Have you ever been on a boat during a storm? It’s a scary experience. The water, which is usually so calm, becomes a force to reckon with. Just last week I was returning from a women’s retreat on a nearby island, accessible only by ferry. The return trip was the wildest I’ve ever had: 10-foot waves crashing, one upon the other, the ferry flying off one wave and onto the next.
I thought about that experience during my devotions. I’m reading through the Bible chronologically again this year, and I just finished Matthew. In Matthew 14 is the well-known account where Jesus walks on water. As I read it this time, I noticed that Jesus chose to come to His disciples in the middle of a storm. A storm with 10-foot (more) waves, which He walked upon as if they were dry ground.
We experience storms in many ways—not just on the water. In fact, I’d venture to say our relational storms are much more prevalent than physical ones! How do we stay strong in the middle of a storm? How do we hold onto faith and hope when the waves are crashing over us, one after another?
I’ve been through a variety of storms in my own life and will face many more in the future. Here are a few things I’ve learned.
Root Yourself in Truth
You cannot withstand the onslaught of a storm if you base your life on feelings. You cannot stand up to turmoil, fear, anxiety or conflict if emotions are dictating your decisions. You need truth. We must root ourselves in what is absolute, and this is found in God’s Word alone.
Ephesians 6:14 talks about truth as a “belt” for the armor of God—it holds everything else together. It’s central to our daily walk. We can’t do life without God’s truth, and we can’t know God’s truth without being in God’s Word. We survive storms by grounding ourselves in that place.
Surround Yourself With Godly Counsel
Another thing I noticed in reading the whole Bible (a big reason I do this each year—you learn something new every time!) was how godly people seek God’s counsel. They don’t just seek the advice of friends and mentors—though that’s important too, as we’ll get to in a moment—but they FIRST seek God’s wisdom for their specific storm. There have been some situations in which I had to take action and God led me to do so. But other storms required me to be still. Staying strong looks different in unique circumstances.
We also need to seek the counsel of godly friends and mentors. These people are given to us by God for additional perspective. Staying strong doesn’t mean doing life on your own! You will be stronger when linking arms with those who love you. Proverbs 15:22 says, “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” However you plan to face your storm, get counsel first.
Preach to Yourself the Good News
Do you know what the gospel is? It’s the GOOD NEWS that Jesus came to earth to save us. We’ve heard it a dozen times, I know, but by reminding ourselves that Jesus really did pay it all, we have eternal perspective in life-shattering circumstances.
This life is not all there is. Remaining strong is tough, but it’s easier when you remember just how much Jesus did to secure your place with Him. If He went that far once, He’ll go that far again. Have faith in His love for you, stand on His truth and you’ll remain strong in Him.