We serve God whether people honor us or despise us, whether they slander us or praise us. We are honest, but they call us impostors. We are well known, but we are treated as unknown. We live close to death, but here we are, still alive. We have been beaten within an inch of our lives. Our hearts ache, but we always have joy. We are poor, but we give spiritual riches to others. We own nothing, and yet we have everything.
2 Corinthians 6:8-10
Friend to Friend
When golf balls were first manufactured, their covers were smooth. Golfers soon discovered that after a ball had been roughed up a bit they were able to get more distance out of it. Manufacturers then began producing golf balls with dimpled covers.
Life is a lot like that.
It takes some rough spots to make us go our farthest.
It takes some storms to teach us that God is faithful and will provide the strength to stand firm.
The Apostle Paul knew all about storms. As a fully devoted follower of Christ, Paul was despised, slandered, mistreated, abused and poor. He had every right to be angry and distressed but instead chose joy. “We own nothing, and yet we have everything.” (2 Corinthians 6:8-10 NLT)
I never fully understood the amazing truth behind Paul’s words because I had never really lived their truth – until 1995 – when I found myself sitting at the bottom of a deep, dark pit. Clinical depression, the psychologist called it. The name was irrelevant to me. All I knew was that it was the most hellish place I had ever been, and I had absolutely no idea how to escape. I was paralyzed and totally helpless – the perfect setting for a miracle!
Sitting at the feet of Jesus, stripped of my human efforts and impotent plans, I discovered the life changing truth that He did not come to eliminate the storms in my life. No – He came to fill those storms with His presence. I was not delivered from that pit until I was delivered in that pit.
Because joy is a deeply rooted confidence that God is in control, it only stands to reason that the highest joy will come through the greatest pain. The greater the pain, the more we are forced to search for and cling to the hand of God. But that only happens when we choose the right attitude toward pain. Here it is.
James 1:2-3 Whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.
When was the last time you threw a party to celebrate the trials and storms in your life? God’s ways are higher than our ways, and most human reactions are in direct opposition to the paradoxical ways of God. Honestly, there are times when what He has asked me to do simply does not make sense – to me. And there we find the problem. Faith is a matter of blind obedience, not human logic.
At the heart of every storm is victory – waiting to be claimed. The words of James offer the perfect backdrop for every life storm.
Our son Jered was a beautiful baby. One Easter I took him to Sears for their annual “Get a million pictures for $2.99” deal. Expecting the studio to be crowded, I was met by one bored photographer thrilled to see his first customers. Jered always loved having his picture taken and put on quite a show. After the advertised special pictures were done, the photographer asked, “Listen, I don’t have any appointments today and really need some new pictures for wall displays. Would you mind if I took more pictures of Jered?” What mother is going to say, “No thank you! I don’t want my child’s face plastered on every wall of this studio?” Not this proud mama! We went to work.
The photographer handed me a box of clothes, asking me to choose several different outfits for Jered. First came the tuxedo. No – I am not kidding you. The photographer pulled down a silver backdrop, making Jered’s curly, black hair stand out and his blue eyes dance. Next came the blue snowsuit against a red backdrop. With every backdrop, Jered’s appearance changed – and an eternal truth lodged in my heart.
As daughters of the King, we have a different backdrop for every life experience. It is a manger – a cruel cross – an empty tomb – and eternity itself. That backdrop changes everything. It makes our hearts sing and our souls dance with the truth that we can always count on His joy in us to face the storms around us!
Girlfriend, what storm is raging in your life today? What step do you need to take in order to experience His strength for that storm? Your Father stands ready to meet you in your darkest hour. He longs to wrap His arms around you until the winds die down and the waves are stilled. Right now – surrender. Yield to His presence and power. Celebrate the storm that dashed your battered life on the shores of His unyielding love.
Father, I am so tired of trying to face storms on my own. I need a new backdrop for my life. Today, I choose victory. I am going to count on You to provide the strength I need for every trial and every difficult circumstance. I am taking one tiny step of faith, trusting You to meet me there.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
What storm are you facing today? Choose to step out in faith and trust God to deliver you. What does that look like in your life? Record your thoughts in your journal. Take time to praise God for what He is about to do.
More from the Girlfriends
What does it mean to trust God? What would your life look like if you were walking by faith and trusting God with your whole heart? The 10-Day Trust Adventure addresses every decision you make in every area of your life – including your past and future, your family and friendships, your finances and work – and how to make those decisions as you step out in faith and really trust God.