Tackling the Storms of Life, Devotional

Tackling the Storms of Life


How to Tackle the Storms of Life

Know the storm is coming.

Whether rain, hail, wind, snow, or sleet, storms are a part of our world. Cool air masses meet with warm air masses and the weather becomes unsettled.

Storms, especially wind storms and blizzards tend to drive away everything that is not nailed down. Flood waters lift and carry items with such force that it simply leaves one in amazement at the sight of the devastation left in the flood’s aftermath.

Freezing temperatures from snow and sleet can leave the unprepared outdoorsman with frostbite or worse.

That‘s why we must be prepared for the arrival of storms.

If we know that a storm is coming, we won’t be caught off guard.

Storm clouds over river
Clouds Bringing Expected Storm

In the same way, when spiritual forces of light meet with spiritual forces of darkness, struggles develop. The conflict that follows can leave our world in turmoil.

Troubles and trials that ensue cause us to cast off idols that cannot bring deliverance. Thus, we are driven to the refuge of the True Master.

Storms, both physical and spiritual, will come our way, but they need not find us unprepared.

Blue skies after a snowfall
Prepare for the storm’s arrival.

Storms can be gentle, but many times they are a source of great danger. Knowing how to prepare will keep us from being overly apprehensive when a serious storm is forecasted.

Adequate preparations may not prevent damage but will keep us from being caught defenseless.

Don’t let the storm find you unprepared.

Results from dangerous storms may include downed power lines, fallen trees, structural damage, water-covered bridges, tainted water supplies, and even mud slides. Being prepared in the event such things may happen will find us thankful if and when they do come our way.

Keeping a fresh supply of batteries for items such as flashlights, lanterns, and radios will keep us supplied temporarily with the light we need to see and with updates we need to know concerning changing weather patterns.

Since batteries do not last forever, kerosene or oil lamps are a great resource to have as a backup for flashlights. (Just be sure to have a safe reserve of oil stored properly.)

Some radios have the ability to use solar power as an alternative in addition to battery or electric power. Consider those when making your next radio purchase as radio may be rendered the only means of communication with the outside world.

Storage of fresh drinking water is important not only for cooking purposes but also to keep us from becoming dehydrated.

Canned goods that can be eaten cold can help us survive hunger if the storm is prolonged.

Extra blankets and quilts help with warmth during power outages. They can also be used to cover freezers and coolers to keep items colder for longer periods of time. (Be sure to remove them when the power returns.)

A first-aid kit may be purchased at many department stores. One could also be assembled using a tool box, a lunch box, or a sturdy plastic shoe box and items purchased from local pharmacies or department stores. Pharmacy staff are very helpful in giving direction for compiling items that would be useful in such a kit.

Your insurance company or local fire department may be willing to check for areas of weakness and give advice for strengthening your home. This should be done before any storm is expected.

Spiritual storms that come our way may also leave us vulnerable if we are not prepared. 

Physical storms and storms of nature can cause our faith to be weakened. Troubles and trials, though not of our making, may attack our faith; but being prepared with the gospel of peace will give us guidance when it is needed.

Having the Word of God embedded in our hearts, maintaining a right relationship with God and others, and keeping our fellowship with Him intact will arm and shield us against oncoming spiritual danger.
Response time is critical and can avert disaster; therefore, we should especially know how to answer the trial of temptation when it comes knocking at our doors. Jesus Himself was faced with temptation, but handled it successfully with the Scriptures.

Stay in the place of safety.

Do not leave an area of safety when the storm hits.

If lightning strikes while you are outdoors, do not be the tallest object in an open area. Stay close to the ground instead.

During a tornado warning, a ditch or other low-lying area may be the safest place to occupy if a storm cellar is not available.

If flooding occurs, get to higher ground as soon as possible. Do not travel over water-covered roads or bridges. You cannot see when a roadbed has been eroded or washed away.

In windy conditions, stay away from windows that may break and send glass flying in your direction.

Speaking encouraging words to those around you will help to keep everyone calm and composed.

