Our prayers are with all of the families along the Mississippi River and in the states that have been devastated by the tornadoes and floods this spring.
We do not have the power or privilege of choosing the challenges we will face in life. Damaging storms are not only unpredictable, but unexpected and unwanted. They will continually come far too fast and furiously. God’s holy, written Word is the only unshakable foundation upon which we can build our life, family and future and this firm foundation will withstand every storm. We learn through God’s Word that to all who trust Him, He is the perfect Father, our Rock, Counselor, Comforter, Guide and Friend.
These words were written in 1787:
How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!
What more can He say than to you He hath said,
You, who unto Jesus for refuge have fled?
In every condition, in sickness, in health;
In poverty’s vale, or abounding in wealth;
At home and abroad, on the land, on the sea,
As thy days may demand, shall thy strength ever be.
Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed,
For I am thy God and will still give thee aid;
I’ll strengthen and help thee, and cause thee to stand
Upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand.
When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of woe shall not thee overflow;
For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.
When through fiery trials thy pathways shall lie,
My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply;
The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design
Thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine.
I have faced many storms throughout my life, and as a young boy without a father, it drove me in to the arms of the Father. Jesus said, “I will not leave you as orphans.” God declares that He is “a shelter in the storms.” In all of the pressures of life I have found if I yield to Him in the midst of the storm, He shapes Christ-likeness in me. These verses in Romans 8 have often been a tremendous encouragement to me: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? No. In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
After a “stormy season,” our life may not look the same, but the beauty of divine restoration is that God can use the very circumstances of any losses to teach us, strengthen us, and give us new purpose and meaning. His Word promises, “He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.” Every experience we go through can be used to minister to others. Our Lord does not waste our hurts. Don’t misunderstand: He is not a magic genie who will make all of your problems disappear, but He will be with you every step of the way if you will cling to Him.
In God’s Word we have a living hope. You can know God by consistently reading and studying His written Word. If you don’t, you will miss the joy of building on the firm foundation He has prepared for you. Study His promises. Know them by heart.
Betty used to think that she couldn’t hear God, that she couldn’t really understand the Bible unless she had gone to Bible school or seminary. She thought that because I was a minister I could understand the Bible, but she couldn’t. Think about that deception! It could have kept her from the riches of the Word of God, which is better than gold refined by fire and honey out of a rock.
My wife grasps the Word as well as any college or seminary professor I’ve ever met. Betty was delivered from the fear and doubt the enemy had used to keep her from intimate fellowship with the Father. She shares her wonderful testimony of freedom in our book, Living In Love (which is available at lifetoday.org).She has become one of my greatest sources of inspiration as she shares what she perceives when she reads the Scriptures. My wife also knows that she can hear clearly the voice of God. He communicates with her and He is anxious to communicate with you. The greatest power in the universe, the Creator Himself, is actually seeking an audience with you. He wants to talk to you. He wants you to hear Him and know Him intimately.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart.”