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FACING THE STORMS OF LIFE

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HH, Sir Godfrey Gregg D.Div

A blessed good morning clergy, brothers and sisters. I want to take for a text “Facing the storms of life”. The Scripture is taken from the Book of Luke’s Gospel chapter 8 reading from verse 22 through 25.

 Luke 8:22-25 Now it came to pass on a certain day, that he went into a ship with his disciples: and he said unto them, Let us go over unto the other side of the lake. And they launched forth. 23 But as they sailed he fell asleep: and there came down a storm of wind on the lake; and they were filled with water, and were in jeopardy. 24 And they came to him, and awoke him, saying, Master, master, we perish. Then he arose, and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water: and they ceased, and there was a calm. 25 And he said unto them, Where is your faith? And they being afraid wondered, saying one to another, What manner of man is this! for he commandeth even the winds and water, and they obey him.

WHAT IS A STORM: Any event or occurrence that has the potential or capacity of either derailing or enhancing your progress in life, for example, accident, loss of a loved one or job, failure, sickness, divorce, natural disasters like fire, flood, earthquake and many more.

SECRETS ABOUT STORMS:

  1. Storms are part and parcel of human existence. Every living human being has a challenge.

A problem-free life is an illusion – a mirage in the desert. The negative impact of the fall on the human race cannot be swept under the carpet. We as a people must wake up to the realities of the fall. Though our Saviour has come to die in order to satisfy the just demands of the law, we cannot run away from the effects of the fall.

The presence of the Holy Spirit has to a large extent mitigated the full effect of the fall. However, until our Lord and Saviour return, both believers and unbelievers alike will continue to live under the effect of the fall. The Bible says,

Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him from them all.” Psalm 34:19

2. Some have faced similar or worse conditions than you are in right now.

Matthew 5:11-12 “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.”

In difficult and hard-to-explain moments, we must be aware that suffering or pain is universal. Indeed suffering does not discriminate among people or races, creed or colour. The fact that you are not alone in the storm can to a large extent help minimize the impact. The courage to stand firm in the midst of the storm is derived from the knowledge that those who have gone ahead of you went through similar challenges and survived.

You will also emerge as a winner and become a great source of inspiration to others. The cloud of witnesses is so overwhelming that you will not be destroyed in the storm. Like the eagle, I can see you souring over the storms. May you turn the storms into stepping stones for your elevation.

  1. Storms are temporary disruptions or detour and not permanent occurrence.

Tough times never last but tough people do. They will soon pass away. It is comforting to learn that every storm or calamity in life carries an expiry date. History teaches us that every storm has a limited life span. Your storm will not live forever, but you will.

Storms always give way to the sun.  Whatever will befall us in life had been pre-programmed by God and given specific instructions which cannot be violated.  Your Creator is aware of your capacity to cope with the pressures of life hence His for-ordained boundaries and limitations on all storms. Just as he did in the case of Job, there is an invisible line that the enemy or storms cannot cross.

Psalm 30:5 For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.

Whatever has a beginning must of necessity have an end.

Life indeed is a collection of seasons. As in the words of Patriarch Sutherland, Live in each season as it passes. Breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences. One season must give way to another. I see the end of your storm approaching.

SOURCES OF STORMS

  1. Human imperfections.

Human beings are not divine hence we are prone to make mistakes. Many difficulties that individuals go through in life can be traced to human error. Wrong judgment by a driver can result in an accident which may claim lives or incapacitate some for life. The carelessness of a nurse or a doctor can render a patient an invalid for the rest of his or her life. Good people can make genuine mistakes that will create problems for innocent people either temporarily or permanently.

Humans are humans no matter the level of sophistication or exposure. A caring father or mother can inadvertently expose his or her child to danger which may leave a permanent imprint on their child. Some of the storms we encounter in life can be traced to pure human miscalculation and have nothing to with God or the devil.

  1. Man’s wickedness –

Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

Another source of storms is man’s sheer wickedness. The fallen man is capable of committing any kind of atrocities imaginable. The unregenerate person can go to any length to achieve his or her desired goal even if it means taking the life of another person. There are countless examples of cases where subordinates sabotage their bosses with the aim of taking their places. In these last days, husbands can even kill their wives in order to marry their mistresses, and likewise, the wife can kill her husband to marry her sweetheart. Most storms in individual’s lives can be traced to man’s sheer wickedness.