Encourage yourself in the storm.

It is especially important to stay in the place of safety when spiritual storms come our way.

Staying in God’s presence by prayer and reading His word will encourage us in our deepest trials.

Acknowledging the truths of God’s Word will keep us from making poor decisions that can jeopardize our safety.

The fellowship of God’s people will also give us encouragement as we navigate through the problems of life. Sharing our burdens with others will uplift us and cause others to pray on our behalf.

Remember that the trying of our faith works for us patience and brings us to greater maturity in Christ.

Encouraging ourselves in the storm gives us a hopeful outlook and confidence in God who is able to deliver us and/or carry us safely through any situation or circumstance. Our trusting attitude can strengthen and encourage those around us.

Be encouraged in the knowledge that Christ is our buckler and shield, our counselor and our friend. He will never leave or forsake those that are truly His.

Clean up from the storm.

When the storm is over, the clean-up process begins.Depending upon the severity of the storm, this can take a day, a week, or even months.

If there is major damage noted, the insurance company should be notified as soon as communication is restored. Carefully follow the insurance company’s directions and keep detailed records and receipts as clean-up is being completed. Taking photos of the damage may help you in your communications with the insurance agent.

Rubbish and other debris that litters sidewalks, yards, and roadways must be removed. Broken branches from trees may still be dangling in the air from overhead so be careful to look upward before proceeding to clean up those particular areas.

Remove debris to the proper designated areas.

Be aware of fallen power lines that may be tangled in any branches or trees that have fallen and do not go near them. Conspicuously mark off that area so that no one approaches and is endangered. Fallen power lines are a life-threatening situation that must not be ignored. Call the power company immediately and let them know of the situation.

Repair what is damaged. (Check with your insurance company first. They will probably want to do an assessment before you begin this process.)

Check outdoor lighting, gutter systems, sprinkler systems, and fencing for damage.

Look at the roof to see if any shingles have been broken, cracked, or blown away. Don’t forget to check animal kennels or animal houses for structural damage.

Inside the home, be sure to check the ceiling for wet or damp spots indicating a possible roof leak. Feel around window sills and dry any wet areas where rain may have entered.

Replace what is necessary to be replaced. (Check with your insurance company first.)

Hopefully, there will be no major damage from the storm, but sometimes items do have to be replaced. It may be an area of the roof, an electrical appliance, or a broken window. Take care of these items as soon as possible.

Roofing, structural, and electrical systems are the areas that should be considered first. Deficiencies in these systems will cause additional damage or may even cause a home to be destroyed if not taken care of properly. Hire a professional to take care of needed assessments and repairs.

Taking the proper steps will bring order out of chaos.

The disorder caused by a storm may seem unsurmountable, but taking the proper steps in the proper order will bring order out of the chaos.

Storms brought on in our spiritual life may also seem chaotic. The disruption to our lives may cause us to want to throw our hands up in despair. However, we have a Heavenly Father who is able to bring order out of our chaotic lives. We should seek Him first before we do anything else.

We may need to seek God’s forgiveness, ask for His cleansing, or just praise Him that He is in control of our situation.

Know that storms are not always brought to us because of sin. But if sin has brought our trials to us, the proper place to lay our sins is at the feet of the only One who is able to cleanse us and forgive us and restore us to full fellowship with God our father. That One is Jesus Christ.

Life happens to everyone. Just ask the Lord what His will is for you during this time of unsettledness. Follow His guidance. Be obedient and follow His direction; it may be that He is getting ready to bring a great blessing into your life.

Assess the aftermath.

After any storm it is important to assess the aftermath. Yes, the insurance company will do an assessment, but you should also do your own.

List any and all damages.

Take an adequate assessment.

What was or will be the cost to repair the damages?

What will insurance cover? What will be your responsibilities and financial expenditures?

Where are the weak places? Are walls, floors, and roofs safe?

Was the first-aid kit adequate or does it need additional items?

Is my environment healthy at the moment? What will need to be done to prevent mold?

Are the remaining trees safely standing?

