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How to face the storms of life

The wise man in the storm prays to God, not for safety from danger, but for deliverance from fear. It is the storm within that endangers him, not the storm without. – Ralph Waldo Emerson.

It is our fear of the storm that paralyzes us, not the storm. Our reaction to a crisis is what determines whether we sink or swim with it. Franklin Delano Roosevelt said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself,” which is the reason why General George Patton said, “I never take counsel of my fears.”

The problem with so many is that they listen to their fears. The brave man is also afraid, but his fear does not paralyze him into inaction. In a little boat in a storm, the Lord was sound asleep in the back and the disciples were afraid. They woke him up. They were panicky and he was not. “And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?” Their lack of faith produced the fear. This is the reason why Emerson said that the wise man prays for deliverance from fear. It is the fear within us that causes the problem, not the storm outside.

How do we react to the storms in our lives? We all have storms, but we do not all react in the same way to the same storm. The storms in our lives show whether we trust in the Lord or rely upon our own resources. By ourselves, we really are powerless against mighty storms, just as the disciples knew their efforts were futile to prevent the boat from sinking from the violence of the waves. They were doomed and did not know what to do. They needed to turn to God for help. When Christ awoke, he immediately called upon God’s power to calm the sea.

David said, “I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.” Notice God delivers us from our fears, not necessarily from the thing of which we are afraid, but from our fear of it. The storm may continue to rage, but we now are supported by the power of Almighty God.

If God be for us who can be against us? Again David said, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”

We sometimes have to walk though the valley, but we do not need to fear when the Lord is with us. If we truly believe, “The angel of the LORD encamps round about them that fear him, and delivers them,” then we can face the storms of life with confidence and not with fear. We so often sing, “With Christ in the vessel we smile at the storm.”

The Lord told his disciples, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear: because fear has torment. He that fears is not made perfect in love.” So what casts out fear? Perfect love and faith do. Why are we so fearful? Could it be our lack of faith, or lack of love for the Lord?

So we need to pray, as Emerson suggested, for deliverance from fear, from the storm within that endangers us. Jesus was calm within regardless of the storms around him. Even as he stood on trial for his life, the taunts of the crowd and the blows from the soldiers did not disturb his inner peace. Our Lord was living out in practice what Isaiah had said the Lord would do for us. “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you: because he trusts in you.” Christ’s prayers in the Garden of Gethsemane sustained him so that he resolutely fulfilled the will of God.

We can live in perfect peace in spite of the storms swirling around us. We need to keep our minds stayed on the One who is able to deliver us. We need to pray without ceasing so that God is involved in every aspect of our lives. Our God is able to deliver us from fear of the storms that arise in our lives. Our God is bigger than any storm we will ever face.

Isaiah tells us that our God is “a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall.”

Believing in the power and love of our almighty and merciful Heavenly Father, we can say with David, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for you are with me; your rod and your staff they comfort me.”

Robert J. Lloyd

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