I think we all will reach a point in our lives when we ask ourselves, “Does God know what He’s doing? Does God actually love us?”
That’s because we all face storms in life. In fact, I believe there are three kinds of storms we’ll experience as Christians: perfecting storms, protecting storms, and correcting storms.
Perfecting storms are trials and hardships in life that God allows us to go through. Sometimes these events seem random, but they never are. We know from Romans 8:28 that “all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (NKJV).
The Bible also promises, “For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever” (2 Corinthians 4:17–18 NLT).
So if you’re looking at trouble right now, if you’re in the middle of a storm, just remember that it won’t last forever. Something will come out of it: an immeasurably great glory.
After Jesus performed His miracle of feeding the five thousand, the disciples faced a protecting storm. The people wanted to make Jesus their king, so He immediately told His disciples to get into a boat and go to the other side of the Sea of Galilee.
Let’s notice this detail: “Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side” (Matthew 14:22 NKJV, emphasis added).
Jesus didn’t order them to get into the boat so they would drown in the middle of the Sea of Galilee. Nor did He promise them calm waters. But they did reach the other side.
The storm the disciples faced that day actually protected them from themselves. God knew that if they had ruled and reigned over the people with Jesus as king, the adulation, praise, and power would have certainly destroyed them. So He protected them.
Does it ever seem to you as though you’re all alone in your storm and that God can’t see you? Nothing escapes His attention. Proverbs 15:3 says, “The eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good” (NKJV).
Jesus was watching the disciples. He was interceding for them.
Lastly, there are correcting storms, which is the type of storm the prophet Jonah went through. He brought this storm on himself when he refused to do what God told him to do. So God sent a correcting storm because He loved Jonah.
It’s hard for us to believe that because He loves us, God would allow a hardship in our lives. It seems that He’d want to protect His children from all difficulties. But remember, God wants us to mature in our faith. And one of the marks of God’s love for us is discipline.
My wife, Cathe, and I raised two sons: Jonathan and his older brother, Christopher, who is in Heaven. Now, Christopher was always getting into trouble. I would tell him not to do something, and then two minutes later (or so it seemed), he’d do the very thing that I told him to stop doing.
On the other hand, I could tell Jonathan not to do something just once, and he’d pretty much obey. Of course, I may have been a little overboard with Christopher. As someone has pointed out, all parents owe their first child an apology.
But just as our children are different, God’s children are different too. With some, God can simply say, “Don’t do that,” and they won’t. With others, God says, “Don’t do that,” and they just keep on doing it.
David wrote in Psalm 23, “Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me” (verse 4 NKJV). A shepherd basically had two tools that he carried with him in those days: a rod and a staff. The staff was a long, crooked instrument they used to pull a wayward sheep back in line. The rod is self-explanatory. It was a club.
The shepherd used the rod to defend his sheep if a predator came along, but he had other uses for it as well. He used the staff for the wayward sheep, but if there was one sheep that kept going astray, the shepherd may have used the rod to give the sheep a little whack and get his attention.
In the same way, a wayward Jonah needed something to get his attention. So God sent a perfecting storm. However, when God disciplines us, it isn’t to repay us for our disobedience but to get us back into fellowship with Him. It’s to restore us.
Here’s what we need to know: Ultimately, as Christians, we’ll live happily ever after, but there might be some rough seas along the way. Jesus said, “In this world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 NKJV).
Storms are inevitable, and as a Christian, you will learn through storms and experience great victories. And really, which would you rather have: A nice, easy flight and a crash landing or a bumpy flight and a safe landing?
I would like a safe landing myself.
Yet it seems as though some people in life experience no suffering at all, while others seem to go through more than their share of suffering.
Why is this?
I don’t know. But I do know this: There is more than just life on this earth. There’s eternity. And for non-Christians, life on earth is as good as it will get. But for followers of Jesus Christ, life on earth is as bad as it ever will be. For Christians, the best is yet to come.
So don’t run from God; run to Him. He loves you. And His plans for you are better than your plans for yourself.
Learn more about Pastor Greg Laurie.
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This article was originally published at WND.com.