7 Keys To Handling The Storms Of Life

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Have you ever been in a hurricane, tornado or storm where the winds were howling and were not only frightening but dangerous and perhaps even deadly?

About a year and a half ago, Hurricane Matthew swept through our part of the world with winds between 75 and 95 miles per hour. The force of the storm was so strong it blew down two sixty foot oak trees in the vacant lot next to our property.

As I reflect on that Saturday night. . .I recall another night where the winds were howling and waves were violently slapping the side of the boat.

Mark 4:39 says:

"And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm."

These were mostly experienced sailors so you know it had to be a storm of enormous proportion.

The disciples and Jesus were crossing the Sea of Galilee when a storm began to rage. The disciples were frightened, fearful and faithless in the midst of what they perceived to be a deadly situation.

What do we do to be sure we are equipped? Here are seven things we should do when facing the storms that arise in our own life.

1.         When trouble is headed your way. . .do what Jesus did.

When the storms of live rise up against you. . .we need to learn how to be at peace.

When troubles come your way. . .do you find yourself having sleepless nights? Tossing and turning. . .worrying about what may or may not happen.

Or is it a time when you know you have to pull out the reserves. My 89 year old momma likes to call it … “being prayed up.”

When you’re up against a tougher than tough battle, there will be times you have to pull out all the stops and stand your ground.

Don’t you think Jesus knew there was a storm forming about to churn into a dangerous storm? What was He doing? The Contemporary English Version of Mark 4:38 which says:

“Jesus was in the back of the boat with his head on a pillow, and he was asleep.”

Matthew 6:34 in the Message Bible offers some great advice when it says:

"Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.”

We can’t always anticipate what will happen tomorrow… but we can be prayed up today. What does that mean?

It means we don’t take a day off… we don’t glide on what great things we did last week. It means every day we honor God… every day we do whatever we can to present ourselves workmen that are not ashamed because we are rightly dividing the Word of God and living by it.

2.         Always know He will never tell you to do anything dangerous without a way of escape.

Mark 4:35 in the Amplified Bible says:

“On that same day [when] evening had come, He said to them, Let us go over to the other side [of the lake].”

Did you believe the Son of God knew what was going to happen. . .before it ever happened on the trip over?

Acts 2:23 in the New Living Translation says:

“But God knew what would happen, and his prearranged plan was carried out when Jesus was betrayed. With the help of lawless Gentiles, you nailed him to a cross and killed him.”

If He knew He was going to be betrayed and crucified. . .He most certainly knew no storm in the Sea of Galilee was going to stand in His way.

Since Jesus knew the storm was coming do you really think He would have put the disciples. . .those closest to Him . . . in a position to drown and die? Of course not!

In everything you face in life. . .no matter how great the temptation or seemingly insurmountable the problem may be. . .God always provides a way of escape.

Write that sentence down and personalize it.

God always provides a way of escape for <<YourName>>.

1 Corinthians 10:13 says:

“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”

When something catches us off guard … we need to stop and think. What did Jesus say? To the disciples He said, “…Let us go over to the other side [of the lake].”

They knew could stake their life on that Word from Jesus. But somewhere in the panic they lost their peace and forgot.

3.         God is not moved by your circumstances. . .and neither should you be.

Booker T. Washington once said:

“Character, not circumstances, makes the man.”

Let me give you an absolute fact. . .if you’re doing what God has called you to do. . .fulfilling His vision for your life. . .being obedient to His divine direction. . .stuff is going to happen.

The work of the enemy is to make the effective Christian ineffective for and to the Kingdom of God.

The disciples were with Jesus 24/7 yet fear made them forget who they were traveling with and who they were doing business for.

I remember an airline flight. . .where there was a violent thunderstorm in the distance as the plane leveled off at its cruising altitude. As we drew closer and closer to the thunderstorm. . .the lady sitting next to me became increasing nervous and fearful about the storm.

I listened quietly until she said she didn’t want to die in a plane crash. I confidently told her that our plane was not going to crash. . .that we were going to arrive safely at our destination.

When she asked me how I could be so sure. . .I said: “because I’m on this plane and God still has a lot for me to accomplish in my life.” Then I told her that He had plans for her as well.

That’s when I discovered she was a Christian but her faith was weakened when facing fear about the surrounding circumstances.

Isaiah 41:10 in the Message Bible says:

“Don't panic. I'm with you. There's no need to fear for I'm your God. I'll give you strength. I'll help you. I'll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you."

Now that’s a promise to grab a hold of. It’s important to take control of ourselves and not allow our circumstance to dictate our state of mind or alter our destiny.

It doesn’t mean fear will not grip us … it’s what we do with it that determines what happens next.

Psalm 56:3 in the New King James Version gives us these words of David:

“What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.”

4.         When in the midst of the storms of life. . .call on Him and quote the Word.

When trouble comes. . .who you gonna call? Not Ghostbusters. . .but the Holy Ghost.

Psalm 86:5-7 says:

“In the day of my trouble I will call upon thee: for thou wilt answer me.”

If you need the peace of God in your life. . .if you need deliverance from the storms of adversity. . .heed the words of Jeremiah 29:12-14 in the Amplified Bible which says:

“Then you will call upon Me, and you will come and pray to Me, and I will hear and heed you.   Then you will seek Me, inquire for, and require Me [as a vital necessity] and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, says the Lord, and I will release you from captivity. . .”

Now here’s a revelation. . .you can’t quote what you don’t know.

Matthew 22:29 in the New Living Translation says:

“Jesus replied, `Your mistake is that you don’t know the Scriptures, and you don’t know the power of God.’”

