Calming the Storm :: By John Lysaught

Trials and Tribulations

Luke 8:23-25 “But as they sailed he fell asleep: and there came down a storm of wind on the lake; and they were filled with water, and were in jeopardy. And they came to him, and awoke him, saying, Master, master, we perish. Then he arose, and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water: and they ceased, and there was a calm. And he said unto them, Where is your faith? And they being afraid wondered, saying one to another, What manner of man is this! for he commandeth even the winds and water, and they obey him.”

Are you facing a storm in your life? Some kind of trial or maybe a tribulation that’s testing your faith? I know I face them a lot, and my faith has been shaken; Especially in some of them, I can’t even see or imagine an end to them. It can be very hard sometimes to be in the midst of the storm. The ship is tossing and turning, ready to dump you in the violent waters, and all you can do is cry and hold on as tight as you can.

It’s in these moments when our faith in God can be shaken, because we can’t see the forest from the trees. All we can see is the situation right in front of us and nothing else. Our focus is on the problem only, and we are mired down in worry and stress or fear of the “what if’s.” This can be anything from finances, to relationships, or work, or what may be.

Trials and tribulations are called what they are because they aren’t easy to deal with. They can cause quite a lot of anxiety in our hearts and mind, because we are in the middle of them and either don’t know what to do or don’t know how long it will last. Yet, just as Jesus calmed the storm (Luke 8:23-25), He too can help us. He may not solve the problem outright, but He can give us the wisdom, peace, and strength to persevere.

Persevering may be the hardest thing to do. We live in an on-demand society. When we want something or need something, it happens rather quickly, in a worldly sense. Persevering to us is in minutes, not days, weeks, or months. We want what we want now and not later. Because of this, our patience with God’s timeline can be out of sync with what we desire. We are told this in Romans 12:12, “Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer…” We would be wise to remember this.

In the thick of a trial or tribulation, we may have to endure the storm, but storms do end; they do not last forever. When we are sinking in a storm, God will be there for us to lift us up and put us back into the boat so we can get through it. We just need to be patient in the Lord, trusting there is a purpose for the storm, and to trust Him through it.

When we trust the Lord, really trust the Lord, we’ll better be able to endure and come out of the other end of the trial with more wisdom and a better relationship with God. If we give up, we are giving up on God and His ability to help us and give us strength. I don’t think anyone wants or intends to do this. We just get caught up in the human condition and get too focused on the problem at hand instead of the solution God will lead us to.

Proverbs 3:5-6 says to, “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”

When we face situations where our daily life is interrupted by some trouble, our trust in the Lord should not be forsaken, but held just as strong as during the blessed times. Some tend to fall into the trap that they are being punished by God or set to the side by Him. This is far from the truth! God is right there next to us, standing tall with and sometimes carrying us during those moments of our life when we feel we’re being choked by a bad situation. Trusting in Him is the key to persevering through a troubled time or season of our lives.

Some face minor troubles and some face enduring troubles that last months or years. Are the ones who face minor troubles better Christians than those who face longer trials? No, of course not. We are given the measure we can handle. I have found through my own trials that as I endure more and more of them, my trust in God has grown with each one. The same is for everyone.

Trials present an opportunity for us to grow in our relationship with the Lord. When we’re facing some trouble in life, we can tuck tail and run or we can trust in God. With time and trust in God, our patience to endure grows. What we couldn’t bear a season ago is now bearable because we know God is in the midst of the storm with us to calm it.

During the storms of life we learn, we gain wisdom, and we increase our relationship with Christ. Our limits are tested; and we discover that with God our limits to endure are pretty far when, before we were saved, our endurance was nil. For me, I see storms as tests to check my status, or standing, in my relationship with God.

It’s not like I welcome or desire storms; not at all. But when they do come, I have developed the mindset to see them as tests to my standing with God. Who do I turn to first? Where do I seek answers from to deal with them? What is my perspective in the midst of it, especially the pinnacle of the trial?

I tell you, for me, I do fail. I fail a lot, but not like before. I may have a pity party or seek advice from the world. When I did this before, I used to dwell on it. Now, those times when I do turn at first to other-than-God solutions, I quickly turn back to God. When I do this, I’m not demanding Him to fix things, but I praise Him first and foremost, and then ask for the strength and wisdom to address the problem(s) at hand. With this, I have learned patience, patience to let things work out and to let God help me and deal with me on His timeline, not mine. When I do this, I gain a sense of peace, a calmness I didn’t have before I was saved during troubles.

For you and your relationship with God, it may be similar to mine or completely different based on your individual relationship with Him. Regardless, having God involved and active in your storms is paramount to getting through them.

When we face storms in our lives, we can get through them with God. Just as Jesus calmed the waters and the wind, He too can calm us so we can be comforted that He is in control, not us, with the end result of reaching the other side, both in this world for peace and comfort, and in terms of eternity. When you trust God and have patience, all things will work out, even if you can’t see it in the moment.

