Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Trusting God in the Storms of Life

Leslie Basham: When you were a child what did you think about thunder? Here's what one young lady has to say about the subject:
Child: "I don't like thunder; it's scary. I say (almost singing) 'daddy'."
Leslie Basham: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Monday, October 21.
Few things are scarier for a child than a big storm. The wind, thunder and lightning send them to their parents' arms. Today, Nancy will begin a new series called Storm Shelter: Finding Safety and Strength in God's Arms. She'll help us learn to trust our Heavenly Father, even when difficult circumstances roll into our lives like dark, ominous clouds. Here's Nancy.
Nancy DeMoss: I saw an article recently entitled, "The Top Ten Weather Whoppers of 1999." Apparently 1999 was a year for some of the worst storms in recorded history. Let me read to you a little bit about those storms.
The year was only two days old, January 2, when the worst blizzard in decades blanketed states from Minnesota to Texas killing more than 20 people. In a matter of hours, Chicago, near where I live, saw 24 inches of snow--an all-time city record.
Then some of you may remember in May of that year, May the third, the day that 40 tornadoes swept the outskirts of Oklahoma City for 20 hours, "leveling entire communities in a swath of fury, " said this article. It went on to say that the twisters ranked among the worst in decades, injuring 750 Oklahomans, killing 42 and causing more than one billion dollars in property damage.
In that particular set of tornadoes some dear friends of mine lost their rental condo that they were living in at the time--was totally wiped away--they were not in it at the moment--in that tornado. It was made even more tragic by the fact that just several months earlier their home of many years had burned to the ground in a fire while they were out-of-town, and they had lost everything. Now they were in a temporary home that was wiped out by that tornado.
In September of that same year Hurricane Floyd "roared out of the Atlantic Ocean," this article said, to "pound the eastern seaboard with gale force winds of 100 miles per hour." Three million coastal dwellers evacuated their homes.
Now we can remember some of the images we saw on television. Most of us sitting in this room were not actually in one of those storms. But just watching those storms is enough to put terror into your heart--and you realize that those physical storms, as dangerous and devastating as they can be, are really a picture of life.
Life has its storms--not just weather storms, not just physical storms--but other storms that touch us in ways that maybe are not as dramatic but can be equally as devastating and difficult. In fact, how many of you would say that at this point in your life you're in some kind of storm? It might be a financial storm, a physical issue or health issue or a work storm in your workplace, a relational issue, a family issue or something in your church--there are one or more storms that you're walking through at this time. Let me just see some hands here.
Okay about half of us. And I would say to the other half, "hold on!" Life being what it is, most of the time in life you're either just coming through a storm or you're in the middle of a storm or (you don't know but) you're getting ready to go into a storm. So, what we want to talk about this week really has bearing for all of us.
I think of someone, a woman, that some in this room know, who, not too long ago walked through the loss (the death) of her mother-in-law. Then she, herself, (the woman that you know) went through breast cancer. Then, not too long ago, her husband was killed in a car accident--suddenly. And a week later, as I understand it, her brother suddenly died! Just one wave after another, storm upon storm.
Now, storms can come to greater or lesser degrees. Our storm may not compare with what that woman has walked through or with these times when 40 twisters came through and devastated everything in a matter of hours. But when you're in the middle of your storm, it seems major; it is major because it's your storm. And it's at that moment when we need to know how to walk through those storms, how to respond.
There's a passage in the Scripture that has been a particular encouragement to me in some of my times of storm. We want to look at it this week. It's from the Psalms, Psalm 57. If you have your Bibles, let me encourage you to open them. We're just going to walk verse by verse through some of what David learned in his time of going through storms.
The introductory note at the beginning of this Psalm says that this was written when David had fled from Saul into the cave. That's a reference, that some of you will be familiar with, to a period of time--you read about it in 1 Samuel, chapters 22, 23, and 24--where David was running as a fugitive from King Saul.
You remember that David had been anointed by God to be the next king of Israel. But for years it looked like God's promises were never going to be fulfilled because there was an egomaniac whose name was Saul, who sat on the throne and was in the way of David getting to the throne.
And for years, David and his band of supporters had to run as fugitives, living in caves, in deserts, in mountains, in places way out--in foreign countries--just running from one place to another trying to escape the wrath of King Saul, who was insanely jealous.
So David spent years running from the wrath of this man, fleeing from Saul and at times hiding in caves so as not to be found by Saul who was determined to kill David.
