A devotion for you:
We often find ourselves questioning why? Why would God allow this to happen? Covid (disease, dying alone, isolation, etc.) racial injustice, hatred, insurrection in our democratic nation? We even question this in our daily lives…. Job loss, financial struggle, loss of loved ones, natural disasters, divorce, relationship issues, violence, etc.
It is like a storm hitting us (and just like this past year) it feels like storm after storm. As we watch those floodwaters rise….we wonder how we got there….how will we ever survive this storm? Where is God when I need him in this storm? Our bodies, minds, and souls are battered and we feel like we are defeated. How much longer can we be subjected to these threats? We may even find ourselves beginning to doubt our faith…God should not allow this to happen to me….Why would he test me like this?
The bible talks about many times when individuals were tested:
Abraham – imagine how he felt after having no children with his wife and being 90 when his wife gives birth – then God asks Abraham to sacrifice his only son?
Noah – 600 years old but then being asked to build an ark and gather 2 of every animal because a flood was coming.
Moses – To lead his people out of Egypt.
Jesus – Was tested in the wilderness with Satan for 40 days.
So WHY are we all tested?
When we are given storms or tests in our lives we have a choice to make. Do we turn to God and allow him to work in our lives and restore our faith? Or do we instead allow it to shatter our faith and drive us away from God? When we are faced with these trying times it can be so easy to allow anger and feeling of things being unjust to shatter our faith and drive us away from God and everything he has planned for us.
We all know that in life, we may not understand why things happen to us and that will not be revealed until we are in heaven with God. But we have a choice we CAN make. (1) we can grow from what we face and become stronger in our faith which will teach us patience, love, joy, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and gentleness. Or (2) we can allow the storm to sweep us away like a tornado and destroy everything in its path. This is how we grow in faith.
We know there are those out there today saying that God is supportive of the hatred they spew. This is our storm. The devil can quote scripture and knowing our God is one of Love and Peace we must use our knowledge from past storms to be able to weather the storms we face in this country over the past year. Just as coaches train their athletes with practice and soldiers train in boot camps…God trains us to be better Christians through the storms we face in life.
If everything in life came to us easily and there was no grief or sorrow, no pain, no trials or tribulations, would we really be demonstrating the ability to have faith? Faith is often proven most during moments of these storms.
There are several bible verses that talk about storms in life:
James 1:12 states “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him”
Romans 5: 3-5 states “More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”
We have all been facing some of the toughest times in history. There have been moments in history where we have struggled but this year we have had not 1, not even 2, but multiple events that have shaken most of us to our core. While nothing can take those storms away….it is important to remember how you grow from this experience.
Do you allow hatred to fill your heart? Do you allow inhumanity to take over our world? Do we stop loving one another and allow evil to reign in our world? OR….. do we learn from these storms and grow as better Christians and human beings to prove that God has not left us but instead works through us to demonstrate the strength of our faith.
One final verse…..Isaiah 41:10 “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God: I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
Let us close with a prayer:
We are constantly faced with storms in our lives and over the last year it has seemed like one storm after another. We understand those storms are important for us to be able to grow in our faith…..not to question you. Just as a child struggles to understand the unfair rules of a parent….we forget that as our Father, you also have reasons for what you are teaching us. We may not understand it in the moment….but hopefully one day we WILL look back and understand that those storms were for a reason. Forgive us when we are weak and struggle to find peace in this world. Instead give us strength to turn to you and know that you are always with us. While we struggle in the rough seas, we know you are the lighthouse in the sea that will guide us safely home.
Please hear our prayers and remain ever present in our lives to help us to weather the storms.
In your name we pray, Amen.