Standing Strong in the Storm
God doesn't promise that we'll be spared the storm. But when the storm hits, it doesn't have to knock us down.
Storms hit us unexpectedly. We may have seen a storm coming. But we saw it coming for our neighbors. We didn’t see it coming for us.
If I serve you well, you’ll bless me, we tell God, maybe even subconsciously. My life will be easier if I do the right things.
So we work hard to serve God and do the right things, and smirk at those who clearly have it coming.
Then it rains. And the wind starts blowing, and the floodwaters rise.
A Storm of Suffering
In high school, I suffered a prolonged illness that often left me weak, in bad and unpredictable pain, and most of all, feeling hopeless. For months on end there were no answers or solutions to be found.
I tried to stay positive, but sometimes the toll was too much. I remember lying in bed in the dark, crying out and asking God why.
I’ve served you all my life. I don’t deserve this. Why does this have to happen now? Why do I have to weather this storm at all?
I know I’m not the only one who asks God these kinds of questions in the midst of a life storm.
And the Rain Fell …
The other day I flipped to the Gospel of Matthew and my eye fell on a familiar passage. This time, it struck me in a new way. In Matthew 7:24-27, Jesus says:
“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” (Emphases added)
If you’re like me, you may have skimmed over that passage so many times that you forgot what it actually says. Maybe you came to assume that if you built your house on the rock, you wouldn’t experience storms at all. But that’s not true.
And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat that house.
Rain fell on both houses. Floods surrounded both houses. Winds beat both houses.
The difference? One stood, and one fell.
Storms Happen to Everyone
Just because we build our house — our life — on his rock doesn’t mean we’ll be spared the storm. 1 Peter 4:12 backs this up. “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.” Storms and trials are part of life for everyone. The sooner we accept that, the less time we’ll waste asking God why at every raindrop.
At first, that may seem discouraging. After all, it would be great if following God meant we suffered no storms. But we can be confident in two things. First, God has a plan for our good, even when storms hit. Second, if we build our house on the rock by following Jesus, the storm will not knock us down.
And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.
Nothing to Fear
As I learned years ago, my illness didn’t have anything to do with God punishing me unfairly, or punishing me at all. Overtime, he led me to the right solutions. Physically, I recovered. But more importantly, he sustained me spiritually. I did not collapse in the storm, even though it felt overwhelming. My faith survived. And eventually I saw his plan in it.
God has sustained me through other storms since then. And he’ll sustain me through storms in the future. It’s not because of anything I deserve, but simply because I’ve built my life on his foundation.
Are you weathering a storm? Is your family or community? Reflect on whether you’ve built your life on God’s teachings. If you have, there’s nothing to fear, no matter how much rain, flooding and wind may come. He won’t let you fall.