How to Overcome When the Storms of Life Are Raging

by | May 22, 2017 | Encouraging | 9 comments

 

 “ I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth, you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33 (NLT)

When I was younger my family pretty much lived at the beach.

My dad loved to surf, so while he was off riding the waves, my sister and I would have fun playing in the water.

One day while swimming, a strong current picked up and started pulling me out to sea.

Every frantic stroke I swam against it seemed to lead me further and further out into the endless deep.

Before long, I was far away from the safety of the shore and starting to swallow more and more water.

Gasping for air, I thought this was it for me.

But just when I thought I was going to die, something remarkable happened.

In a split second, everything changed.

A lifeguard came out of nowhere, pulled me out of the raging deep water, and saved my life.

God reminded me that even when I believe that it’s impossible…truly nothing is impossible for Him. (Matthew 19:26)

Are You Walking On the Water or Sinking Beneath It?

Looking back on the whole experience got me thinking about the Christian life.

The world you live in is like the ocean and the forces of darkness are like the ocean’s current.

The path you’re walking down leads to life everlasting in heaven.

But the opposition you’ll face along the way is trying to pull you away from God and His plans for you.

It’s trying to pull you back down into the mire clay God pulled you out of when you surrendered your life to Him.

It’s trying to pull you away from God’s truth into a sea of lies and deception.

And it’s ultimately trying to sink you beneath the waves God has called you to walk upon.

The truth is, in this life, you will have many trials and sorrows.

You will face opposition.

You will face adversity.

You will face persecution.

And you will have trouble in this world.

Are they servants of Christ? I know I sound like a madman, but I have served Him far more! I have worked harder, been put in prison more often, been whipped times without number, and faced death again and again.

“Five different times the Jewish leaders gave me thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked. Once I spent a whole night and a day adrift at sea.

“I have traveled on many long journeys. I have faced danger from rivers and from robbers. I have faced danger from my own people, the Jews, as well as from the Gentiles. I have faced danger in the cities, in the deserts, and on the seas. And I have faced danger from men who claim to be believers but are not. 

“I have worked hard and long, enduring many sleepless nights. I have been hungry and thirsty and have often gone without food. I have shivered in the cold, without enough clothing to keep me warm…”

– 2 Corinthians 11:23-27

The Apostle Paul is a perfect example of this.

He was on fire for Jesus but suffered long and hard until he was ultimately martyred and put to death.

So you see, life here on earth isn’t going to be completely perfect 24-7.

But that doesn’t mean even time a trial comes you throw in the towel and quit.

You must finish the race God has called you by name to run.

Not in your strength, of course, but through His. (See Phil. 4:13)

That’s why Jesus says, (in my words of course)

“Yes, I know you’re going through a hard time right now. But I’ve got this! I want you to come to Me…give all of your cares and concerns to Me, and trust in Me with all of your heart.”

So when you feel like you’re drowning in life, don’t worry.

Never lose hope no matter how hopeless it seems.

Similar to the lifeguard that saved my life when I was a child, Jesus is a lifeguard for you.

Your lifeguard who walks on water.

Be Strong & Courageous, Not Feeble & Afraid

By far one of my favorite characters in the Bible is Joshua.

You know the story, Joshua was next in line to lead the children of Israel into the promised land after Moses died.

Now, this wasn’t an easy task, to say the least.

I’m sure he felt unqualified and uncomfortable about his ability to lead this huge group of people successfully.

We know this because in Joshua chapter 1 alone the words, “be strong and courageous” are repeated to him by God four times!

Now you wouldn’t tell that to someone totally confident and sure of himself would you?

No, you would tell that to someone unsure and afraid.

Someone who was doubting their abilities and not courageous at all.

So God is assuring Joshua that he can do all things with His help.

He is reminding him that He’s not leading the children of Israel all alone.

He will go before him and give them victory.

He will make him successful by enabling him to accomplish the task at hand.

And ultimately He will cross them over into the promised land.

The same goes for you and whatever God has placed before you.

Can you honestly say you’re completely brave and courageous?

Or, are waves of doubt drowning out God’s promises to you?

If so, then the same message God spoke over Joshua’s life is speaking over your’s today.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

Remember, God uses the foolish things of this world to confound the wise. (1 Cor. 1:27)

He’s chosen the weak things of this world to put to shame the things which are mighty.

And, He doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called.

Are You Under the Shelter of His Wings?

