Seeing the Storm as
God Sees it
Richard M. Riss
When life becomes difficult, it helps if we can see things
from the Lord's perspective.
How does the Lord view of our problems? First, we must understand
that He loves us and desires the best for us, even when all
looks bleak. At times it is difficult to realize this, particularly
when our circumstances are difficult. But He has every circumstance
of our lives completely under His control. There is a purpose
for everything, whether or not that purpose is clear to us.
Even when we suffer, God very skillfully uses it to benefit
us. While the enemy, or any human perpetrators of our suffering,
may have evil intentions, God can still turn all of these
circumstances around for our good, just as He did for Joseph,
who was sold into slavery by his brothers, and who, as an
innocent man, suffered many years in prison before he eventually
became ruler over all of Egypt under Pharaoh, and saved his
whole family from famine.
How does suffering benefit us? Suffering has the potential
for tremendous character development. It will strengthen our
faith and trust in Him, if we allow it to do so. It develops
our ability to love those who are cruel to us. This takes
practice, and can only be learned in the midst of persecution.
The Lord allows this so we may learn to love the way He loves.
Jesus truly loved and forgave those who crucified Him. If
we believe that God is our deliverer, and remember that even
if our bodies were completely destroyed, no one can permanently
harm us if we abide in His perfect will. Then we will be able
to withstand any storm, no matter how severe.
At this very moment, by means of adversity, He is training
us in the matters of faith. Through all our experiences, we
are learning that God is big enough to bring us through any
difficulty, no matter how severe. He is more than able to
deliver us, for nothing is too difficult for Him.
If we become bitter due to our circumstances, then we circumvent
the Lord's purposes. He would have us to rejoice in the midst
of tribulation because trials work patience into our lives.
This is the exact opposite of what one would expect, and it
therefore does not come easily, yet this outlook is essential
for us if we are to survive the severe storms of life.
The attitude of joy in the midst of difficulty is not something
we can produce of ourselves. We must ask the Lord for His
power to deal properly with each situation as it arises. This
usually means doing the exact opposite of what would come
to us naturally in the normal course of our lives.
How, then, can we begin to see things from the Lord's vantage
point? We must ask for His "mind" that we may see
our present situation as He sees it. Once He has granted us
this insight, we must pray for the strength and ability to
act accordingly. It is one thing to know we should not retaliate
when we have been wronged, but it is quite another for us
to return good for evil, graciously. This can only happen
through the work of the grace of God. We must pray for an
extra measure of grace that we may be clothed with an attitude
Through adversity we learn faith, trust, and obedience. According
to the book of Hebrews, Jesus, who was perfect, learned obedience
through the things He suffered. He never complained, yet,
step by step, was led through a series of adverse circumstances,
all of which were ordained of His Father so He might be strengthened
in obedience. If Jesus needed this training in obedience through
suffering, then we need it more urgently.
We are being trained for spiritual warfare. The Lord knows
what we need to learn in order to overcome in the great contest
at the end of the age, and is allowing certain things to happen
to us in order to prepare us. He does not desire us to become
casualties when the hosts of the enemy engage themselves against
the Lord and His armies.
May God grant us the ability to see that all of our circumstances,
good and bad, are in His power, and that in His love, He is
using them to shape and prepare us, so we will not be casualties
in the storm that is rapidly approaching.
As we begin to see things more fully from His perspective,
may He grant us the extra measure of grace that we need in
order to act accordingly, and may we honor that grace by complying
with it in our lives and actions.