Revive Our Hearts Weekend Podcast

— Audio Player —

Protection in the Storm

Episode Notes:

These series make up today's Revive Our Hearts Weekend program:

"Together Through the Storms"

"God's Faithfulness in Times of Trouble"

"Habakkuk: Remembering God's Faithfulness"

------------------

Dannah Gresh: Have you ever been in a storm of life where the boat you’re in keeps taking on more and more water?

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: God wants you to come and realize that you can't handle this. Maybe it's a financial situation. It may be a difficult marriage. It may be a prodigal child. It may be a health issue. Your little tiny boat that you thought was so safe is being bounced around on the waves, and you are terrified! You're in trouble.

Dannah: Learning how to depend on God when the storms of life hit, on this episode of Revive Our Hearts Weekend.

Welcome to Revive Our Hearts Weekend, I’m Dannah Gresh. 

Recently, on a visit to my dear friend Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, I was on the phone while I was driving with my husband, Bob. Suddenly he said, “Wait! There is a tornado warning!” A tornado? In Central Pennsylvania!? Couldn’t be! It's never happened. 

Well, within an hour I had video footage of 100 foot tall, sturdy walnut trees with two foot wide tree trunks bending over and snapping in half! It made my heart sink to see my gorgeous farm ripped up like that. 

But God was there. He was doing what He does. He protects His children in the storm. My home still stands. The barns are fine. And, most thankfully, no man nor beloved beast was harmed. The Lord allowed the destruction to fall in safe places.

Twenty years ago this month, a different kind of storm hit American soil. We know it as 9/11. Stop right now . . . Do you remember where you were? The feelings you faced? The utter disbelief and the sadness, even the grief? Americans were shaken to their core, especially those who lost loved ones. I know many of you were asking, “Where is God in this?”

I will tell you where He was. He was preparing His people. You see, twenty years ago this week, Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth aired the first few episodes of Revive Our Hearts. Do you know what the title of the series was that aired that week and the following week? "Finding God in the Desert." Nancy had recorded those programs months earlier! God knew. He was at work in the storm—even before we knew it was stirring.

He’s at work in your storm.

Storms can at times sneak up on us and catch us unprepared. Usually the day starts and nothing seems out of place.

It was like that for Jeff and Sarah Walton. They were married on a beautiful sunny day—78 degrees outside. Perfect. They planned to have three or four children. It was the stuff dreams were made of. And then, soon after their first son was born. Challenges in his health developed. Neurological challenges and mental health disorders that they still don’t have answers to. After just a few years, their marriage seemed to be unraveling at the seams. Here’s Jeff.

Jeff Walton: There were a lot of struggles in the home from physical and just the verbal that Sarah had to deal with from our oldest son, who has neurological challenges and mental health disorders that we still don’t have answers to. 

I was an orthopedic trauma consultant and on call 24/7, so with my work, I was in and out and on call, and that put a ton of strain on our marriage for Sarah to deal with that and not to be able to count on me. 

Sarah Walton: There were a lot of Sundays I’d go to church myself. We drove two cars everywhere we went so he would be able to leave at the drop of a hat.

We would go to a birthday dinner for me, and he’d have to leave halfway through, and I’d go home and take the take-out food back home with me.

I knew that was our life, but it takes a toll, just because I was on my own so much. 

Jeff: During those times we didn’t attack each other in our outbursts, because I think we were in survival mode. 

Sarah: I basically had to be in the mindset of single parenting, and that’s hard emotionally for a woman, to have her husband leave, and then to come back and not know if he’s going to stay. I couldn’t turn my emotions on and off like that, so I became very guarded.

Jeff: So much was just focused on, “How are we going to survive taking care of this child?” And, this is our oldest, so we don’t know how to parent—just like everyone else with their first child. 

You’re trying to learn on the go, and now you have all these other challenges pressing up against you. We have four children today. As those children were added to our family, the stress and the pain of our first child and his struggles continued to manifest itself differently in our family life. 

Sarah: Not only that, but I had to be guarded at home because they were very scary situations day after day after day [with my son]. I don’t think we can mentally and emotionally manage that for long without just shutting ourselves down.

Jeff: I was trying to be the provider. I was trying to go to work and bring back the paycheck and to be able to be someone that they could rely on. The way that this played out was it created a lot of miscommunication between me and Sarah.

Sarah: So we were not doing normal marriage; we were not doing normal parenting. We were just surviving, completely surviving! We didn’t have the energy to even acknowledge what might be going on under the surface.

Jeff: I thought I was doing something that was honorable, trying to work hard for our family. She saw it as, “To what cost? Is there any scenario where you would say ‘no’ to a doctor when he calls you to come into one of these surgeries?” So I was also up against that.

