“But I wouldn’t know your peace without the hard times
or be thankful for relief without the pain.
I wouldn’t love the light if it were not for the darkness
or appreciate the sun Without the rain.“
–Thank You for the Storm–
The Carr Family. From the Album Thankful
Growing up in the Caribbean, I am all too familiar with storms. Not just the strong thunderstorms/rainstorms that are common throughout the year, but also the more life-threatening annual phenomenons known as hurricanes.
No one in their right mind would rejoice at the sound of sky-splitting lightning, torrential rain, and earth-shaking thunder let alone the eerie 150+ mph howling winds of a category 5 hurricane! That’s because these uncontrollable natural forces don’t only cause devastating destruction but can also cost many lives. In many cases, the aftermath of a storm is worse than the storm itself, leaving behind physical and emotional brokenness. That is why it is never initially regarded as a learning lesson. Yet, that is exactly what it can become as soon as reality sinks in, and recovery begins.
I have already written a couple of devotions regarding the storms of life, but this song perfectly details the main reasons why we ought to thank God for storms. Please listen to it in its entirety.
Unlike forecastable natural weather disturbances, life’s storms are unpredictable and no matter how many of them we may have endured, we are never prepared for them. They can become even more difficult to deal with/accept if our spiritual defenses are down or weakened by the lack of spiritual disciplines.
There is no doubt that natural storms can have a negative impact on anything along their path, but as I mentioned earlier, there are some benefits to them as well. On a broader scale, ecosystems can be positively influenced by periodic heavy rains, high winds, lightning, and thunder. Here are some other benefits:
- Bacteria and red tide breakup
- Global heat balance
- Replenishment of barrier islands
- Replenishment of inland plant life
- The spread of plant seeds
In addition, the sometimes heartbreaking results of these natural forces have also prompted changes in the way we act and react to them. For example:
- Development of better forecasting equipment.
- Better proactive and reactive government policies/plans
- Architectural and construction enhancements
- Quicker response to disaster warnings by residents
In general, the ability to build resilience in the face of crisis, move forward, and re-emerge newer, better, and stronger, has been the most positive result of enduring life-changing storms.
The Caribbean islands have had their share of catastrophic weather. A quick Google search will return hundreds of before-and-after images that depict the damage and recovery experienced by these popular and highly sought-after vacation destinations.
The featured image reminds me of how lighthouses effectively serve as both warning and directional markers without the need for weather forecasting equipment. Their intended function is the reason why they have been constructed to withstand any storm no matter when they develop or how intense they may become. Of course we are not made of concrete, steel, or stone, like physical lighthouses, but those who have been born again through faith in Jesus Christ are spiritual beacons that have the ability to face and endure life’s unexpected storms. We have also been given the power to overcome and grow stronger as a result of them. Without a doubt, we can all learn from the many trials in life as well as from our own mistakes if/when we purpose in our hearts and minds to do so. However, there will be times that in addition to will power and commitment, we will also require supernatural/divine intervention.
I believe that experience is the best teacher in life and that the greatest lessons are learned along the way. If it wasn’t for some of the hardships we have had to endure (or will endure) we could never develop practicality, wisdom, and prudence.
For a Christian, the ultimate benefit of riding out a life storm is witnessing the faithfulness, mercy, and grace of a heavenly Father who promised to never leave us or forsake us, especially when the storm is the result of a foolish choice we have made. If we took a moment right now to look back at the difficult times we’ve endured and then realize that in spite of them we are still here today, we could truly see how “…God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. – Romans 8:28.
It’s common to thank God for the many blessings in life which include peaceful and quiet times. But we should also learn to thank Him for the storms that can also bring about blessings such as perseverance, character, and emotional and spiritual strength.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, when you encounter trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Allow perseverance to finish its work, so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.
How has the current pandemic situation (quarantine, shortages, losses) served to strengthen your resolve? I would like to read about it in the comment section below. If you are having a hard time making sense of what’s happening as a result of COVID-19, I would be glad to pray for, encourage, and share some practical/spiritual thoughts with you. Just contact me via firstname.lastname@example.org
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for your faithfulness, mercy, and grace. Because of them I have enjoyed countless blessings. Thank you also for the difficult times that have also blessed me by teaching me to trust and depend on you. May my entire life be a prayer of thanksgiving and praise for your goodness and love. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” -1 Peter 5:10 ESV
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 ESV
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” – Isaiah 41:10 ESV
“In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” – 1 Peter 1:6,7 ESV