The winds are swirling. The darkness looms like a shadow-ridden plague. The air feels cold and still. It is a storm. Not necessarily a tangible one that you can feel with your fingertips, taste with your tongue and feel with your senses. This is a spiritual and emotional cyclone—the kind that makes you want to take cover until the eye of the storm appears. There is comfort there, a brightness, and a glimpse of hope. But what we often forget, is that the eye of the storm is only temporary. The grey formations and windy gusts and uncertain outcome still lingers on the other side of the stillness and peace that resides in the middle. It is what we do in this middle space that determines how the rest of the tumultuous circumstance will affect us and mold us when we walk through it.
The storms of life are not something we should be surprised about. We don’t have to be happy about them or like that they come, but it is something that was foretold we would definitely have to endure. John 16:33 reminds us of this fact, “In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I’ve conquered the world.” We were told we would face trials and tribulations continuously from the beginning due to the sinful nature inflicted on us from the first Garden where Adam and Eve fell prey to the serpent. It seems as if when one thing overtakes us, we have just enough time to bring it to a tranquil existence before another one is looming in the near distance to strike us yet again. Sometimes we do not even have that moment of tranquility in between the strikes; sometimes they are heaped on in multitudes, reminding us that God DOES indeed give us more than we can handle (contrary to the old saying that He does not). He does this intentionally so that we will lean on Him and grow to trust in His Plan. But do not miss one important truth about the Lord allowing the barrage of upheavals that promises we are not alone in any of them.
Remember what we are told in 1 Corinthians 10:13 … “No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it.” Many may think this says exactly what the old saying promises, that God will never give us more than we can handle. But look closely and you will see a very important truth that puts this into the correct perspective. Read it word for word. Then read it again. You should be able to discern that God is saying He will never allow us to be given more than we can handle THROUGH HIM. We absolutely cannot handle everything this world and the enemy hurls at us; it would utterly destroy and captivate our souls in the most detrimental way … if it weren’t for who we are in Christ. Because of who we are in Our Savior and the lifeline he provided that day on the cross to enable us to have connection with Our Father, God is there for us to give us the strength we do not possess on our own. He will allow us to bend, but not break. He will allow us to suffer, but not be destroyed. He will allow us to fall to our knees, but not to stay there. Through Him, we do manage more than we are capable of.
That, my sweet friends, is exactly why He gave us the gift of Jesus. To shine His light where there is darkness in this life. To shine His glory and grace where we see nothing but shame and disgrace. To be the strength and comfort our souls long for when this world and its fallen state overtake us and bombard us with sinfulness and pain. We might only see one step ahead, as David tells us “Your words are a flashlight to light the path ahead of me and keep me from stumbling.” (Psalm 119:105). We know that flashlights don’t allow us see an incredible distance; only enough to light our path for what is immediately in front of us to keep us safe. God does the same thing, as His ways are too wondrous for us to know too much at once or to see too far ahead. Just as the strength He gives us and the grace He provides is sufficient for each day, not for an entire lifetime. He gives as we need, even when we think we need more. You see, God’s flashlight knows no boundaries and He sees the entire road when we can only see the next leg-length. There is no darkness in or of Him. He is purely light, as is his Son and the One who connects us to Him.
Take heart that Jesus knows the darkness that encompasses us and he walked through many trials and storms himself in his earthly time of ministry. Who better to relate to us than the Perfect One who endured what we endure and gave his life to save us from the repercussions of what we have earned and deserve? Do not take his light for granted. Do not lurk in the shadows of God’s promises. Be bold. Step out. Light the way with Jesus in your heart and truth on your side. You may be the only light some people ever pass by or have the blessing to savor; so don’t minimize or lessen who you are or what you have to give. If you cannot find light or feel light, choose to be the light yourself. Someone is waiting for the radiance that you have to bestow on them … and God is by your side every step of the way.