Storms are a common occurrence in the south. A blue sky suddenly grays, darkens to black, and produces a storm that includes thunder, lightning, and high winds. Often the storm is over in a half hour or less. The sun reappears and there is “enough blue sky to make a cat a pair of kitten britches,” one of my dad’s sayings.
Storms in our own lives pop up in a similar manner. They seem to come out of nowhere when all is blue skies and fair sailing, and often, linger longer and cause more damage than those in nature.
Here are some things to remember to help weather the storms of life:
Expect them – Sometimes it feels like you are the only one who experiences troubles. You look around and see other who seem to have it all together—no worries or hardships—but, in truth, we all encounter stormy seasons. Others may be more adept at hiding their circumstances and challenges, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have them. John 16:33 (TLB) reminds us, “I have told you all this so that you will have peace of heart and mind. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows; but cheer up, for I have overcome the world.”
Be prepared – While there is no way to prepare for every potential life storm without creating an atmosphere of anxiety and fear, you can prepare yourself spiritually. Spiritual growth is a daily process, something you can’t cram for the night before, or after a crisis hits. Spending time in the Word reminds us we aren’t self-sufficient and prayer keeps us close to our Creator. When storms come, we are certain we aren’t alone in what we face and have a ready connection to God, our source of help and hope.
Don’t fear – When my mother was a child, her mother gave her children pots and pans to drum on during a thunderstorm. The thought behind this activity was to lessen the fear precipitated by loud thunder claps. Every life storm contains an element of fear, but by diverting your focus (which is of course what my grandmother was trying to accomplish with the pot banging) from the circumstance or problem, you can begin to look ahead to solutions. When fear threatens and all seems hopeless, remember One greater, wiser, and more resourceful is in control.
Do damage assessment – Following a storm, it’s normal to walk around your house and yard to determine any damage. Sometimes damage isn’t immediately obvious and it takes a while for it to show up. It’s the same in life. You many think you’ve survived a life storm unscathed only to realize later that you haven’t dealt with the emotional aspects. Make an honest assessment of where you in the process of grief, unresolved anger, fear, or anxiety and get help. Just as some storm damage to a house is often beyond your level of DIY repairs, so the fallout from life storms may need professional help to patch up.
Maybe you’re currently in a place where you need to catch a glimpse of enough blue sky or the pale outline of a rainbow to give you hope. If so, look up, take the next step, and trust God to provide the support and resources you need for forward motion.
“Lord, help!” they cried in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He calmed the storm to a whisper and stilled the waves. What a blessing was that stillness as he brought them safely into harbor! Psalm 107:27-30