Are my neighbors okay? Especially be concerned for elderly neighbors.

Retain a resource list for future help during and after a future storm. These names and phone numbers may come in handy at a later time.

Just as we do after storms of nature, we also need to do an assessment of our spiritual lives after we have battled the storms that have attacked our minds and hearts.

Are we where we need to be with God?

How can we better prepare for the next crisis?

Did we have and are we continuing to have a strong devotional time each day?

Was and is our prayer life intact?

Are we in full fellowship with our Christian brethren? Do we have areas of unforgiveness and bitterness hidden in our hearts? Does restitution need to be made to anyone?

Have we allowed things that are not pleasing to God to creep in and distract us from doing His will?

Have we truly sought God for His assessment of our lives?

Prepare for the next storm.

After recovery from the storm, we must begin preparations for future storms that may come our way.

Look at yours and your insurance company’s assessments.

Ask yourself a variety of questions as you look at each item listed. These will help with your preparations for any future storms.

Why did the damage happen? Were any areas of danger overlooked? Have structures been maintained properly?

Have trees been planted, placed, or trimmed properly? Is there anything I could have done to minimize the damage?

Then begin to shore up the property where needed.
Store up extra supplies especially in areas where particular items were needed or depleted during the last storm.

Prepare for the future day when
another storm will come.

Experiencing storms helps us to prepare for future storms. Do not take lightly the lessons that have been learned from previous storms. The safety of family members is of utmost importance. Take your assessment and prepare for that future day when another storm will come.

Recovery from spiritual storms may take moments or may take years depending upon the particular storm and our relationship with God.

Strengthen your spiritual life by attending church services, revival meetings, conferences, and Bible studies.

If you do not have a regular devotional time, begin one. Engage family members in this endeavor.

Prepare a place where you can pray without interruption. Spend some time meditating on and memorizing Scripture. Encourage your children and reward them for memorizing Scripture also.

Get professional Christian counseling if needed. Some storms require additional help. Do not be afraid or ashamed to seek this help if needed.

Job was prepared when the storm came his way. He was able to trust in God even though he had lost all physical possessions and all of his immediate family with the exception of his wife.

His thoughts may have questioned the reasons for the storm, but he did not question his salvation nor his future in heaven. He did not throw his hands up in despair, did not entertain thoughts of suicide, or retain bitterness against his friends.

However, the storm bought him closer to God than ever. He gained new knowledge of God and His attributes.

He also received blessings of restoration and encouragement from family and friends. To those around him, their perception of God was greatly changed.

Who knows how many people were and are still being changed because of the way that Job weathered the greatest storm that any man could endure.

Are you prepared for the storm? Are you prepared so that your testimony will remain in tact just as Job’s did?

What serious storms have you experienced?
What did you learn during those storms?
Did the storms change you in any way?

Devotional: Surviving the Storms of Life #3

The Storms of Life, continued

©2016 Peggy Clark

Dusting off the dried clumps of sand from her face and hands, she began her trek in the direction of the rooftop when suddenly there was a deep voice from behind her.

Turning she saw a gray-haired man with a fishing pole and a bucket in his hand. “Good morning, Miss. Fine morning isn’t it? And where did you come from?”

“Are you all right?” he said as she suddenly fell backward. “You must be hurt. Here, let me help you.”

She had not previously noticed the dried blood that covered her right arm and leg. Nor could she have seen the bruising on her face and other parts of her ravaged body.

As if shaken out of a daze, she began to weep uncontrollably. Memory now came to remind her of things she could not now bear to remember.

“Here, here, let me help you! You mustn’t cry. I won’t harm you. Stay still now while I look at your arms and legs.”

She nodded affirmation although the tears just would not stop.

The gray-haired man patiently checked for cuts and broken bones.

“Well, my lady. You’ve got some nasty cuts and bruises. Hopefully, you have no broken bones, but I don’t want to run the risk of injuring you any further. Will you trust me to run to the house yonder and bring round a truck? I won’t be any longer than I have to, I promise.”

