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Refreshment in Refuge

    by Gina Burgess

Hope in the Storm
Date Posted: August 21, 2016

What was your latest storm’s name?

Was it death in the family? Divorce? Financial difficulties? Lost job? Upheaval in your church?

Even one of these things can not only disrupt peace, but can displace your faith if you allow it. I hear your pain because I’ve suffered all of the above several times. Each time Satan tries to destroy my peace and my faith, it only makes them stronger. It certainly didn’t use to be that way. Years ago, I would worry and fret at the least little thing like paying bills with invisible money, or dealing with a husband with a roving eye and lusting spirit.

No. Of course those were not little things. They were very real, burdensome things that wrecked peace in my heart. However, decades later, God has proven over and over that these troubles pass on down the river while He remains my bridge over those troubled waters. As David proclaimed, He is my shield and my deliverer.

Not because of anything that I do, but because He is God. He delivers. He carries me through. He shields. He shatters. He shakes mountains. All of it is for His own glory! Nothing is too big for Him to overcome, or too small for Him to consider. It all matters to Him when it concerns His set apart children.

Thunder crashing, rain pounding, water rising... those are things people pay attention to. If we don't something might happen, something beyond our control, but nevertheless, something bad might happen. Why is that? Why do we fear the things beyond our control?

We have a mighty Creator who stirs up the sea and makes its waves roar (Isaiah 51:15) He has covered us with His hand. He is our LORD and He is mightier than any problem, so why do we tremble allowing Satan to win the battle of our mind? Our greatest lesson is learned during the storm so that our greatest purpose can be fulfilled on the other side of the storm. Satan knows that if he eats up our time -- with worry, fretting, doubt, anxiety, fear -- then we can't do the work God established for us when the foundation of the world was laid.

The trials and travails that Job experienced were not normal to mankind. I know many parents who never lost a child before they died, much less all of them in a freak storm. And it did turn out well for Job... only, he received a lot more grief before the lesson was done. But wait...Job didn't need a lesson, did he?

Job 1:1 There was a man in the land of Uz, his name was Job. And this man was perfect and upright, and fearing God, and turning away from evil.

In fact, later on it says that Job did not sin in what was about to happen. So here we have a righteous man who was about to experience some very bad things. Satan held the spoon stirring up trouble and God allowed it. This is why bad things happen to good people when the good people have done nothing to warrant the bad things. There are some things that are common to man, there are some bad things brought on by poor choices, and sometimes bad things happen because God knows we can handle it gracefully, and that brings God glory.

Oh, LORD, please pick on someone else! Right? I’ve been at that place. I’ve felt my soul so beaten and bruised that I buried under the covers of my bed and didn’t get out until late afternoon. Too sore to do the most commonplace of things. It was a time in my life similar to Job. God was doing things that I had no clue about until months later. How absolutely fascinating that God was answering my prayers and the prayers of my dear church family long before those prayers were ever prayed!

The Sunday School lesson today says that we cannot understand what we are supposed to do if we do not understand what God is telling us. If we do not stop and listen, we won't hear. If we do not resist the fear, worry, anxiety, then we cannot hear for all the noise going on in our hearts. God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and self-control (2 Timothy 1:7).

Fear is that something that can sour the purest of heart. God's grace is given according to our need, and God knows that we are a very needy people with very short memories. Therefore we should be able to count on God’s help. We should know that He will help us to weather storms. But, fear clouds our thinking, and when we start to focus on ourselves rather than on just how big God is compared to our troubles, then Satan wins that battle. We all know that he loses the war, but he has definitely stolen something precious --- our peace. The sad thing is, we allow it.

We should have the mindset of So? Rather than Woe is me! God is mightier than any problem. Something bad happens? So what! My God can handle that. And he has promised to take those burdens off of me. Jesus said come to Me who are heavy laden and I will give you rest. All of God’s promises come to fruition through Jesus! God affirms us, and we are a sure thing in Jesus! There is no waffling with God. His Yes indwells us (2 Corinthians 1:19-21).

That is our hope through the storms of life.

Perhaps the storm is specifically designed for heart tenderization. There's a whole sermon in that sentence. Or perhaps it is the storm that brings the freedom you may be searching for because it is the storm that is breaking the chains to something that is enslaving you. Paul and Silas endured an earthquake which broke their chains. They chose to stay in the prison, and for that reason a family was saved.

He is GOD. He is intensely interested and involved in our well being, just as we parents are interested in our own children's well being. All things do turn out for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose. Embed that promise in your heart, and the great Alpha and Omega will make you steadfast in Him.

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Biography Information:
Gina Burgess has taught Sunday School and Discipleship Training for almost three decades. (Don't tell her that makes her old.) She earned her Master's in Communication in 2013.

She is the author of several books including: When Christians Hurt Christians, The Crowns of the Believers and others available in online bookstores. She authors several columns, using her God-given talent to shine a light in a dark world. You can browse her blog at Refreshment In Refuge.

If you'd like to take a look at some Christian fiction and Christian non-fiction book reviews before the books hit the book store shelves, check out Gina's book reviews at Upon Reflection

Gina is a partner and COO of Common Sense Marketing Strategies, LLC that owns Authors Community and eBookChristian.com
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