Entries tagged with “Dealing with disaster”.

Fate has a way of introducing situations into our lives that challenge us at the deepest levels. From debt, difficulty, disaster, divorce, death, and beyond, these have a way of putting-the-squeeze on us in ways we would prefer to avoid. Never does God intend for these things to depress or destroy us. To the contrary, He uses these to develop us into power-broking people who can endure trials and prevail at any time, in any place, and under any circumstance. Settle with the fact that some realities just won’t change. Loved ones do age and may become ill. Grown children will eventually leave home; whether at a time we are ready for them to go, or earlier should they decide to take the plunge. Employers may make hard choices that cost us substantially. In short, we will continue to experience losses no matter who were are or what we have attained. We cannot change these!

You should know, though, you have options! You can either fight it—that is, try hard to deny the reality as if it does not exist—or you can face it. You can either take it lying down, or you can stand up in the midst of it and be a victor, and not the victim. When life issues you a lemon, you can actually make lemonade. God gives believers the power to take stumbling blocks, and successfully turn them into stepping stones. Regardless of how painful the dilemma is, we can make it, because it’s not the end of the world. That is, yet! Want to know how? Here’s an approach:

First, thank God for the test (trial). Really, that’s all it is. It’s a test of your faith. I don’t know anyone who tries to intentionally fail a test. There are some Christians, however, who would prefer to simply “not take the test.” Don’t trip! Thank God for it. It’s only a test! Second, ask God to help you learn from it. There is so much to learn in every experience. Turn that trial or challenge into a learning module. God will show you areas where you are much stronger/wiser than you realized, and ways (and places) where you need improvement. No matter what, learn from the experience! Third, be positive! The matter of faith is a “living” reality. Therein lies a power at our disposal to handle and overcome any adversity if we would simply appropriate it. Sing songs of praise and be joyful. Do all you can to celebrate God’s goodness even in the dark places! Make God larger than the problem. Fourth, trust His word (Him) through it! Remind yourself of the promises of God. He alone declares never to leave nor forsake us. He alone has the power to defeat death, hell, and the grave. Read and remember His word.

Daniel had fasted and was praying for three full weeks anticipating a breakthrough and some needed relief for the people of Israel (Chapter 9). While still praying, the angel of the Lord came and told him what he needed to hear. Amazingly, the angel confessed he departed heaven to come to Daniel’s aid a full three weeks earlier, but had been strangely detained by demonic forces (see Chapter 10:13). Even more amazing was the fact Daniel never lost hope. I wondered why! I pondered how we might equally be resilient as we wait on God’s timely intervention into our situations today. Two things came to mind:

(1) God always gives assurance in spite of the appearance. When things appear they are not changing and you find yourself getting a bit weary, pay close attention to how God mysteriously provides assurance even in spite of the appearance. Things are not always as they seem.
(2) Trust the revelation instead of the manifestation. As you read His word, hold fast to what God has said rather than what you see. His word alone can kindle a fire in your heart and give to you the comfort you need to make it through. I am a witness He will!

Dear brothers and sisters; roll up your sleeves and tell the devil “He’s a liar; and the truth is not in him!” Trust God! You can and will make it!

The local weather had already alerted us of the week’s forecast. On Wednesday, the predictions were for Thursday to be a warm 87 degrees and up to 93 degrees on Friday. They said the sun would be shining bright and the heat index was to be near 100. Well, that’s what THEY said!

Today is Friday and I left my office a bit early. The last thing on my agenda this evening was to conduct a wedding rehearsal which was to start at 5:00 p.m. I left home around 4:35 with plenty of time to make the appointment, and then it happened! The sirens were going off in every neighborhood in the metropolitan area. The skies quickly turned dark gray and the noisome thunder rumbled throughout the area. I turned on my car radio and learned there were reports of ninety mile per hour winds that were to be expected any moment. Everyone was told to seek shelter. For a whole lot of us, it was too late! By 4:50, the rains had started and the wind was overwhelming. Before we realized it, we were in a dangerous thunderstorm. Water was all over the streets in front of me and the traffic was terribly backed up. We were moving at a snail’s pace to get through the lights as it was difficult to see through the downpour. Some trees and huge tree limbs were sprawled on several streets, and at points the water was near a foot deep as my vehicle crawled through the floods. It was not fun, for sure.

By 5:10 p.m., I gratefully had reached my destination. The rains had begun to ease up and the skies gave signs of things changing. The darkness moved on and the sun, once again, maneuvered itself from behind the clouds. There were power outages in many neighborhoods (to include no electricity in the small church where we were). A huge oak spanned the street in front of the church; yet we were able to proceed with the rehearsal in the daylight that remained.

A few of the participants were still stranded at home due to the storm, so I decided to wait until rehearsal was over when we could all have prayer together. By the rehearsal’s end, the entire wedding party had arrived and we prepared to leave. As we bowed, the Lord strangely reminded me of the horrendous conditions a few moments earlier. My prayer was thus: “Lord, thank you for bringing us through another storm. As we leave, may this experience be an example to this couple and the rest of us of how suddenly storms can happen in marriage and in life. May we further recognize that while this storm raged, we were determined to get to your house! Remind us we pray, in your house alone, we are guaranteed to find refuge, sanctuary, and safety, even in a storm! May none of us ever forget this moment; when the electricity is off and other powers fail; Help us to remember You are still the Light of the World. You (and You alone), Oh God, enable us all to see! Be with us now and forever, Amen!”

I was reminded, afterwards, of a song out of my past. The words are simply:

Encourage my soul, and let us journey on;
Though the night is dark, and I am far from home;
Thanks be to God the morning light appears;
The storm is passing over; the storm is passing over,
The storm is passing over, Hallelujah!

God is so good!