Dear Ministry Partner,
We often face stormy weather in life. This could be in the form of job insecurity amid a gloomy economy, battles with health issues or challenges in our relationship with others. Sometimes the unexpected happens to us or our loved ones and our faith is shaken. We ask, “Why did this happen, Lord?”
The storms of life can rattle our peace and cause us to feel anxious. It is so easy to lose our perspective when “the wind did not allow us to hold our course” (Acts 27:7). In the book of Acts, Paul’s journey to Rome was buffeted by fierce storms. The crew was fearful and wondered if they could make it to Rome. Paul stood up before them and said:
“Last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me and said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.’ So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me.” – Acts 27:23-25 (NIV)
When we face the storms of life, how do we keep up our courage?
Firstly, we must affirm our identity as a child of God. It is not who I am, but whose I am that matters most. We belong to the sovereign God who knows what we are going through. Acknowledging our birthright shifts our focus on ourselves and circumstances to God.
Secondly, we may feel lonely when we face life’s storms. However, we are not alone. Paul experienced the presence of God in the midst of the turbulent storm, “[God] whom I serve stood beside me”. Our external world may be falling apart, but God’s assuring presence gives us the needed courage and strength to weather any storm. The moment He shows up and says, “It is I”, our every fear will be calmed.
Thirdly, we must recognise that storms accomplish God’s purpose in our lives. Paul testified before Caesar and proclaimed the gospel to Rome, but not before experiencing the raging storms of doubt and fear. Storms are part of God’s necessary faith-strengthening and character-building curriculum so that we can accomplish His purpose for our lives.
The next time you face life’s storms, keep calm and take courage in God.
Lam Kok Hiang