutions, but they are also purifying our faith. The Apostle Peter said that trials and troubles are allowed by God “so that the tested genuineness of your faith – more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire – may be found to result in praise and glory and honour at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:7). Job had an idea of the storm he went through and it was so that “he has tried me, I shall come out as gold” (Job 23:10).
Other storms of life include storms of correction (to bring us to repentance) and storms of rejection for your faith (family, co-workers, and acquaintances) so that you might be blessed. Peter says that “If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.” (1 Peter 4:14). Don’t you want that “Spirit of glory” resting upon you? I do and you will receive it if you share your faith and are rejected for your faith, but what joy to suffer for His name’s sake (John 15:21; Philippians 1:29). Storms allow us to fellowship with Jesus and to be partakers of His sufferings (1 Peter 4:13). The Apostle Paul wanted to know Jesus so much that he suffered for Christ and that was so “that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death.” (Philippians 3:10).
God loves us if we’ve trusted in Christ and He will never allow anything that would separate us from Him (Romans 8:37-39) nor would He allow anything that would hurt His children (Rom 8:28). We know that Lord lovers us because He corrects us (Hebrews 12:6) and that shows we are His own children (Hebrews 12:7), so take heart. That storm is for you not against you. Row with the wind and not into it. Don’t fight what God’s attempting to do with this storm of ours. Storms of correction should (hopefully) bring us to repentance.
That’s what human parents do too; they discipline their children (hopefully) because they love them and care for them, but God is an even better and more loving parent than any of us could ever be. What parent can say they love their child and yet never discipline them? And we need this discipline from God too, so that we too might not hurt ourselves. I cannot count the number of prisoners who only came to saving faith when they had reached rock bottom and being in that position, there’s only one way to look and that’s up! That is, look up to God.
As far as storms go; someone now is getting ready to go into a storm; someone else has just passed through a storm, and someone is going through a storm right now. You’re either in a storm, headed for one or just passed through one, but storms are signs of God’s love for you … that is, if you’ve trusted in Christ.