When The Wind Blows Against You
Most of the time those changes come upon us without any warning or foresight. Sometimes the change is dramatic and traumatic. The phone call at 3 am in the morning. The police officers standing at your front door. The teenage child that didn’t come home last night. The lump that was indeed cancerous. The news that your company is “downsizing. In such cases life becomes forever defined in terms of “before” and “after.” Everything we knew and were before the change happened is swept away in the aftermath of life’s seemingly inexplicable tragedies. For those of you who have been in that place, you understand the pain, the struggle, and the turmoil. If you’re not careful, the rest of your life can become a matter of trying to adjust to such an unexpected and unwelcome change.
But through it all time marches on. The tragedy doesn’t stop the clock. The hands just keep on ticking. Sure, in those seasons of adversity we might shutdown. We might stop. Mentally we detach. Physically we deteriorate. Emotionally we breakdown. And spiritually we disconnect. The pain moves us to a place where we build walls and lock everyone out. The hurt is so great, the despair is so pronounced that we feel suffocated in a cloud of fear, worry, and confusion. In our time of trouble we push away the very ones who care most for us. We become isolated. We act as if we are alienated. And we imagine we have been abandoned… by love, by life, by hope, and even by God Himself.
I think most of you who are reading this right now have probably been there at some point in your life. Hard times are no respecter of persons. Pain and problems come to us all. The storms of life touch everyone one of us at some point. No one is exempt. No. Not one.
So… what do you do when the wind blows against you? What do you do when the flood waters of adversity begin to rise? When the rain of disappointment becomes a torrential downpour? When the sunlight of hope has vanished and all of your expectations have been extinguished? What do you do when the wind howls and screams?
Let me offer us all a few words of caution and encouragement from a familiar story (you can find it at Matthew 7:24-27):
- Before the storm… Determine to build a firm foundation of faith in your life. Even the largest of homes is only as strong as the foundation. Too many times we focus our energy and efforts on the passing pleasures of this world. We ignore building ourselves up in the faith. My advice? Start now. Don’t wait for the storm to hit.
- Before the storm… Listen to the words of God. God’s Word is unshakable. Like rebar it reinforces and strengthens every area of our life.
- Before the storm… Learn to walk in obedience. Look at the text again. Both people built homes. Both people heard the words of Jesus. Both people encountered the storm. But the ending turned out very differently for the two of them. One lost everything. The other survived. The only discernible difference in the text is that one person obeyed (acted on the things he heard). Become a person who walks in obedience and you will be a person who can weather any storm.
- During the storm… Stay in the safety of the house. Too often, when the wind starts to blow against us, we abandon the place of refuge. Faith doesn’t exempt us from the storm. Faith was meant to carry us through the storm. When all hell breaks loose in your life, stay put. Hold fast to you faith. Hold fast to your God.
- After the storm… Stop. I want you to go back and reread that last part. In fact, read it out loud. AFTER THE STORM!!! We forget that there is an “after.” The storm is not eternal. Yes, it may well feel that way at the moment. But it will eventually end. The rain will stop. The wind will die down. And the sun will shine in your life again. Life goes one. Life continues. After the storm has ended we keep living.
Granted, by the time the storm ends your house might be destroyed (especially if you ignored those “before” and “during” items). But even if that’s the case, you can still take heart. Why? Because God loves to build on the ruins. What has been broken can be fixed. What has been devastated can be made whole. What has been lost can be found. As long as there is still breath in your lungs, it’s not too late. It’s not too late for you. And it’s NEVER too late for God. There is life after the storm.