Persevering Through the Storms of Life

In today’s bible study, we take a look at persevering through the storms of life. We do not have to be afraid or overwhelmed of the storms that we face.

Listen to today’s bible study

My brother suggested doing a bible study on a common question:  How do you persevere through the storms of life?  All of us deal with storms in our life, right? The thing is, we have gone through storms and made it through storms in our life. How did you make it? How did you persevere?  In our first Bible study of the new year, I want to focus on persevering through the storms of life.

When I was preparing this study, it came during a time when I was actually working on the sermon – The Drought Buster.  This study should be a great companion to that sermon so, if you wish, check out that sermon after going through this bible study. 

Let’s start off by answering a few questions.  First question: how do you feel about storms of nature, in general?  Second question:  what are the storms that you are currently facing in your life?  Third question:  how do you currently deal with the storms that you are facing? I want you to answer these questions before you continue reading this study.

We have been conditioned to be terrified about storms.  We know the potential of what storms can do and the damage that they can cause. For example, the major hurricanes from last year caused damage and brought about flooding.  We don’t see storms as a good thing, do we? 

I am one of the few people who, however, that actually love a good thunderstorm.  I sometimes go underneath my covered porch and watch and listen to storms as they come in.  I realized a long time ago that storms are a much-needed function of nature. Because we need the rain, I learned how to be less annoyed by storms and appreciate them.

Photo credit to National Geographic – nationalgeographic.com

If there were no storms, the land would miss out on the rain that the storms produce and the land would dry up. Vegetation would dry up, farmers would not be able to grow a good crop which would end up leading to the loss of life. The animals, cows, for example, would be unable to eat any vegetation and would starve to death. There would be no meat for us that love to eat meat, and there would be no vegetables for those that love to eat vegetables. So, while the storm may cause hazardous driving, flooding, and even tear down our houses – we actually need the storms to survive.

We have learned how to not be so afraid of the thunder or lightning, right?  We appreciate the falling rain even though it may annoy us.  We’ve learned how to predict with incredible accuracy where storms will form and go.  Most importantly, we have learned how to respect the storm and do whatever is necessary to withstand/survive the storms. We have learned how to persevere through those storms.

Facing the storms

What we must do is change our perspective on the nature of the spiritual storms that we face in our life.  Sadness, depression, grief, hurt, lost, and some would even consider lack of finances to be a storm.  Are these storms scary?  Yes, definitely.  Can these storms destroy you?  This is our great fear. We fear that these storms will get the best of us and ultimately overwhelm and destroy us. However, these storms, if you are of genuine faith, cannot do anything to you.  I want to show you what Jesus said about these storms of life.

In chapter 7 of Matthew, Jesus talks on a range of subjects including: judging others (v.1-6), seeking Him (v.7-12), and building on a solid rock (v.24-29).  Jesus says this in Matthew 7:24:

24 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock:

Matthew 7:24 NKJV

Notice that Jesus says, “whoever hears these sayings of ‘His’, and does them”.  So, in other words, Jesus is talking about the obedient believer.

25 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.

Matthew 7:25 NKJV

Pay very close attention to what Jesus says in this scripture.  Jesus tells us about the storms we will face in life.  I want you to notice very closely that Jesus doesn’t say anything about life being easy for the obedient believer.  Jesus tells us that there’s going to be rain, there’s going to be floods, and there’s going to be wind that blows as well.  Jesus, I want you to understand, is not talking about a storm of nature but spiritual storms.

The most important part of what Jesus says here is what happened to the house that the obedient believer built.  The house, Jesus says, withstood the rain, the floods, and the winds – it did not fall!  Why did the house not fall?  Because the house was built on the rock and that rock is Jesus.  Understand that, your house is your faith and your faith should be built on Christ.  If you build your house with Christ being your foundation, that house will be able to withstand any storm that life can throw at you.

Notice that Jesus then says this:

26 “But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: 27 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”

Matthew 7:26-27 NKJV

Sadly, we hear about many people who are unable to beat their demons.  The storms that they face in their life have overwhelmed and their house fell. The reason why their house fell was that there was little faith that they could persevere through the storm. Too many people are building their faith on shaking foundation instead of on a sturdy foundation.

Jesus likened those who would hear His sayings but not obey them to a foolish man that built his house on sand. You see, sand is not a good foundation to build on. Sand, in this case, could be anything that’s not Jesus Christ. There are people that put their faith in astrology, wealth, people, etc. When it starts to storm in their life, they first turn to those things and hope for those things to bring them through the storms they face. This is a terrible decision to make – choosing those things over the Lord.

Joy in the storm?

We don’t want to necessarily go through spiritual storms, but there is absolutely no dodging these storms. We may be able to run from a hurricane that nature produces but these spiritual storms are something that we cannot dodge. What I do want to say is that these storms (just like in nature) can be very useful to us in our growth.

There are plenty of people who have overcome a storm in their life that is now able to teach about how they overcame.  For example, there are people who have gone through depression that are far better at being able to speak on depression than I would because that’s a storm I haven’t really dealt with. There are some people who have gone through a mental disability that they have overcome and can speak about and teach about as well.

There is a blessing in the storm that we must acknowledge. Let’s take a look at what James, the half-brother of Jesus, said in his book. James tells us that we should count it joy when we are tried (tested).

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces [a]patience.

James 1:2-3 NKJV

This is a very interesting thought, right? We should “count in joy” in our various trials (tests – storms) instead of being terrified, afraid, frustrated, or mad.  James says, again, to joy in our grief, depression, mental health, physical health, and sadness.  We should joy in our failures, our losses, and our hurt. When we are at our absolute lowest point, and that storm is raging on in our life, we should joy, James said.

