Philippians 4:4-7 “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Have you ever had a major life storm swirling all around you? You feel as though a tornado has swept by and you are caught in the vortex and it just will not throw you out? You are not sure which way is up or down. Twirling and twirling you wait to get your legs under you, feel solid ground again, yet while this is happening, you are not afraid, you are peaceful almost joyful? How can that be possible, what has had to take place first?
If we are walking in relationship with Jesus each and every day, reading his word, praying, living in gentleness, settledness, peacefulness, and thanksgiving, we are already way ahead of the one who isn’t. If we are not walking in line with God’s word then when the storm comes, and it will, we do not have what it takes to weather well what is happening. We have to stop in the middle of the horrible winds and try to gain footing, collect our thoughts, get our minds right. It is much harder to do while the storm is raging than if we are prepared beforehand.
The Bible tells us that we are to rejoice always, always? Really? It is so important it is repeated. It tells us that the Lord is near. We are not alone in this tornado, God is very near to us. He does not leave us to fight the battle by ourselves, He is in the midst of it, has allowed it for purposes that ultimately are for our good, but most assuredly are meant to draw us nearer to him. To raise our trust level. We are to go to him, take our petitions and prayers and leave our worries there, at his feet, surrendering our control or the control we felt we had. And while we are surrendering through prayer we are to be thankful, give thanks to him. Is it possible to thank the Lord in the middle of a storm, yes, it is when we remember his faithfulness to us in the past, when we meditate on his word and remember the heroes of the faith that he was with and so faithful to.
When we fully surrender our right to be angry, to be anxious, to worry; God steps into the situation and bathes our hearts with a peace unlike any other. It washes over us with an assurance that He is able to bring us through, that no matter the storm, He is in control, He will not leave us or forsake us, He loves us with an everlasting love and even if we fall, it is into the loving hands of Jesus.
Most of our battles are fought and won in our minds. That is where they start and where they end. Our minds can be so fickle when they are not anchored in God’s word. When they are focused solely on us, our comfort, our wants, the world, there is no anchor there, nothing to keep us grounded and steady. However, if we are filled up with God, walking in a relationship with Jesus, letting the Holy Spirit of God walk us through life, that power that raised Jesus is already moving and working and keeping and giving us what we need as we need it. We may have a momentary time of feeling overwhelmed, but the power of God will rise up in us, our faith will come to the surface and we will realize that Jesus is near, we will get through and we can even rejoice all the while the storm has never ceased.
It is kinda like a soldier, being prepared. What if the soldier never trained, never handled his weapons, never put on his uniform or did even the first soldierly thing and was called to immediate action in a war. He would not do well, he would not be ready, he would be caught off guard and have to hurry to get battle ready. A soldier is trained for months and sometimes years. He is taught everything from how to make his bed to how to aim, shoot and kill the enemy.
Well, we are soldiers in the Lord’s army. We must be prepared at all times for war to break out. We must be filled up with the power and knowledge of God that comes from reading his word, praying and living in relationship. We need to be so full, so ready that we can still sing, praise, shout, give thanks, move forward and even run this race well all the while life is going crazy, you are twirling around in the storm, yet settled in the knowledge that God brought it, God can stop it, and victory is already yours, but also whatever the outcome it is a victory, because you rest in Jesus and his plan for you.
The Lord is near, the enemy will say he isn’t, but we know that is a lie because if the enemy is talking, he being the father of lies, does just that every time he utters a word, it is all lies…don’t believe a word! Keep believing what you know to be true about God, keep reading and persevering in prayer and see the goodness of God come to pass. It will just wait for it and while you do, praise him, give thanks and rest in peace, you may be battered, but you will survive and live to share your war story to help another fellow soldier on their way.