She lay back and rested. Finally, help had come. Maybe Providence was on her side.

“In my distress, I called upon the LORD, and cried to my God: and he did hear my voice out of his temple, and my cry did enter into his ears.”  2 Samuel 22:7

We may ask why the journey of life had to take us down a particular path, why we were left alone to struggle through the waves of trials and temptations that sought to overcome us, and why it took us so long to get to a place of safety and respite.

Unwelcome Disturbances

Storms come as unwelcome disturbances in our lives.

Those disturbances present themselves in a variety of ways. They may consist of a ripple, a splash, a flood tide, or even a tidal wave.

When our vessels filled with the lower pressures of mediocrity, complacency, and sinful desires meet with the higher pressures of holiness, compassion, truth, and situations not of our choosing, struggles develop.

Uncertain Responses

Our response to God’s trimming makes the difference as to whether our sails are filled with the wind and prosper spiritually or are ripped from their spars and toppled in defeat.

Sometimes our response of grasping on to whatever lies before us drowns those who are trying to liberate us from our muddy waters.

We resist the command of submission to someone else’s control and find ourselves drowning in despair.

It is when we look upward instead of downward that we catch a breath from God and see His hand reaching out in deliverance.

Special Blessings

No matter how surprised we may be at the onslaught of the storm, we find that each disturbance does come with its own special blessing. Those individual blessings may be hidden at the moment, but they are there just the same.

We are strengthened as we struggle through the swelling waters and find that God is on the tip of every resounding wave, inviting us to come and walk with Him on the water.

We discover that His is the only Voice that has the power to calm the storm in our souls.

“[B]e not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee” (Isaiah 41:10).

After the storm we wake to find that the rubble in our lives has been loosed and carried far out to sea. If remnants remain, they are only there to remind us of our deliverance from that which sought to destroy us.

Our outlook is freshened and intensely set on things that are of greater importance than the mediocrity of the past.

Our vessels become known as seaworthy, able to withstand the storms of life, and able to lead others through troubled waters.

Special Truth

Why does it take us so long to get to a place of safety and respite?

It takes as long as it takes for us to realize that God is our Life Preserver, the Tugboat who draws us into His safe harbor and can give us calm waters in the midst of any storm.

It takes just as long as it takes for us to accept this truth.

And accepting Truth is how we survive the storms of life.

© 2016 Peggy Clark

Peggy Clark is also the author of So, What's the Latest News? Messages from a Prisoner in Rome published by WestBow Press, a division of Thomas Nelson & Zondervan. 
Ask for it at your local Christian retailer or order online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online retailers.

Devotional: Surviving the Storms of Life #2

The Storms of Life, Continued
©2016 Peggy Clark

Suddenly she was awakened by the earth eroding underneath her. A loud roar sounded in her ears. Warmth surrounded and tugged at her body, slowly pulling her back into the sea from whence she had come.

She must resist its deadly grasp. Now awakened, she slowly began to pull herself forward once again. This time she was able to make progress although every movement caused her body to wreak with pain.

Finally, turning over on her backside, she let the sun shine fully on her face. The aching inside told her she must have help and soon.

“Help, I must have help,” she repeated to herself but her body gave way to fatigue before she could muster enough energy to cry out.

Once again the forces of nature or some power from above cried out to her. Seagulls screamed in increasing volume desiring some morsel of food as if to say, “Get up and give us,” but she had nothing left to give.

Startled, she was awakened to a new day. A new day in all its splendor. She embraced its warmth and drunk in its laughter. Birds sang cheerily and a butterfly fluttered about her head.

She reached out and touched one of its wings. It danced away toward the morning rays of sunshine and out of her sight.

What was that in the distance? Peeking out above the trees that lined the shore was a gray rooftop. She listened intently for sounds of life and heard dogs barking in the clearing just ahead.

Hope sprang up in her bosom even though she found herself struggling to get up from the ground.

Why does our journey of life take us down a particular path?

Why are we left alone to struggle through the dark waters of turbulent forces as they try to overcome us?

