Today’s post is part of a series I am publishing monthly, Sisters in Spirit.
Sisters in Spirit is a series of blog posts by a group of women who felt that a spiritual perspective was lacking from the steady stream of news and information that flowed through their daily lives. They each agreed to carve out a space on their blogs on a monthly basis for a spiritual conversation. The topic this month is: Praising God in the Storm.
It is easy to praise God when you are being held in your husbands arms or staring your healthy baby boy in the eyes as you rock him to sleep. Praising God is natural when you’re financially stable and cancer free.
But life isn’t always so kind.
What happens when you’re high-school sweetheart decides after almost 20 years of being together that he wants a divorce?
Or when you don’t get to celebrate the 1 year birthday of your baby boy because he was unable to breathe on his own and it was time to take him off life support?
How do you praise God when you’re fridge is empty because you didn’t have enough left over after the paycheck to get groceries?
Where are the hallelujah’s when you’re told you have a rare form of cancer and you’re in your early thirties with 3 young kiddos and a wife?
I personally know someone who either is or has been in those situations. They are real. They are heart breaking. They are hard. How do you thank God in these times? How does your heart utter joy and thanksgiving under the weight of life’s storms?
Just like real storms, life storms require us to act, not just react. Here are 3 ways we can praise God in any storm of life:
1. Prepare by having a strong foundation. The book of James says, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.“ When you meet trials. It is going to happen. Trials will come. Prepare yourself for these by building your foundation on Christ and His word. Accept the truth that God will never leave you or forsake you. No matter what the environment around you looks like. Shield yourself with scripture and repeat truth to yourself so that you have a fortress of truth guarding your heart and mind. If you prepare for the storm, it can’t take you by surprise, no matter what kind of storm it is. Praise God for equipping you to enter a storm!
2. Take shelter with godly company. In the midst of trials you should surround yourself with godly people who will first and foremost pray for and with you. Additionally they can speak truth to you when your heart betrays you and your weatherproofing. If you have godly people surrounding you in the time of a trial, it will be easier for them to lift you up than it will be for you to drag them down. Press in to those relationships, give an honest report of where you are at, and stay connected to your Christian community. When your foundation feels like it is cracking and failing you, true Christian fellowship is the glue that will hold you together. “You are safer with God in the middle of a storm, than you are anywhere else without Him.” Praise God for bringing people in to your life who offer you love and support – you don’t have to weather a storm alone!
3. Anticipate the sunshine, every storm has an end. Storms won’t last forever, but in the midst of trials, having hope for the future can seem daunting at the least and impossible at the most. If all you’re left with is broken pieces, have hope because God WILL take the broken pieces and turns them into something beautiful. God doesn’t always calm the storms, sometimes he calms His child. Hold on tight to what you know and get through each day, hour, minute and second. His plan is for our good, no matter what. Keep your eyes focused on Jesus and he will take you through the storm and nothing can separate you from him. “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39) Praise God that when all is stripped away you still have Him!
There is always, always, always something to be thankful for. I praise God for trials because without them I might (and do) take for granted the times I have it easy. But I don’t want to just have it easy. I want to be a skillful sailor who navigates the sea of life under the helm of the Almighty. Therefore I need storms to fulfill my calling, to cling close to God.
It’s not how you start that matters, but rather how you finish.
What can you praise God for today?
I hope you continue this conversation by reading and commenting other perspectives on Christianity with my other Sisters in Spirit. Become part of the conversation:
Kelli Donley is the liberal, all-loving United Methodist. She is a novelist and a public health advocate. She and her dog Willie Nelson Mandela can often be found on the trails of the foothills in Colorado where they live. She dreams of writing a series of books from the perspective of the women in the Bible. She blogs at: www.africankelli.com
Sarah is municipal attorney, mom to a toddler boy, and United Methodist’s pastor’s wife. (She does not play the organ.) She is a life-long Missouri girl with a heart for hospitality and social justice. Sarah enjoys cooking, running, knitting and embroidery, reading, and playing in the sprinkler. Sarah blogs atwww.beautyschooldropout.net