November 9, 2020
Where is the Nearest Exit?
We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance (Romans 5:3, NLT).
Friend to Friend
Have you heard about the tiny sea turtles that, when hatched, must make their way across the seashore to the ocean? If a person picks them up and helps them get to the water, they will die. Why? It is in their struggle through the sand that their little flippers are strengthened. People mean well. They think they are helping the tiny sea creature. But removing the struggle is actually harmful to the turtles. Without strong flippers they can’t swim. The waves overtake them, and they cannot survive.
How often have we wished for and even prayed for a trouble-free life? No problems. No trials. But like that tiny sea turtle, if we had a life void of trouble and difficult circumstances, our faith would not grow. We would not develop endurance. We would be weak where we need to be strong.
Jesus asks us to trust Him in our trials – to rejoice even when we find ourselves stuck in the middle of a storm. Not all storms come to disrupt our life journey. Some come to clear the path. And even the storms that come as a result of our poor choices – He is still God!
When God allows us to go through a storm, it is to allow us to see Him in a new way and on a different level. When God allows us to go through a storm, it is for us to receive something from Him that we cannot receive any other way. The prophet Isaiah nails this truth when he writes:
God tell us, “When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you” (Isaiah 43:2, NLT).
In other words, no matter what kind of trial we face – God’s got us. Storms are for our good because they compel us to focus on the power and sufficiency of God instead of relying on our own competence.
But when a storm hits, I usually look for the nearest exit, hoping to escape those high winds and rough waters. I am more than willing to give up my seat in a rocking boat in exchange for tranquil waters and blue skies. Sound familiar?
I don't like pain.
I dread uncertain times.
I like to be in control.
To think that storms are for my good is a stretch to say the least. But Paul had this truth down pat! Paul certainly had his share of storms. He was imprisoned, beaten and faced his own execution. And yet he writes:
“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance” (Romans 5:3, NLT).
The goal here is endurance. And choosing joy on the path to endurance. Honestly, there have been times when I thought I would come unglued if one more person told me to praise God for my storm. But looking back, there is absolutely no doubt that my greatest growth has come during the fiercest storms of my life. Each storm has become a spiritual marker, a testament to the sufficiency and faithfulness of God. With each storm, my level of endurance has grown. And that is a good thing – painful, but good.
Storms will come.
Storms are a reality of life.
We will either become storm survivors or storm statistics. The choice really is ours to make. We can stop telling God how big our storm is and start telling the storm just how big our God is. The key to enduring storms is to embrace each one that comes, knowing it contains and can yield a seed of victory. Are you in a storm today? Will you choose to trust God in the midst of that storm?
Father, give me new eyes to see Your hand at work in the midst of my life storms. I surrender my fear and disbelief to You. Please strengthen me for whatever tomorrow holds.
In Jesus' Name,
Now It's Your Turn
Read and memorize Psalm 46:1 (NRSV) “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” What problem are you facing today? What one step can you take to view that problem as a gift from God?
More from the Girlfriends
What does it mean to trust God? What would your life look like if you were walking by faith and trusting God with your whole heart? Mary’s book, 10-Day Trust Adventure, will help you learn how to step out in faith and really trust God in every area of your life.
© 2020 by Mary Southerland. All rights reserved.