Notice, as we think about David fleeing from Saul and hiding in caves, that being godly does not exempt us from going through storms. David was God's chosen man. As best he knew he was walking with God. But he still went through storms. Remember that when you go through your storm.
God is not necessarily punishing you. He may be chastising you or disciplining you, but He may be just refining and maturing and purifying you and preparing you for service that He has for you down the road.
As we walk through Psalm 57, we're going to see several things that will help us walk through the storms of life. The first thing I notice about David in this passage is that he doesn't deny the fact that he's in a storm--that things are swirling around him--that the circumstances are difficult.
He says in verse one, "Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me, for in you my soul takes refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed." He calls it what it is; it's a disaster. He talks in verse three about those "who hotly pursue me."
"I cry out to God" (v. 2). "He sends from heaven and saves me, rebuking those who hotly pursue me" (v. 3). There are real people after him. And they're snapping at his heels and pursuing him aggressively.
Then in verse four he says, "I am in the midst of lions; I lie among ravenous beasts." Now he wasn't in a literal lion's den, though there was at least one in the Scriptures who did experience that. But he's saying, "I am in the midst of lions" (they're actually men).
Verse 4: "whose teeth are spears and arrows, whose tongues are sharp swords." He's saying, "There are people who are sworn to be my enemies. They're attacking me verbally. They're criticizing me; they've cursed me. They've destroyed my reputation" (Psalm 57: 2-4, paraphrase).
Have you had to live with or near someone who may have attacked you verbally? Maybe it's a parent you grew up with. Maybe it's someone in your home or in your workplace or in your community. They've tried to destroy your reputation. David says, "It's like being in a lion's den! This is a real storm, a real battle that I'm going through here" (v. 4, paraphrase).
And then he expands the word picture in verse six. He says, "They spread a net for my feet--I was bowed down in distress. They dug a pit in my path--but they have fallen into it themselves." (These people who are after me are creating a set of circumstances in my life that is incredibly difficult, v.6 paraphrased). David acknowledges that that's the truth. He's not pretending that there is no storm.
I think sometimes we have this mistaken idea that if we're good Christians, we won't have any storms in our lives. We won't have any people after us. We won't have any disastrous or calamitous circumstances. David is saying, "That's not true. Right now I'm in the midst of this lion's den. This is a very difficult circumstance" (v.4, paraphrased).
Some of you just said that you're in the midst of a storm. Your storm may look like David's or it may look very different. It may not be as intense but it's still difficult. Could I just say that as we start this week of looking at surviving the storms, that it's important, first of all, that we expect the storms? Don't expect to be immune from the storms. In fact, the closer you walk to God, it may be that the more God will entrust you with some storms that He is using to fit you to fulfill His purposes.
Expect the storms. Don't assume that God is mad at you just because you're in the midst of difficult or even disastrous or calamitous circumstances. Be honest. Don't deny the reality. Be honest and say, "this is a storm; this is hard." Over the next few days we're going to look at how we can survive those storms.
But an important starting place is to just be honest and say, "I am in a storm." That doesn't necessarily mean that God has forsaken me. He hasn't. In fact, He is as present in the storm, in the midst of the storm, as He is at any other season of your life.
Leslie Basham: Are you in a storm right now? I hope you found some encouragement in Nancy DeMoss' words. She'll be speaking on the topic of storms all this week and you'll want to keep listening. You may also want to get a copy of our current series called, Storm Shelter: Finding Safety and Strength in God's Arms. When you order the series on cassette or CD, you'll receive some parts of Nancy's teaching that we weren't able to air because of time restraints. It comes on two cassettes for a suggested donation of $5 or on two CDs for a suggested donation of $10.
This series will be great to have on hand when you go through a situation that just doesn't make sense. For more information, give us a call at 1-800-569-5959. Or visit ReviveOurHearts.com where you can order on-line, you can read a transcript of today's program and you can listen to past broadcasts. It's a convenient way to keep up with Nancy's teaching if you ever miss a day.
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Tomorrow, we'll take a look at Noah and his family. God provided the perfect refuge in the middle of the biggest storm in history. Now, again, here's Nancy.
Nancy DeMoss: Father, our storms differ in intensity and in nature. If we were to tell our stories today, there would be many different details involved in our storms. But those storms are very real to us, nonetheless. And we just want to stop and be honest and say some of us are in the midst of a storm and it's hard.
Help us not to run from the storms, not to resist them, not to resent them but to look to You for guidance as to how to walk through them and come out on the other side stronger because we've met You in the midst of the storm. I pray for Jesus' sake. Amen.
Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is a ministry partnership of Life Action Ministries.

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