Weeping may endure for a night,

but joy comes in the morning

PSalm 30:5

In most cases, we begin to panic when it seems the storm is starting to pick up and rage on in our life. Panicking is the worst thing that you or I can do when it begins to storm. When we panic, we cannot think straight. We make our spiritual storms much worse because we decide to do something rash in our panic. For example, we’ll go out into the storm because we believe we can drive through the storm and we have to get somewhere.  Our first instinct is to get out and fight the storm. 

However, I tell you that our best bet is to learn how to wait out the storm in our faith.  Remember your house is built on the rock of Jesus and that house withstands the storm. So, in a way, your house is a fortress that can protect you from the storm. David said that the Lord was his fortress and his rock (Ps. 18:2). I don’t know about you, but I rather take refuge in my fortress of faith in the Lord than try to go out into the storms of life.

Sometimes, storms can sneak up on us, right? You know, there are times when we can get a hint that a storm is coming because we can smell the rain in the air. However, there are times when we miss the weather report and get fooled by the sunshine, then the next thing you know it’s storming. Let’s take a look at something that takes place in the Bible involving Jesus and His disciples during a storm. 

Be calm and wait on Him

The gospels (Matthew 8, Luke 8) record an event when Jesus and the disciples were on a boat during a storm (tempest – wind storm). We are told that the storm was a terrible storm (Matthew 8:24):

24 And suddenly a great tempest arose on the sea, so that the boat was covered with the waves. But He was asleep.

Matthew 8:24 NKJV

The waves were not only beating against the boat, but they were covering (filling) the boat (Luke 8:23).  Notice what Jesus was doing during this terrible storm – He was sleeping.  Many people suspects that the Lord sleeps during their storm, but we will take a look at that thought in a moment.

How do you imagine the disciples were during this storm?

25 Then His disciples came to Him and awoke Him, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!”

Matthew 8:25 NKJV

Notice the exclamation marks in the grammar of the New King James Version. I tell you, the disciples were in a full-blown panic!  They were absolutely terrified of a storm that Jesus (God in the flesh) was sleeping through! 

Like the disciples, we become so worried that the storms in our life will destroy us.  I am going to speculate that the disciples may have even been frustrated that Jesus was sleeping during this storm.  Can you imagine being on a boat with Jesus and there’s a terrible storm?  You’d probably be wondering to yourself, “where is He/why isn’t He here right now?” 

I am also going to speculate that the disciples, who were fisherman by trait, were probably doing everything they could to withstand the storm before they went to wake Jesus. Let’s imagine that some of the disciples, when the storm began to stir, probably felt they didn’t need Jesus for the storm. However, the storm got worse and these expert fishermen began to panic as the boat filled with water. It took until the boat began to fill with water for these expert fishermen to finally go and wake Jesus.

Again this is merely my speculation, but I must ask the question if indeed this was what happened. Why not wake Jesus at the start of the storm? Some of us try to brave the storm without ever calling on the Lord for help and that’s a mistake.

Many of us get upset with the Lord because we believe that the Lord is sleeping during the storms in our life.  We believe that the Lord is going to allow the storm to destroy us and so we get in a panic not knowing what to do.  Why would the Lord want you to be destroyed?  You’re one of His children, a genuine believer, so why would God want you to be destroyed?  Consider that nothing can destroy you but the Lord and He will not destroy you because you are His (Deut 4:31).

Now, watch Jesus in this next scripture after the disciples come and wake Him:

26 But He said to them, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.

Matthew 8:26 NKJV

Jesus wakes from His sleep and calms the storm because He is Lord. Some will say, “well, if He’s God, why was He sleep during this storm?” Let’s remember that Jesus was in the flesh and our flesh gets tired. When we get tired, don’t we try to get some sleep?

Jesus is no longer in the flesh, He’s now with the Father in heaven – God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Jesus is still supernatural and still in control. Yes, the storm that Jesus calmed was a physical storm but He holds this same power over the spiritual storms that we face. 

How do we persevere through the spiritual storm?  Let us not panic or be anxious, and let us not wait to turn to Jesus until the storm is raging in our life.

Paul said:

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God

Philippians 4:6 NKJV

I honestly feel that we, the believer, should strive to be Christ-like during the storms we face in our life.  We should not be like a petulant child that wants to go outside and play but it keeps storming outside.  Jesus was so calm and so relaxed, so full of faith, that He was unbothered by the raging storm.  You will say, “He’s God, of course, He’s going to be calm!” 

We are to be Christ-like in all things as a follower and as a child of the Lord. When you are not anxious, in a panic, you are able to think more clearly. One thing that helps me when a spiritual storm comes upon me is that I panic less and try to think logically. First, I turn to the Lord and pray. Secondly, I calm myself and think logically. Thirdly, I dig into my faith and then put my faith into action by waiting the storm out. 

Our faith in the Lord should be so strong that the storm does not cause us to fear or stress out.  After each storm, our faith should grow and grow.  Also, remember that these spiritual storms, just like storms in nature, will not last forever, they are only temporary. Yes, these storms can be terrifying and can certainly frighten you but do not let the storm overwhelm you. Remember the Lord, remember this study, and I know you will persevere through the storms in your life. Also, remember that there are plenty of help for you so never try to take on a storm by yourself.

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About Pastor Leo H. McCrary II

Rev. Leo H. McCrary II

Rev. Leo H. McCrary II was licensed to preach August 12, 2012, and ordained April 28, 2013. Currently pastors at Christian Unity in Douglasville, GA and online through New Found Faith.

Questioning Your Faith?

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