At what point would I say, “I’m going to stay home?” And so, that spoke volumes, by me walking out. Those are things that unravelled over the years to come, that we swept under the rug. Again, just in that survival mode, but those hurt her deeply. At the time I didn’t see that. At the time I thought I was doing what was best for our family, but ultimately, I was hurting that one that I loved the most! 

Listen to the entire episode, "Hitting Rock Bottom." This comes from the series, "Together Through the Storms."

Dannah: Can you hear the pain and anxiety in their voices? They were in a very tough spot and kept hitting roadblock after roadblock.

Have you been there? Maybe not in marriage. But in life? You feel like you’re between a rock and a hard place and there is no where else to go and it seems like life is handing you one thing after another. Maybe you were laid off from your job, your kid’s been suspended from school, your beloved dog died, you can’t seem to make the house payment. Maybe it’s not that drastic; maybe it is. But you get what I’m talking about, right? It’s one thing right after another. And you’re thinking, Just where is God in all of it?

If Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth were sitting here with us right now, she might ask you, “Could it be that God is the One who spoke those waves into existence?” Nancy spoke on Psalm 107 a couple of years ago, and I want you to hear the reminder and encouragement she gives about God in our storm. Here’s Nancy: 

Nancy: Life is chaotic, it's a storm. I can't handle this! I'm being thrown back and forth. I'm seasick. I can't even stand up straight. They reeled and staggered; they were at their wit's end. These were seasoned seamen, "all their skill was useless." God knows what it takes in each of our lives to put us to the place where we say, "I'm at my wit's end. I can't handle this." And you know that's exactly where He wants us to be—at our wit's end. All our skill, all our smarts, all we can throw at this problem is worthless. It's not working.

You may be in a situation right now where you are at your wit's end. You can't fix the problem—you've tried. You've manipulated; you've cajoled; you've tried to fix everybody and everything around you. Stop it! You can't!

God wants you to come and realize that you can't handle this. Maybe it's a financial situation. It may be a difficult marriage. It may be a prodigal child. It may be a health issue. Your little tiny boat that you thought was so safe is being bounced around on the waves and you are terrified! You're in trouble.

So these four instances we see God's people in trouble. That's the first word that outlines this psalm for us "trouble."

Now what was the second word? Cry. So here they come out of their distress and verse 6 tells us, it's repeated throughout this psalm, "Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble."

When did they cry to the Lord? When they were in trouble. Why didn't they cry before they were in trouble? Because they didn't think they needed God. Now they know they need Him. So look at the wanderers, verse 5, "Hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted within them." Verse 6, "Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble." Their unfulfilled needs, their unfulfilled longings, their weakness, drove them to Him, drove them to look upward.

My friend whom I love to quote, Charles Haddon Spurgeon, says about this psalm, he's got a rich commentary on this whole psalm. But he says,

If hunger brings us to our knees, it is more useful to us than feasting. If thirst drives us to the fountain, it is better than the deepest draughts of worldly joy. And if fainting leads to crying it is better than the strength of the mighty.

They cried to the Lord in their trouble. Look at the prisoners, verse 12. "He bowed their hearts down with hard labor, they fell down with none to help." Read verse 13 with me, "Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble."

When did they cry to the Lord? When they were in trouble after they had experienced the painful discipline of the Lord. When they had fallen down and they couldn't get back up, when there was no one anywhere who could help them, when they had nowhere to turn but up, then they cried to the Lord.

Again let me quote Charles Spurgeon here, and I have learned this to be true as have many of you. He said, "We pray best when we are fallen on our faces in painful helplessness."

You say, "God, I don't want to be fallen on my face in helpless."

You want to learn to pray? Then let God use trouble to bring you to the place where you cry to Him in your distress.

Look at the ones who were sick. Verse 18: "They drew near to the gates of death." Verse 19, say it with me, "Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble."

Look at the storm tossed. Verse 27: "They were at their wit's end." Read verse 28 with me. "Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble."

Listen, ladies, you may be at your wit's end in some circumstance in your life. But it does not have to be your soul's end. That storm is not intended to destroy you, but it's a mercy designed by God to disrupt your life and to bring you to the end of yourself.

Listen to the entire episode, "He's with You in the Storm." This comes from the series, "God's Faithfulness in Times of Trouble."

Dannah: They cried to God in their trouble. Four times in Psalm 107 do they cry out to God: verse 6, verse 13, verse 19, verse 28. Then notice in verse 29 of Psalm 107, ”He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed.” 

Hushed. The waves and the sea were hushed. Remember when Jesus was with his disciples and he fell asleep? Then a storm blew out of nowhere. Remember how He calmed—hushed—the winds? He is the One to turn to when the rough winds of life hit us.