“Because You have been my help, therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice. My soul follows close behind You; Your right hand upholds me.” – Psalm 63:7-8

There is an incredible story of a mother bird keeping her little chicks safe from a massive mountain fire.

When the rangers found these birds, they found the mother with her wings spread out.

She was sheltering her helpless little babies from the smoke by providing enough oxygen for them to breathe.

The mother bird gave her life for her baby chicks because, in the process of saving their lives, she unfortunately lost hers.

God spoke to my heart through this story because that is exactly what He has done and is doing for every single one of us.

God sent His Son Jesus to die in your place.

To bear your sins and pay a price you could never pay.

When you abide in Him, you too will be protected from the enemy.

You will find a safe hideaway.

You will find shelter from the wickedness in this world and the evil all around you.

And help for when the waves seem to keep crashing over you.

Key Takeaway

“For the Lord your God is He who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.” – Deuteronomy 20:4

Even though you will experience seasons of difficulty.

And as a follower of Jesus Christ, your story has a very happy ending.

That’s because your life here on earth is only temporary!

One day you will reach your final destination in heaven where all of your tears will be wiped away forever. ( Rev. 21:4)

And even though God never promised you smooth sailing through life.

He did promise to never leave you all alone to fend for yourself. (Deut. 31:6)

He’s walking through this life with you every single step of the way.

So keep your head held high and rest securely in the loving arms of your Jesus.

He is your refuge and your strength.

He is your very present help in times of need. (Psalm 46:1)

And He will give you victory over the wiles of the enemy.

Cast all of your cares and concerns at the foot of His cross because He cares for you. (1 Peter 5:7)

He cares about your going out and your coming in.

He cares about the tears you cry and the pain deep within the depths of your heart.

He cares about your hopes, dreams, hearts desires, and the struggles you’re facing.

And He hasn’t forgotten about you.

Some days you may feel overburdened.

Some days you may feel drained.

But don’t give up.

Don’t ever believe the enemies’ lies that say no one cares about you and you’re all alone.

Because the truth is—you’re not!

The truth is, yes, in this world you will have tribulations.

But you are to take heart and be of good cheer because your Jesus has overcome the world!

So no matter what you’re going through, today is the day for you to rejoice in His presence.

Today is the day to rest in His perfect peace.

And today is the day to walk on the water.

“I have heard You calling my name
I have heard the song of love that You sing
So I will let You draw me out beyond the shore
Into Your grace…

You make me brave
You make me brave
You call me out beyond the shore into the waves
You make me brave
You make me brave
No fear can hinder now the love that made a way…”

 – Amanda Cook “You Make Me Brave”

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Study Verses: Isaiah 41:10, Psalm 18, Matthew 14:22-33

9 Comments

  1. Dexter

    I am struggling with fear and stress over the last 7 months. I believe that if I dont please people they would stay away from. To me, this was never so 7 months ago.

    I am 55 yrs and was always able to handle stressful situations. This I am seeing is no longer so.

    Sleeping has become difficult, decreased confidence in myself, wanting to around people all the time etc. These people always looked up to me for advice and guidance. They dtill do to an extent, but I feel I am not able to all the time.

    There are people who have tried to put me down recently and I have taken on this. This was something in the past I would of easily walked away from and never bother about it. But now I take it on. Dont know why.

    I always enjoyed being with me but now its a struggle. Cant seem to relax or even watch a movie, which I previously loved to do alone.

    I am retiring from a very stressful job this month where I spent 32 yrs. I hope to find some peace and therefore less fear in this regard.

    I am divorced and have 2 adult children.

    I am hoping to practice what has been shared with me from you above. Sometimes I feel like I have overcomed the situation only for it to reappear in a short while. My confidence is jolted and always fearing that something nogative is going to hit me.

    I want to start back sleeping comfortable as I did 12-months ago. I have lost 25lbs and everyone compliments me on how best I look now in the last 10yrs. I want to re-discover my confidence and stop worrying what people has done or said to me to bring me down.

    I am hoping to practice the advice and testimony you have shared above going forward from now. I am going to try to sleep now. Its daytime in my country.

    Please review

    May God continue to bless you

  2. Amanda Estrada

    Thank you so much for your reply and sharing what’s going on in your life right now Dexter. I am so sorry you’re going through so much. =[ Please know though that God loves you and has a plan for you in the midst of all that’s going on. My heart definitely goes out to you because I’m struggling too! It’s so easy for me to tell others to be encouraged and keep the faith but honestly, sometimes, I struggle in taking my own advice! I think that no matter how mature you are in the Lord, there will just be those seasons when your faith is tested and you’re going through difficulties. Whether it be regarding the opinions of others, work stress, finances, relationships, depression, or whatever…we will all experience forms of it at some point or another because we’re all human.

