The storms of life can be challenging, even devastating. They can appear to be unbeatable, cruel and overwhelming. Sometimes they are brought upon us through no fault of our own, and other storms flare up because of our own mistakes or foolish actions. Maybe you have faced some of these storms in your own life—or maybe you have yet to do so:
1. The storm of failing health: Physical ailments can greatly disrupt our routine. Coping with pain and discomfort, doctor’s appointments, therapy and medication can consume our schedules and our thoughts. Mental illness—whether our own or in the lives of loved ones, can color our entire outlook on life, and keep our lives in a constant state of agitation.
2. The storm of change: change can be unsettling and disruptive. Change comes with more difficulty as we age, because we tend to get settled into habits and practices which fit our lifestyle and preferences. When these are altered, the results can be upsetting. Retirement, disability and relocation can all create storms in our lives.
3. The storm of losing loved ones: Any time sweet ties of fellowship and friendship are broken by death, we may feel lost or adrift on the sea of our own lives. The cables strain as loved ones are afflicted with cancer or other illnesses, and we feel a sense of great loss when they finally break away. We may feel confused, asking why am I still here, or why did they leave me alone.
4. The storm of losing position. The loss of our job, or some position of importance or influence can shatter our lives. Losing the privilege of performing some task or activity we loved. It may even be something as simple as losing a hobby which we can no longer do.
5. The storm of unfaithfulness. Unfaithfulness in our own lives is like a creeping paralysis. It usually does not happen overnight, but comes upon us gradually, like a gathering storm. When we realize what has happened, we may awaken with shock to it’s ravages. And the unfaithfulness of those we love can be especially devastating. We wonder what we could have done differently, or maybe what we can somehow do now? It’s like living on a constantly churning sea.
6. The storm of persecution. You may have felt the sting of mockery, the belittlement or ridicule which comes your way because you are a Christian. You may feel excluded or left out of events, social gatherings, or other occasions. It can be a lonely, difficult experience.
7. The storm of losing our marriage or other family ties. Divorce has become commonplace in our land. Marriages are seemingly discarded with very little thought or concern. Still, one of the hardest storms to pilot is the loss of your marriage. You may be an innocent victim, or, more likely, you may feel guilty for bringing it on. Your faith will be severely tested. Your circle of friends may change, your place of worship, and your social activities.
All of these situations, and many more, can churn up storms in our lives. They can “drown” us with sorrow, pain, and confusion. If we are not extremely careful, the tempest can fully overwhelm and destroy us.
No one can calm the storms in your life like Jesus Christ. He is the Master of earth and sea and skies. Even when it appears that he is asleep in another part of the boat, he is wide-awake and fully aware of what is happening in your life. He has the power to order the waves to be still. And they obey his word! When Jesus finishes his work in your life, you may find yourself amazed, and asking with others, “What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him?” (Mt. 8:27)
Storms come from many directions, and each one is different. There are no expert storm runners or predictors or managers, except Jesus Christ! He is the One we need at the helm as we sail through the storms of this life. Respect for our Lord is the only true safeguard we have when our “fear cometh as a storm and [our] calamity, cometh on as a whirlwind.” (Prov.1:27)
In this life, it is not so much a question of whether we will encounter storms as how we will handle them when they arise. Remember that the child of God has a loving Savior. “He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still. Then are they glad because they are quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven.” (Ps. 107:29-30) May the storms of your life listen to and obey the mighty voice of the Master we follow. And, trusting fully in Him, may you weather them safely into that eternal harbor of peace and safety!
-by Robert C. Veil, Jr.