Stepping Through Storms
Pastor Clay Olsen
Since we just had a really bad storm last year, you would think we would get a break from storms for a while, right? But that’s the thing about living in a storm filled world…it’s full of storms. And, as has been said, “We don’t get to pick all the battles we must fight…only how we fight them.” Exactly! And we fight them as we do anything in life; remember; Not for victory, but FROM victory! We fight as overcomers, alongside the One who has overcome the world. John 16:33- “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” NASU
And notice that Jesus said our peace will be found ‘in Him’. What will be found in this world? Tribulations. So we are not to expect peace from a tribulation filled world. But we can expect to overcome the tribulations in this world since Jesus has overcome the world and we are ‘overcomers’ with Him.
But we do have to fight, and we do have to deal with the stresses, as well as the messes. So since we have had to deal with the mess of this storm and the fall out of it, let’s think of some helps to keep walking on, stepping on through the storms, by faith of course. And pardon the bit of random organization to this…prepping for the storm kind of buffeted my prepping for this message.
One of the great helps in every storm or battle of life is to dwell on who you are. Those of you that saw the recent film ‘Overcomer’ remember that a key point of the film was to be clear of your real identity – to be clear about who you are. One of the challenges given to the young girl in the film was to read through the first couple chapters of Ephesians and record all the things God says about our real identity. If you have never done that, you may be surprised, pleasantly surprised, and powerfully surprised. Therefore, we are not going to list them now, since we’ll leave that for you to walk through it. But we will say that once you walk through learning more about your real identity, the better equipped you will be to step through any challenge or storm that comes your way. Actually, the first principle in handling stress or storms in your life is this: Know who you are!
We’ll give you key part of your identity…remember when Jesus was going through the storm of criticisms about who He was, He said: “I and the Father are One!” What a powerful statement! And though we are certainly not part of the Trinity, we belong to the Trinity of God! We actually are in union with God through Jesus Christ. I belong to God. You belong to God.
Plus, remember, we don’t belong to this world. We don’t even belong ‘in’ this world. We belong to be in Heaven with our Heavenly Father. That’s one reason this storm filled world feels so foreign to us. We don’t belong in a world of storms. We are strangers and pilgrims here. Our real Home is Heaven. That’s where we belong?
Also, since we belong to God, whatever or whoever touches us will have to account for that to our God. Think about that, sooner or later, whatever or whoever has troubles us will have to deal with our God about it. And it will be retribution for them and reward for us, for whatever wrong was in our life God will make it right for us. You can count on that. And so right there, that should ease the stress of whatever mess you may have to face or are facing now. God will make it up to you!
Speaking of stress…no matter what kind of storm you will have to face, be it health or safety or financial or a relational storm…wouldn’t it be great to know that nothing can ever happen to you that can stop you from seeking and accomplishing your highest goal? Matt 6:33- “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” KJV No storm of life can mess with God’s things; such as seeking to glorify the Lord, seeking to carry out the Great Commission, and seeking to do the Great Commandment, and seeking to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Savior, and so on. Nothing in this world can stop us from that! And all of that, and any of that is super pleasing to our God. And whatever pleases God will also bless us!
Again, when you are seeking to please your Creator and your King, then nothing or no one can stop you from doing that. Plus, it’s in knowing who you are trying to please that you are then free from the pressures of trying to please others and even yourself. Remember this great truth from the Psalmist? Ps 37:4- “Delight yourself in the Lord; And He will give you the desires of your heart.” NASU Or, the Lord will fill your heart with everything your soul really desires after all; like the fruit of the Spirit. It’s like that full cup that the Psalmist talked about. When God fills your cup, then neither is anything more needed, but also nothing can be taken from you what God has given to you. But we must remember to seek the right things to fill our cup. If we don’t, then of course we will strain under the pressure of things like: Conflicts, like the kinds of conflicts that come from storms and struggles and such. Or we will cave under the pressure of criticisms, since we will be worried about what others think of us, or if others are getting ahead of us, and so on.
So again, seek ye first to please the King first, and in seeking this you’ll find yourself seeking very little else from this world, since your cup will already be full. Remember, it’s hard to tempt or trouble a person who is already full. So let God fill your cup each day with His fruit and you can then face the storms and even the struggles of life already satisfied with everything that really matters anyway. Sometimes we call that: Simplifying your life. It’s really more like ‘satisfying’ your life with the truly ‘significant’ things in life. And those things are things that the storms of life can never take away from you.
And know this: God cares more about everything that you care about more than you can even imagine. Look again at that great passage that we know, but may not know it the way we should know it. 1 Peter 5:6-7- “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” NASU Now let’s expand it even more in the Amplified Version: “Therefore humble yourselves [demote, lower yourselves in your own estimation] under the mighty hand of God, that in due time He may exalt you, Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns… on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully.” AMP
If you are ever tempted to wonder if God cares what you are going through, here is your answer: “He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully.” We may not always understand the works and the ways of God with us, but we can always trust the affection and the care and the heart of God for us.
Remember: Trusting in God’s care for us is the path of deliverance from the cares of this world. Plus, remember what Peter is revealing to us here: that God has promised to carry whatever we care about. ‘Cast you cares on Him for He cares for you…and He even carries your cares.’
You know something? We were never meant to carry our cares with us, alone. God intended us to cast our cares, on Him, or share them with Him, as in ‘yoked’ with Him, remember? Matt 11:28-30- “Then Jesus said, “Come to Me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you. Let Me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” NLT
I can always tell whenever I’ve left the yoke. I can tell by how heavy my burdens are and how hard the pull is. For if I am properly yoked with Jesus, casting my cares upon Him and following His lead in them, then He is doing the heavy lifting and doing the hard pulling, with me walking closely by His side. And this doesn’t mean that we don’t feel the weight of our cares or feel how hard the burdens are; it’s just we are neither crushed nor crumpled under the weight of it all.
Again, whenever the yoke is not easy and the burden is not light, you can know you have left the yoke. Get back in the yoke…link up again with the Lord…cast your cares upon the One who cares even more about your cares than you do and can do more about your cares than you ever could anyway.
So praise God for the fact that no storm can ever change who you are, or change what you’re trying to accomplish, or change who you are trying to please, or change what God has in store for you in the eternal days to come. Those things are all secure from the storms of life. And we can all rest secure in that!