“Faith grows amid storms”—just four words, but oh, how full of import to the soul who has been in the storms!
Faith is that God-given faculty which, when exercised, brings the unseen into plain view, and by which the impossible things are made possible. It deals with supernaturals.
But it “grows amid storms”; that is, where there are disturbances in the spiritual atmosphere. Storms are caused by the conflicts of elements; and the storms of the spiritual world are conflicts with hostile elements.
In such an atmosphere faith finds its most productive soil; in such an element it comes more quickly to full fruition.
The staunchest tree is not found in the shelter of the forest but out in the open, where the winds from every quarter beat upon it and bend and twist it until it becomes a giant in stature—this is the tree which the mechanic wants his tools made of, and the wagon maker seeks.
So in the spiritual world, when you see a giant, remember the road you must travel to come up to his side is not along the sunny lane where wild flowers ever bloom; but a steep, rocky, narrow pathway where the blasts of hell will almost blow you off your feet, where the sharp rocks cut the flesh, where the projecting thorns scratch the brow, and the venomous beasts hiss on every side.
It is a pathway of sorrow and joy, of suffering and healing balm, of tears and smiles, of trials and victories, of conflicts and triumphs, of hardships and perils and buffetings, of persecutions and misunderstandings, of troubles and distress; through all of which we are made more than conquerors through Him who loves us.
“Amid storms.” Right in the midst where it is fiercest you may shrink back from the ordeal of a fierce storm of trial—but go in! God is there to meet you in the center of all your trials, and to whisper His secrets which will make you come forth with a shining face and an indomitable faith that all the demons of hell shall never afterwards cause to waver.
—E. A. Kilbourne
Faith cannot be unanswered.
Her feet were firmly planted on the Rock;
Amid the wildest storms she stands undaunted,
Nor quails before the loudest thunder shock.
She knows Omnipotence has heard her prayer,
And cries, “It shall be done,” sometime, somewhere.
Unanswered yet? Nay, do not say ungranted;
Perhaps your part is not yet wholly done.
The work began when your first prayer was uttered.
And God will finish what He has begun.
If you will keep the incense burning there,
His glory you shall see, sometime, somewhere.
There are times when things look very dark to me—so dark that I have to wait even for hope. A long-deferred fulfillment carries its own pain, but to wait for hope, to see no glimmer of a prospect and yet refuse to despair; to have nothing but night before the casement and yet to keep the casement open for possible stars; to have a vacant place in my heart and yet to allow that place to be filled by no inferior presence—that is the grandest patience in the universe. It is Job in the tempest; it is Abraham on the road to Moriah; it is Moses in the desert of Midian; it is the Son of man in the Garden of Gethsemane.
The purest ore is produced from the hottest furnace, and the brightest thunderbolt is elicited from the darkest storm.
—Charles Caleb Colton
The vine clings to the oak during the fiercest of storms. Although the violence of nature may uproot the oak, twining tendrils still cling to it. If the vine is on the side of the tree opposite the wind, the great oak is its protection; if it is on the exposed side, the tempest only presses it closer to the trunk.
In some of the storms of life, God intervenes and shelters us; while in others He allows us to be exposed, so that we will be pressed more closely to Him.
—B. M. Launderville
We are safer in the storm God sends us than in a calm when we are befriended by the world.
The late Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., said, “Everything that is done in the world is done by hope.” I know for certain that as long as you draw breath, hope is available to you. You and I are only human. We cannot see into the future. Instead, we picture the possibilities for what might be. Only God knows how our lives will unfold. Hope is His gift to us, a window to look through. We cannot know the future He has planned for us. Trust in Him, keep hope in your heart, and even when faced with the worst, do whatever you can to prepare yourself for the best!
How do you sustain hope amid such suffering? One thing that sustains me when I hear of these great calamities is the fact that they always trigger incredible caring from other human beings. Just when you wonder why, amid such senseless suffering, people would still have hope, hundreds of selfless volunteers pour into those regions.
Hope appears even in the worst of times to give us proof of God’s presence.
Are you surrounded by difficult circumstances right now? Have you been struggling to understand why they have come to you? Then try to accept that God loves you and has allowed those circumstances because He knows they are good for you. Praise Him for what He has brought into your life.
Praising God is not a magic formula for success. It is a way of life that is solidly backed up in God’s Word. We praise God not for the expected results, but for the situation just as it is.
Praise is based on a total and joyful acceptance of the present as part of God’s loving, perfect will for us. Praise is not based on what we think or hope will happen in the future.
It is, of course, a fact that when we honestly praise God, something does happen as a result. His power obviously flows into the situation, and we will notice, sooner or later, a change in us or around us. The change may be that we come to experience a real joy and happiness in the midst of what once appeared to be a miserable situation, or the situation may change. But this is a result of praise and must not be the motivation for praise.
God has a perfect plan for our lives, but He cannot move us to the next step of His plan until we joyfully accept our present situation as part of that plan. What happens next is God’s move, not ours.
—Merlin R. Carothers
Jesus seemed to think backward about everything. “You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you, there is more of God and his rule.” That’s how Eugene Peterson translates the first beatitude.
I’ve never heard anyone stand up during testimony time and say, “I know I’m really blessed today because I’m all out of options. I’ve lost everything and am at the end of my rope with nothing left to hold on to.” We don’t think of such people as blessed. We think of them as needy. We consider ourselves blessed when all our needs are met and there are no dark clouds on the horizon. But we are wrong!
Every New Testament writer echoes Jesus’ words. All of them tell us that we can rejoice in our most difficult moments because Jesus will be working things out in those seasons that we would never let him touch when all is well. He didn’t tell us to rejoice for the bad times, but in them because he would convert our pain into his glory.
We don’t always know right away why God did or allowed certain things to happen, and in some cases we may not know till we get to heaven. I have a whole lot of questions that I’m going to ask when I get there. We’ve just got to trust Him anyhow!
There are a lot of things that we don’t understand now. Sometimes we’re even ashamed that we don’t understand, and we try to explain things to others that we don’t understand completely ourselves. We think that we ought to know the answers, when sometimes the best thing we can do is be honest and say, “I don’t know!”
One of the great questions of this life is why God allows seemingly bad things to happen to people, and specifically to us. We probably won’t know the complete answer to that till we get to heaven. We can see part of the answer and understand some of the reasons, but we won’t fully comprehend till we get up there and see the whole picture. I think that’s going to be part of our continuing education in the afterlife—learning why. Like Paul wrote: “Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” (1 Corinthians 13:12 NIV)
All we know is God! We don’t know all the whys and wherefores, but we do know that the Lord loves us and He knows best. And if we don’t understand something now, we will later. In the meantime, we’ve got to trust God no matter what, even if we don’t understand why some things happen. Maybe that’s why God lets some things happen in our lives that we don’t understand, just to test our faith and see if we’ll still trust Him anyhow!
The name of the game is faith and trust—faith to trust God. “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him! Though I have had a tough time and I don’t know why, yet will I trust Him! Though He let this or that happen, yet will I trust Him! Though He lets an affliction beset me or my loved ones, I’ve still got to trust Him.”
God loves to see if you’ve got real faith and you’re going to trust Him no matter what. That’s the greatest victory of all, when you seem to be defeated and you still trust the Lord. That must please the Lord more than anything—that even when it looks like you are lost and defeated, you still trust Him, like Job. Faith in the face of disaster or agony, faith in the face of death!
—David Brandt Berg
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