God Bless.

All Bible verses are from the KJV.

You Are Relevant :: By John Lysaught

You Are Relevant

Before I begin, I must apologize and clarify my stance in my previous article, “What’s the Deal.” As some of you called me out, I do know God is the judge of other’s hearts, not me; and I neglected to impart that to you all in my writing. I cannot judge other’s hearts or stance with God – only God can. I have a great big heart for all of you, and for those who are lost and don’t know Christ. Thank you.

Sometimes we don’t feel important in the grand scheme of life and eternity. We are though. You’re important and so am I. We’re each a piece of the puzzle in God’s eternal plan. We aren’t pushed to the sidelines to watch life pass by. God has a plan for each one of us.

I think we’ve all been in a place where we didn’t feel relevant. We didn’t believe we mattered to God or to others. I’m bipolar and have been in this place many times, so much that I was hospitalized twice; I felt so worthless to God and others that I was on the verge of suicide. There are many that face similar trials because of situations they find themselves in. It could be a broken relationship with a spouse, bullying at school or online, being mentally ill, etc.

This is one of Satan’s ploys. He wants us to feel worthless and irrelevant. If he can convince us we aren’t relevant, then we can slip into his grasp and lose our grip on Christ. Satan lies when he tells us we are unimportant; and yet, each person was created by God, and He knew us even before we were in our mother’s womb. To say we are unimportant would be to say God made a mistake. Don’t believe this lie.

When we feel we aren’t important we can get depressed or distraught. We feel an emptiness in our hearts and a sense of desperation or hopelessness. Some will turn away from God to fill this void with substances or false idols, or whatever; but what is needed is prayer to have Jesus’ strength to avoid these feelings of being lost and unimportant.

We are in a spiritual battle with Satan and his minions, and the world. We are surrounded by evil and negativity from a society that disparages us as much as possible. We need to hold fast to Jesus and keep our chins up to face the adversity set before us by the Devil.

Ephesians 6:12 tells us, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”

We are in a battle. We are fighting evil as we live in this world. We must hold fast to our faith and hope in Jesus in order to fight and survive. Yes, Jesus defeated death when He rose from the dead, but we still face evil until His soon return to snatch us up to be with Him.

As we live in this world, we must always be on guard lest we begin to believe the lie that we’re irrelevant to the Kingdom of God. This is part of the battle we face in addition to all the other schemes of Satan. Remember, Satan wants to destroy us. He wants to come between us and our relationship with Jesus. Not in part but in whole. If Satan can drive a wedge between us and our Lord and Savior, then it is easier for him to keep us from Christ.

Psalm 27:1 says, “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”

No matter what adversity we may face, we need not fear—for He is our strength. He isn’t our strength only sometimes; this does not say that. He IS our strength. This tells us that, regardless of what we are facing, God is with us all the time. We can face the enemy with the surety of God being with us for strength to endure and defeat Satan.

We are relevant to the Kingdom of God because God created each one of us for a purpose.

Jeremiah 29:11, states, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”

I’ve forgotten this more than a few times. Because I battle the chemical imbalance in my brain, I tend to bounce around the emotional scale, but spend most of my time in some level of depression.

Satan tries to take advantage of me when depressed. He tries to drag me down even more. I fight this daily, and in those times that I do let my guard down, I feel worthless to God and to others. I know it isn’t true; but when I fall into that trap, it takes a lot of prayer and fortitude to climb back out.

Satan uses each of our weaknesses to drag us down. When this happens, we must fight Satan. We need to keep the armor of God on us at all times. We may feel tired or worn out from battle and just want a rest, but we must stand firm. It’s those times when we rest that our guards are left down, and Satan will attack us with full force.

In our trials and tribulations in life, we need to anticipate Satan’s attacks on us. If we keep in mind that Satan will do this, we will be better equipped to face him. This is easier said than done sometimes, but knowing he will attack us helps us to be better mentally prepared for his ambushes.

When we know we are important and relevant to God and His Kingdom, we will be emboldened to do His will for Him. God gave us each unique gifts to help others and to spread His love to each other. We can use our gifts to show the light of Christ through us to those who don’t know Christ.

I have found in my ever-evolving walk with Jesus how important it is to show the love of Him to others. Whether in word or deed, we need to use our gifts to show others the light they can have as well so they can be with us in Heaven. Do I fail at this? Of course. I’m just a sin-natured man, but I pray that I can be a light to the world regardless.

We may get down on ourselves sometimes, and we may feel irrelevant in this world, but we are not. We are so important to the Kingdom of God. God loves us so much because of this that He gave His Son as the sacrifice for our sins. If we weren’t important, each and every one of us, then He wouldn’t have done so. Remember this in those moments when you feel so low that you can’t see beyond the minute or day. Remember that you are loved by Him and are important enough to Him that He created you for a purpose.

God bless.