  1. Satanic manipulations 

Job1:6-12 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them. And the Lord said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it. And the Lord said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? 10 Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. 11 But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face. 12 And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the Lord.

In the Book of Revelation, the Bible categorically warned us about the devil. Since the rebellion in heaven and the subsequent eviction order to the devil, this earth has known no peace. The enemy called the devil is solidly behind most of the storms that people go through in life. The venom in the mouth of the devil is so devastating and mind-boggling.

The devil is responsible for many strange ailments, accidents, family break-ups, deviant lifestyles, bad habits, and more. All that Job went through in life was a direct attack from the enemy’s camp. Many great destinies were cut short due to satanic interruptions.

  1. Wrong choices 

Psalm 38:1-6 O Lord, rebuke me not in thy wrath: neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure. For thine arrows stick fast in me, and thy hand presseth me sore. There is no soundness in my flesh because of thine anger; neither is there any rest in my bones because of my sin. For mine iniquities are gone over mine head: as an heavy burden they are too heavy for me. My wounds stink and are corrupt because of my foolishness. I am troubled; I am bowed down greatly; I go mourning all the day long.

One gift that God has given to all human beings is the power of choice. The way we use this gift will to a large extent determine how life turns out for each individual. Every choice comes with its attendant consequences. The fact is, though we have the power to choose, we do not have power over the consequences of our choices. Good choices will produce positive and desirable results while wrong choices lead to very bitter and painful consequences.

  • The choice of a wrong marriage partner can ruin a rather promising life.
  • A wrong lifestyle can wreck a good and enviable career.

Samson had it all but lost it through wrong choices. Impatience on the part of an individual can destroy his life savings and thereby render him penniless. Saul, the first king of Israel lost his throne through impatience.

Many are facing certain storms today that can be directly traced to their own folly. Wrong choices in the prime of life can spell disaster in the twilight years. God has given us this power; let us use it wisely to create a great future for ourselves. Let us desist from blaming the devil for our own poor and bad choices.

Remember, you are not a failure until you begin to blame someone else. Self-pity will only lead you into hell on earth. Face your challenges head-on and begin to take appropriate steps that will lead to a positive recovery.

  1. Test from God: 

2 Corinthians 12:6-10 For though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: but now I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth of me. And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

Some of the storms we go through in life can be traced to our loving Father. That may sound a little contradictory yet it is true. He places us in life, he will first of all prove us. Promotions come only to those who have been tried and tested in the furnace of adversities. No storms, no promotion. His tests are not designed to cripple or break us but to build us up.

God in His infinite wisdom allows us to go through certain life experiences just to equip us for our life’s assignment. God can lead the Israelites from Egypt to the Promised Land without any incident. However, he allowed them to face all kinds of enemies and deprivations just to prove their loyalty and commitment to him.

You will not be an exception. God was not interested in the death of Isaac but the resilience of Abraham’s faith. You will not fail the test you are currently going through.

Remember also that no promotion in life comes without a test. Your elevation is nearer than you believe. His strength is made perfect in your weakness. Going through tough times does not mean you have sinned or God has forsaken you. On the contrary, it may be an avenue for building your faith and character. Our confidence develops in storms which is a necessary ingredient for capacity development.

Indeed, the level of your achievement in life is a function of the three important ingredients – character, confidence and capacity.

SURVIVAL STRATEGIES

  1. Become an Eagle Christian (A matured Christian).

Develop strong spiritual muscles. Those who survive life’s storms are known to be men and women of stature. Without strong spiritual roots, you cannot navigate successfully through the storms of life. Ironically, it takes the same storm to develop strong spiritual muscles. As we face the challenges of life, we are being groomed and equipped for greater assignments.

Just as eagles take advantage of storms and soar higher, we are also expected to ride on the back of every storm of life and gain new heights. I see you towering over all the obstacles of life. You will not drown in the storm but swim majestically to the other side of the river.