Learning the scriptures is what we do when things are calm.

Leaning securely on the Word is what we do when the wind begins to blow.

All professional athletes go to spring training or training camps before playing in games that count for the team.

In the same way we need spiritual training. . .before we encounter the storms of life. . .so we can be victorious in the game of life.

We were created for greatness… but we have a part to play.

5.         Relying on the Word. . .causes fear to flee.

Fear is the devil’s anointing. It’s what he does best and we need to learn to expect it along life’s journey.

The renowned author Max Lucado offered some great advice when he said:

“Meet your fears with faith.”

The best reason not to be afraid. . .is to be completely settled that God knows what He’s doing.

Matthew 28:18 in the Classic Amplified Bible settles the issue once and for all:

Jesus approached and, breaking the silence, said to them, All authority (all power of rule) in heaven and on earth has been given to Me.”

Now I have a question for you. If God gave Jesus complete… total… ALL authority not only in heaven but on earth … what authority does the devil have?

Every Christian needs to have that fact completely settled in his or her spirit. There is absolutely nothing Satan can throw at you that the Lord cannot overcome in you.

Isaiah 41:10 in the Contemporary English Version says:

Don't be afraid. I am with you. Don't tremble with fear. I am your God. I will make you strong, as I protect you with my arm and give you victories.”

Psalm 118:6 in the Message Bible says:

“God's now at my side and I'm not afraid; who would dare lay a hand on me?”      

Deuteronomy 20:1 in the Message Bible says:

“. . . In a few minutes you're going to do battle with your enemies. Don't waver in resolve. Don't fear. Don't hesitate. Don't panic. God, your God, is right there with you, fighting with you against your enemies, fighting to win."

Psalm 139:5 in the Message Bible says:

“You know when I leave and when I get back; I'm never out of your sight. You know everything I'm going to say before I start the first sentence.

“I look behind me and you're there, then up ahead and you're there, too—your reassuring presence, coming and going. This is too much, too wonderful—I can't take it all in!”

I’ve written extensively about how to deal with fear and worry. I strongly suggest you visit our website www.haroldherring.com and search for “fear” or “worry.” You’ll find lots of spiritual as well as practical encouragement on how to overcome these mind games of the enemy.

6.         When facing adversity. . .you need to tell your circumstances and those around you to “Hush.”

Sometimes you don’t even have to tell your friends. . .more properly, known as acquaintances to “hush” . . .because at the first sign of adversity. . .they’re gone faster than a snow man in 80 degree sunshine.

However, for those who either comment before bolting or hang around. . .never let the second voice distract you from what you know to be spiritual truth and your ability to allow God’s power to work through you.

In Mark 4:39 in the Amplified Bible, the scripture tells us what Jesus said to the storm when the disciples awoke him from his sleep:

“And He arose and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, Hush now! Be still (muzzled)! And the wind ceased (sank to rest as if exhausted by its beating) and there was [immediately] a great calm (a perfect peacefulness).”

Have you ever thought about how you want others to perceive you. . .what you want them to say and think about you?

Truthfully, I can think of several ways I’d want to be spoken of. . .but none more satisfying than what’s found in Mark 4:41 in the Message Bible:

“They were in absolute awe, staggered, “Who is this, anyway?" they asked. "Wind and sea at his beck and call!"

You’re probably thinking. . .yes, but that was Jesus. I understand your thoughts …

but did He come just to save us . . . or also show us how we too can be victorious?

John 14:12 in the Classic Amplified Bible says:

“I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, if anyone steadfastly believes in Me, he will himself be able to do the things that I do; and he will do even greater things than these, because I go to the Father.”

7.         Every situation … yes EVERY situation is a learning situation.

Philippians 4:11 in the New Living Translation says:

“I’m not saying this because I’m in any need. I’ve learned to be content in whatever situation I’m in.”

This scripture is anything but a scriptural admonition to settle for whatever has befallen you in life.

The Apostle Paul is merely stating that he knows that whether he is fully nourished or at the moment is doing without … he is not moved by circumstances. Circumstances come and go … but Paul was assured in his heart that God’s Word would see him through every situation.

If you want further study on this you can go to www.haroldherring.com and search for “The Difference Between Contentment And Complacency.” The teaching is definitely. . .a game changer.

I’ve gone through some things in my life. . .and I’ve wanted to learn everything I could in those situations. . .so I would never have to experience them again.

Philippians 4:12 in the New Living Translation says:

“I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little.”

God clearly wants us to learn how to live in every situation, circumstance, problem or adversity that we face.

Tony Dungy, a Super Bowl Champion coach and a remarkable man of God, said:

“When you're in a situation, you can complain about it, you can feel sorry for yourself, you can do a lot of things. But how are you gonna make the situation better?”

I strongly suggest you meditate on Philippians 4:13 in the Message Bible which says:

“Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am.”

The only way God can make you who He wants you to be. . .is by your willingness to learn from every situation you face.

One final scripture in this teaching is found in 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 in the Message Bible:

“All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us.”

Your Heavenly Father is teaching you His way. . .24 hours a day.

One last quote. . .

“Whatever your situation might be, set your mind to whatever you want to do and put a good attitude in it, and I believe that you can succeed. You are not going to get anywhere just sitting on your butt and moping around.”

That quote is from Bethany Hamilton, a championship surfer until she lost her arm to a shark attack. She didn’t sit around. . .she made things happen. If you’ve never seen the movie, Soul Surfer, it tells the story of her life. It’s a great testimony of determining who decides your destiny….you or your fears.