And as hard as it might seem to be, in the middle of our storms we need to turn to Him. We won’t find our needs truly met in a bank account, or in this very broken world, not food, none of those things. We find our every need met in Jesus, and He is with us in every hardship, in every pain, in every trial.

Every trial. Even the fiery furnace that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego found themselves in. You remember that fiery furnace, right?

Recently, I was writing a Bible study on Habakkuk. And in that book I studied how the things the prophet was writing about came to pass in Daniel’s time. 

I want to share with you something I found as I was studying Habakkuk and Daniel. Here is part of a teaching I did out of Daniel 3 for the study on Habakkuk. 

Dannah: They answered and said to the king, "True, O king." He answered and said, "But I see four men unbound [they had put them in shackles when they went into that furnace], walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods."

Does that give you chills? It gives me such comfort to know that whatever fiery furnace that I have to go through in my life, Jesus is going to be there with me in it. I can’t help but notice these two things: first of all, Jesus is there with them. Many scholars believe that that “son of the gods,” that what Nebuchadnezzar saw was Jesus in there with them.

The second thing is that their bonds were burned up. We so want to be delivered from our exile and our captivity the easy way. We just want Jesus to unlock these chains and set us free. But many times He delivers us through the fire, not from it. We see that in this passage.

I couldn’t help but wonder, Is the way I’m singing through my trials and my trouble passing on a baton of faith to my children, to my grandchildren, to my great-grandchildren, to my spiritual children?

If they’re my “Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego” years down the road, will they have learned something from my life that prepares them for their fiery trial? There’s such a sweet promise. In fact, I have this in my index cards, and I hope that it’s one that my children know to be true of me, that I believe this about the Lord. It’s a promise of God I carry closely to my heart.

It’s in Isaiah 43:1–2 and 4:

But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. . . . Because you are precious in My [sight] and honored, and I love you.”

I have that circled in my Bible. I have hearts all around like it, like a seventh-grade girl! That God took time in the book of Isaiah to write the words, “I love you”! That’s why He’s with us in the fire, in the flame, in the flood.

It doesn’t say that, “Hey, I’m going to take you around those things.” It says, “When you pass through them, when you’re in them, they won’t consume you. I will be with you!”

How can we live like we are loved in the middle of our storm? In the middle of our fires? In the middle of our floods? I really think it goes back to that whole idea of climbing up into our watchtower and gaining perspective. Because what is happening to us right here and right now is such a little blip in the big scheme of God's plan. 

I couldn't help but consider, and this is not the most important part of Habakkuk. Habakkuk's purpose is to teach us that God is good, even in evil times. It's to teach us to walk by faith. But we also find that Habakkuk walks by that faith because he knows what God has told him is coming in the future, hard as it is, is true. He believes it. He positions his life to be a part of it.

Listen to the entire episode, "Ultimate Hope for Today's Headlines." This was taken from the series, "Habakkuk: Remembering God's Faithfulness."

Dannah: I’m starting to notice the sun shining through the clouds right now—the clean up from that storm that hit my farm is starting. Can you hear the chainsaws and logging claws at work on the farm? Or how about the sound of my bank accounting draining to pay for them!? 

You know, one of those trees was the home of a sweet little red headed woodpecker who visited my feeder each morning. I sure grew to love him. That’s why I stood at that fallen tree, looked into the little hole that was the door to his home . . . and wept. I reasoned, God sees the sparrow fall. It’s okay to cry.

Well, would you believe, after many days missing, my friend is back. Not sure where he found his new home or how he survived that storm, but . . . I guess God’s eye is on the sparrow. And the occasional woodpecker!

We need to check back with Jeff and Sarah Walton. Earlier in today's episode we listened to the storm of life they were going through. A demanding career, a special needs and sometimes violent son, isolation, frustration . . . God took them on a journey, a long journey that included lost jobs, food stamps, loss of dreams, but He was with them. They were never lost to Him, not their kids, and not their marriage. Here’s Sarah.

Sarah: It makes me think of Romans 5:3–5, 

Not only that, we rejoice in our suffering, knowing that suffering produces endurance, endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

Ultimately, that’s where our hope has to stay. We want a good marriage. We want a healthy marriage. We want a loving marriage. We’re not always promised that. But we do know that the love of God is with us always. We do know that He is at work in our own hearts, no matter what is happening around us.

Jeff and I can both honestly say that we can rejoice in our suffering. We’re not always joyful about it. We’re not always smiling about it. But we can rejoice in it because, my goodness, God has done such an incredible work in our own hearts through it. And we have flailed our way through it. We have fumbled over ourselves through it. But it just makes us want to lift our eyes and praise the Lord to see what only He could have done in our own hearts. He’s the only one getting glorified here because we would not have done this on our own.