    Even Peter wrote in 1 Peter 4:12-13, “Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.”

    So we know that inevitably all of us will fall down…but the key is to not stay down…and how you get back up again is by relying on Jesus’ strength not your own. I know it’s easier said than done, but it’s during these times when your faith is being tested that you’re truly dependent on Him the most, and you are actually being molded more and more into His image.

    Think about it. If life was completely perfect and there weren’t any cares in the world…how many people would cling to, pray to, and depend on Jesus? So you see, It’s during the struggles and difficulties that our faith really comes to life so to speak because we’re reminded of our frailty. We’re reminded that we’re not perfect and this world is not perfect and it will never be perfect because we are not in heaven yet. That is our hope of glory. That is what give us the ability in this life to keep pressing on no matter what! Because as Christians, we know the best is yet to come. We are assured of our salvation that one day we will be in heaven walking down streets of gold with Jesus forever and ever! That is how we’re able to endure such hard times in this world because we have that eternal perspective…knowing that this place is not our eternal home and also that right now in this life…we are not alone. God is walking thru all the ups and downs with us giving us all we need to get thru whatever comes our way.

    So during the times we’re stressed, depressed, anxious, or afraid…are the opportunities we are actually blessed with because we get to turn to Jesus. We get to see His almighty hand turn things around and perform modern day miracles in our lives we’d otherwise never see. We get to experience His peace, comfort, help, hope, answered prayers, fulfilled promises, and supernatural power that again we’d otherwise never experience if there was no need for them in in our lives.

    Personally speaking, I woke up today really depressed. I didn’t want to get out of bed or do anything. I came to work with a bad attitude and just wanted to go home. Lol. But then I prayed and started reading my Bible and God started to encourage me and lift me back up again. So I want to in turn encourage you Dexter. Right now you’re in a difficult season but this season will not last forever I promise you. Take this as an opportunity to draw closer to God than ever before through prayer, reading His Word, and choosing to truly give it all over to Him. When you lay a care or concern down…don’t pick it back up again. Allow God to mature you and grow you during these times, and trust in Him completely. It may not be easy but it will be effective. =] I am praying for you! Romans 8:28 for you!

    In Him, Amanda

  3. Dexter

    Hi Amanda

    Thanks for your inspirational response.

    Actually I just saw it. Maybe today is the day it was meant for me to see and read.

    I have always believed what you have said above and was able to address those challenges.

    It has become a bit difficult doing that now but I am truly sure that this is a must season for me and that the best is to come at the start of the new season. I will be better equipped to face even stronger challenges.

    I have seen a lot of improvement in my family life with my siblings and I have been praying for this change for a long time.

    I believe that things will improve but patience, faith and being able to relax is necessary in this regard.

    Sincere Blessings

    Dexter

  4. Amanda Estrada

    Amen Dexter! =]

    That’s exactly what you need to do…keep walking by faith, praying, and trusting God 100%. I’m glad to hear you’re doing better and that you’re praying fervently for your family and the situation at hand. God will come through for you! I just know it! =] God bless you and thank you so much again for your comments and sharing what you’re going through. Know that we’re praying for you and everything going on too!! =]

    James 5:16 for you!

    In His Grace,

    Amanda

  5. BobAlone

    Dexter, what a blessing to find this site, and Amanda’s godly joy. I am going through my own crushing difficulties right now, and while my situation is not like yours, I can identify with much of what you said. Because of James 5:16 (as Amanda just provided), and Matthew 18:19, I will add more prayer to hers, and ask for prayers for myself and my wife.

  6. Dexter

    Amanda/Bob

    Thanks for your words suggested prayers.

    I also prayer that you all be blessed and all your present challenges be be answered positively through faith, patience and prayer.

    May God always look over us and bless us

    Goodnite

  7. Tony

    I love the story about men who are not afraid to share their faith in Jesus Christ. We should always stand for Christ and the Flag. To many men have died for this for this great country and may God always keep his hand on this Great Nation. Thank You for your Son, who was willing to go to the Cross. Father we love you and Praise Your Name.

  8. Amanda Estrada

    Amen Tony! thank you so much for your comment! =]

  9. Benjamin Bennett CCFTL 30 years

    Love this outpouring of faith and thanks for God’s grace!

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