Settle Philippians 4:4-8 “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 mind in Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is t, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things.
All of us walk through this life knowing that at any moment a “storm” can come up in your life. “Storms” can take on many different forms. There are many different kinds of storms that we can encounter along our way. Financial, death, illness, loss of something dear, divorce, loneliness, prodigal children and the list goes on. I am sure you can think of several others, nothing that is unique to one person, we all encounter things in life that are just hard, seasons of hard, where we feel they will never end and if they do will we still be intact?
Often, we are not prepared financially for some catastrophe, we certainly are never truly prepared to lose someone either by death or divorce. But can we be prepared emotionally, mentally and spiritually? Can we rejoice even in the middle of our “storm”? Yes, I think we can, if it were not possible these words from Philippians do not mean much. We are told to rejoice, not to “like” necessarily what is happening, but to rejoice anyway. What can we rejoice about? Well, we are told to “Rejoice in the Lord always.” Always means just that, good times or bad, we need to be rejoicing in the Lord. We need to have been so immersed in the word beforehand, walking in a relationship with Jesus beforehand that when our “storms” crop up we are not tossed to and fro.
We need to remember that the Lord is near, probably nearer at this time than many others. He is always near to the brokenhearted. (Psalm 34:18) How are we to handle our “storms?” We are told to offer prayers, petitions and even thanksgiving to God when presenting our supplications/requests to God. Let’s face it sometimes being thankful in a tough situation is hard, but I dare say we can start listing our blessings and find thankfulness rising to the surface. I can start with being thankful that I am a chosen child of God, I can be thankful for what has not happened yet!
Often we are asked to lay down our wants for God’s wants. It does not seem fair, it is not easy and a lot of the time makes no sense to those around us, but we know in our hearts what God is asking and we have to trust that what he asks is “His best” for us. It may not look like the best by the world’s standards and it may not feel at the moment like you are getting “His best,” but I can assure you it is. When we surrender our desires, and wishes to him and truly trust that he has us, he cares, he hears, he will bring us through; that is when we experience “the peace that passes understanding.” And when we receive that peace we are promised that our hearts and minds will be guarded, kept by God himself.
I am in a season of multiple things going very wrong at the same time. I have done my best to lean in close to the Lord, pray and seek His counsel over decisions that have been and need to be made, all while having another “mini storm” happen in the midst of the first. I will be honest, I stopped and said, “really Lord?” I have had to surrender my ideas, my fleshly wishes to those of the one who knows best. I have had to stop my thoughts from running away with me and setting me up for disappointment. Satan would like nothing better than for me to sit down, let self-pity take over and enjoy one great big pity party, but I refuse to do it, I refuse to listen to his lies. I instead want to focus on those things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy. God’s got this. He has seen me through a lot of days and years, bigger struggles and stronger storms, so I can rest in the assurance that “He has me now!” He loves me and he is walking with me through each mile of “valley” time I am experiencing all the while lifting my spirits higher, my heart closer and tuning my ears to listen better.
God asks us to be gentle ie…balanced and steady in our storm. Even if you are going through something right now and you started rough, complaining and straining against it, it is not too late to turn your attention to the Lord, read his word, take your thoughts captive and surrender to His will. The enemy will tell you it is too late, but God is already there, waiting for you and “You can always run into His arms.”
When you do you will find “His peace” filling your soul and thankfulness taking hold. We are told the “Victory” is assured. We may arrive with war wounds, looking pretty shaggy, but oh how awesome will the Victory cry be, and the sweetness of being with Jesus for all eternity be? No more “storms,” no more tears, no more pain, no more death…no more, just more of him all day every day without end! Now that is something to rejoice about…let thankfulness fill you now, and trust his heart for you, this too shall pass!