Overwhelmed by successive waves of circumstances beyond our control, our inclination is to grasp hold of whatever lies before us.

Human nature digs our fingers in deep and splits our fingernails in anxiety. We exert all our energies in resisting the forces of change.

Our first reaction is to turn back to the past, to that which we are familiar, until we are entrapped in its undercurrents. The old man gently tugs and teases, whispering in our ears his deceptive voice. He wishes to erode our faith. Our foundation of sand quickly vanishes away.

Panic sets in as we realize we cannot stand against these forces alone. The intensity of the storm obliterates our view. Blinded, we cannot see the shoreline just ahead. Moment by moment our strength weakens as the undertow pulls at us.

Crying out for deliverance, we strain to hear an answer. None is heard except that of the vultures as they rob us of that which we hold to be of value.

Yet, the voice of resistance is heard from somewhere deep inside reminding us that we must resist the temptation of giving in to that which wishes to destroy us.

Rays of hope peek through the dark clouds allowing faith to swell up in our hearts.

Hope then gives faith the surge that is needed to overcome the depths of our trials and preserve us from drowning in despair.

Hope befriends faith and says, “Believe. There is a tomorrow.”

He sent from above, he took me; he drew me out of many waters;

He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them that hated me: for they were too strong for me.

They prevented me in the day of my calamity: but the LORD was my stay.

2 Samuel 22:17-19

To be continued.

©2016 Peggy Clark

Peggy Clark is author of the Bible study, So, What's the Latest News? Messages from a Prisoner in Rome published by WestBow Press, a division of Thomas Nelson & Zondervan. Ask for it at your local Christian retailer or purchase online.

Devotional: Surviving the Storms of Life #1

The Storms of Life

©2016 Peggy Clark

 With each grasp her fingers slid downward, backward, away from her goal. Every part of her body ached, resisting the desire inside her to continue forward. Gasping for her next breath, her body heaved with every ounce of strength she had left.

Warmth spread over her body, teasing her to give way to its unceasing pull. Again and again its tongue surrounded her, tugged at her, wooed her back into its grasp.

It did not want to let go.

Suddenly, with strength from some source beyond her own, she reached forward one last time before collapsing on the shore.

Foamy water continued to nudge her body, gently lifting and then leaving her behind as it gathered itself once again to make its attempts at retrieving her.

She was alone on the deserted shore. She and this substance that had carried her for days and now refused to let her go.

Morning came. Sunlight shone down on her sand crusted body, warming her with its intensity as if to say, “Arise my child! Arise!”

But her body did not want to arise. Every bone cried out to be left alone. She could hear the sound of the waves crashing behind her, roaring out their call for her return.

She had made it! She was alive! She had found somewhere, but where was she? At this point, she didn’t care. All she knew was that she was alive and that her body was lying on solid ground. Relieved, she closed her eyes, exhausted.

Many of us have experienced the joys of walking on the earth, alive and well, when suddenly a storm blew into our lives.

That storm, with all its intensity, found us struggling to catch our breath. It may have been the death of a spouse or the departure of a loved one or a turn of events at our workplace.

Whatever the cause of the storm, we were left paralyzed with fear and anxiety about what the future held for us.

Overwhelmed by the turbulent forces of our situation, we felt pounded by the everyday events that were well beyond our control. The reservoir of our faith soon ran thin. We quickly depleted all the strength of our own resources.

We felt alone on a deserted shore.

Somehow we made it through, though exhausted. That’s when we felt the earth beneath us again.

Looking back at the onslaught we encountered, we are left wondering how we ever made it through alive.

We may ask why the journey of life had to take us down this particular path, why we were left alone to struggle through the deep waters of each wave as it overcame us, and why it took us so long to get to a place of safety and respite.

However, at the end of the storm, we knew we were still alive. And at that single moment, that was all that mattered.

When the waves of death compassed me, the floods of ungodly men made me afraid; The sorrows of hell compassed me about; the snares of death prevented me; In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried to my God.  2 Samuel 22:5-7a

To be continued.

©2016 Peggy Clark