Jeff: We wouldn’t exchange any of our pain. Honestly, as painful as it has been, we would not exchange that for an easy road because we would rather be on the crooked road of pain and suffering, knowing that that leads to Christ, than being on the straight path of ease and comfort where Christ is not at the end of that.

So, encouragement for those that are listening is: cling to Christ. As we look beyond our circumstances, beyond our spouses, look to Jesus because nothing makes sense in the present time. But as we know that He is our end, that can give us patience, knowing that it’s not going to be easy, but we can endure because He is the one giving us that daily strength. So that’s where I think we can find joy.

Listen to the entire episode, "Marriage Lessons from the Book of Job." This comes from the series, "Together Through the Storms."

Dannah: Cling to Christ. When you find yourself in the middle of a storm, or any part of the winds, cling to Christ.

Maybe you’re struggling through life's circumstances right now, maybe struggling to see God in there with you. You may even be shaking your head and saying, “Dannah, you just don’t understand.” You’re right, I’m not in your particular storm. But I know from my past storms that He is with you. 

I want to suggest a great resource for you. Jeff and Sarah Walton wrote the book Together Through the Storm. I know you’ll find encouragement and empathy for whatever you’re facing right now. You can find Together Through the Storms in our online bookstore. Go to ReviveOurHearts.com, or call 1–800–569–5959. You can also find Jeff and Sarah Walton's full story on our website, ReviveOurHearts.com/weekend, and look for today’s transcript.

Another way to help you get through the storm you are facing is . . . would you consider attending our Revive '21 conference with me? Our theme this year is: Grounded. There is no better way to go through a storm than when you are grounded in God’s Word. Together we’re going to learn from Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, Chris Brooks, Susan Hunt, Laura Beth Perry, myself, and many others. It's all happening on October 8–9, and you can attend in person in Indianapolis or online, so register at ReviveOurHearts.com.

Next week, let’s talk about God’s glory. Wait, what? Who decided on that topic? God’s glory isn’t an easy topic. But I already did my studying because I talked with Dane Orlund, you know, who wrote the book Gentle and Lowly. I’ll share some of what we talked about. So be listening for that next week.

Thanks for listening today. Thanks to our team. Phil Krause who loves to see the rainbow after the storm. Blake Bratton who when I asked, "Do you like storms?" said, "Sure." Rebekah Krause likes the rainy days. Justin Converse doesn’t like the storms and would rather find the sun. Michelle Hill loves a good thunderstorm. And for Revive Our Hearts Weekend, I’m Dannah Gresh

Revive Our Hearts Weekend, helping you find freedom, fullness and fruitfulness in Christ.

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.

Support the Revive Our Hearts Weekend Podcast

Darkness. Fear. Uncertainty. Women around the world wake up hopeless every day. What if you could play a part in bringing them freedom, fullness, and fruitfulness instead? Your gift ensures that we can continue to spread the message that Christ is King and that the way to know Him is through His Word. Spread gospel hope! Donate now.

Donate Now

About the Teacher

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has touched the lives of millions of women through Revive Our Hearts and the True Woman movement, calling them to heart revival and biblical womanhood. Her love for Christ and His Word is infectious, and permeates her online outreaches, conference messages, books, and two daily nationally syndicated radio programs—Revive Our Hearts and Seeking Him.

She has authored twenty-two books, including Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free, Seeking Him (coauthored), Adorned: Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together, and You Can Trust God to Write Your Story (coauthored with her husband). Her books have sold more than five million copies and are reaching the hearts of women around the world. Nancy and her husband, Robert, live in Michigan.

About the Host

Dannah Gresh

Dannah Gresh

When Dannah Gresh was eight years old, she began praying that God would use her as a Bible teacher for “the nations.” When she sees the flags of many countries waving at a Revive Our Hearts event, it feels like an answer to her prayer.

Dannah is the founder of True Girl which provides tools for moms and grandmothers to disciple their 7–12 year-old girls. On Monday nights, you’ll find Dannah hosting them in her online Bible study. She has authored over twenty-eight books, including Ruth: Becoming a Girl of Loyalty, Lies Girls Believe, and a Bible study for adult women based on the book of Habakkuk. She and her husband, Bob, live on a hobby farm in central Pennsylvania.

About the Guest

Jeff and Sarah Walton

Jeff and Sarah Walton

Jeff and Sarah Walton are the co-authors of Together Through the Storms: Biblical Encouragement for Your Marriage When Life Hurts (2020, The Good Book Company). They have four children 13 and under and are members of the Orchard Evangelical Free Church in Arlington Heights, IL. Sarah is also the co-author of the award-winning book Hope When It Hurtsand blogs at setapart.net. Jeff works in healthcare technology sales, and he spends his free time leading mens Bible studies and coaching his childrens sports teams.