Spiritual muscles are developed through constant feeding and meditation on the Word of God. The place of the word in fighting the battles of life cannot be overemphasized. Additionally, you must be a man or woman of prayer. Most battles of life are fought and won on the knee and not by human effort or expertise.

The company of seasoned believers is also an asset in sailing over the storms of life. If you are able to surround yourself with men and women who have themselves fought similar or greater battles, then your survival is guaranteed. The people we allow into our inner circle always determine the outcome of our battles. May you be fortunate to have such people around you.

  1. Seek the face of God for understanding: 

2 Corinthians 12:6-10 For though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: but now I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth of me. And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

In the above scriptures, Paul was facing a big storm in his life. As a spiritual stalwart, he began to pray and to seek the face of God. In the course of prayer, the Lord gave him an understanding concerning the storm. It was the revelation from the Lord that enabled him to stand firm until the storm was over.

Proper insight from the Lord is of tremendous benefit in dealing with the storms of life. A single revelation is worth thousands of inspirational words. May you hear the comforting voice of the Lord – my grace is sufficient for you.

  1. Seek counsel from those who have gone ahead of you.

Another tool that you can use to deal with the storms of life is to identify someone you can trust. Someone who has been there and done that over and over and can offer you valuable tips for survival.

Remember what you are facing today is not unique to you. Others have gone down that same path or even worse than you are currently going through. Their success stories can be a great source of encouragement and illumination. You will not crash under that load. The Master has placed enough witnesses along the path to assist you to get to your promised land.

  1. Focus on the positive element in the storm.

Every challenge in life comes with its hidden opportunities. It is therefore your responsibility to isolate the benefits of the storm and focus on them rather than the storm itself. Looking at the storm alone can be overwhelming with devastating consequences. Do not be like Peter who took his eyes off the Saviour and began to sink. So long as you have the right perspective of the storm, you will be able to deal with it.

The human tendency is to focus on the negative side of the storm in order to attract sympathy. The sad news is that sympathy has never taken anybody through his or her storms.  At best it will keep you in that condition and deprive you of the inherent good that can accrue to you.

In every adversity there lies the seed of an equivalent advantage. In every defeat is a lesson showing you how to win next time. In the middle of the storm lies opportunity. What does not kill you will make you stronger at last.  For the child of God, every allowed storm is a blessing in disguise. Achievers in life use the storms of their lives as springboards to rise to the next level. They relish challenges and use them profitably.

Every storm we face has some latent energy in it that can be leveraged as a force for good. Storms can make you tender or tough. It can make you better or bitter. It all depends on you. Lift up your head right now and behold the horizon. Your breakthrough is on the way to you. You will not miss your day of visitation.

  1. Hold on to the promises of God until the change comes: 

Job14:14 If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come.

Psalm 27:10 When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up.

Psalm 46:10 Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.

Winners in life are individuals who refuse to quit or give up when all others have washed their nets and had gone home. They are people who never take a “no” for an answer. They are relentless and resolute in their pursuit. In order to overcome the storms of life, you must be ready to stand on the promises of God no matter how long it takes.

In Habakkuk 2:3, the Bible says, For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.

 The victory you are looking for in life is not for the faint-hearted but for the brave. Like Jacob, may you also declare that until you bless me, I will not let you go. Job said I will wait until my change comes. Indeed, the change he was expecting did come to pass. He had everything the devil stole from him restored double fold.

I see you re-possessing everything the enemy has stolen from you – husband, job, health, wife and more, provided you are ready to hold on a little longer. Persistence and tenacity is the name of the game. Your persistence must overcome every resistance and you will rejoice when the dust finally settles.

The storm will soon be over and you will be declared the winner and not the loser. Paul declared in 2 Corinthians 4:8-9: We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;

 You will not be destroyed. See you at the other side of the river.

Will your anchor hold in the storms of life

When the clouds unfold their wings of strife?

When the strong tides lift, and the cables strain.

Will your anchor drift, or firm remain?

We have an anchor that keeps the soul

Steadfast and sure while the billows roll;

Fastened to the Rock which cannot move,

Grounded firm and deep in the Saviour’s love.

Author: Godfrey Gregg

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