Romans 5:3-5 NASB “And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven charactere, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”
I was living in Yorktown, Virginia when Hurricane Isabel hit. Having been the first hurricane I experienced, I was excited, anxious, nervous, a little scared, and very curious when Isabel came through.
The thing I remember the most about that experience was the sudden and drastic change in weather once Isabel passed through. From high winds, hard rain, and dark clouds to the most beautiful warm, sunny days.
If you’re in the thick of the storm and it feels like you’re just getting hammered — hold on. Hold on tight. Because on the other side of the storm that you are currently facing are abundant blessings.
Perseverance for the next one, refined character, more hope (Romans 5:3-4). Not to mention lessons learned, recognizable purpose, renewed strength, stronger faith, and a better understanding of who God is. A closeness to His heart that can only be cherished when you feel it. But you must cling to Him.
Some of things we are begging God to fix or stop or pull us out of are the exact things He is using to fuel our fire. To make us a blessing and a light in another person’s life. To pull us closer to Him so that we can recognize and truly believe His love and faithfulness.
So that when the next storm rolls through you can remember how He brought you through the last. Our faith isn’t just a one and done deal. It is build-able. It keeps growing. Every experience, the good and the bad, add to it. Our relationship with Jesus isn’t just about the destination. It’s also about the journey. An amazingly beautiful experience if you will walk with Him.
People like to say, “God won’t give you more than you can handle,” but I disagree. Because if we could handle everything on our own we wouldn’t need Him. And that is simply not true. This is evident all throughout the Bible.
After Hurricane Isabel passed, although the weather was beautiful, we were still without power for over a week. Cars were lined up into the roads from the gas stations, sitting parked, and people just hoping there would be enough gas left by the time they pulled up. Trees were down and yards were filled with debris.
The storm was over but its effects were not. There was much work to be done.
There are battles we face that can sting forever. Burdens we could hold on to for the rest of our lives. Losing a loved one, broken relationships, raising a special needs child, infertility or pregnancy/infant loss, or crippling diseases, just to name a few. Different circumstances affect each of us differently and all to various degrees.
I know what pain looks and feels like. I know the lasting burn. Things I can never forget. I have experienced hardships and I am certain that life will continue passing them out.
Hardships that have made me question God’s character. If He cares. If He hears my cries. My ugly, cry-myself-to-sleep cries. How or why He could let these things happen. If He is punishing me. Questioning what I did. And then recalling what I did – the awful sins of my past that make me feel completely unworthy.
And we would be unworthy had Jesus not said we were worthy with His death on the cross.
I want to be clear here. My faith is firm, but I am still human and most Jesus followers will tell you they have had the same questions. These thoughts and questions are lies from the enemy filling your mind with doubt, fear, and anxiety.
Leave your burdens in the hands of God. Your entire tangled mess. The pain doesn’t always just go away but when you truly hand it over to God, you will find His peace. Peace that begins to lighten the load. The kind of peace that only He can give. (John 14:27, Philippians 4:6-7)
There are things we may never understand. Reasons we may never know. But His Truth still stands and that is what we can cling to.
Prayer: Father God, thank You for Your Word. Thank You for Your faithfulness. Thank You for every battle You have carried me through. Lord, sometimes the pain still lingers and I don’t understand the details, but I know I can trust You to bring good from this for Your glory. Please give me strength and wrap me in the peace that only You can give. In Jesus’ name, Amen.