by Rachel Bryant
Have you ever been outside and suddenly caught in a huge thunderstorm? My family was on vacation, walking around in a downtown area, when a scary thunderstorm suddenly started out of nowhere. In the deluge of rain, thunder clapping, and lightning flashing, my whole family ran down the sidewalk trying to find shelter. As we were crossing a street, my youngest cousin couldn’t take it anymore. She stopped in the middle of the crosswalk, planted her feet, and started crying and screaming, refusing to move! We all felt the same way but had to keep moving to find refuge from the storm.
Do you know the story of the disciples in the boat during a big storm? (Read Mark 4:35–41) Basically, they were in the middle of a storm that could overturn their boat and kill them. They were terrified! They probably wanted to cry and scream too. But Jesus was there! He commanded the storm, “Peace, be still,” and instantly, the storm calmed. Amazing!
During the storms in our life, which sometimes feel terrifying, wouldn’t this be nice?! Jesus may not literally be in our boat and may not always make our storms disappear instantly, but He has given us His power to make it through the storms and remain calm.
When I am dealing with crises or storms of life, I try to focus on the Scriptures and God’s truths. I want to give you two of the most helpful Scriptures for me. What are some Scriptures you cling to? If you don’t know any, start reading His Word, and He will show you some, I promise!
2 Timothy 1:7: “God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind” reminds me first and foremost that God does not want us to give in to our fears. He doesn’t want them to control us. Having a “spirit of fear” indicates more than just a fleeting worry but feels more like a “dwelling” on the fears. This is so easy to do – you know how this feels – always running the fears and worries through our minds, a constant play-by-play of the dreaded “what ifs” of all the bad possibilities.
Stop! God did not create us to be in constant worry and fear! But the last part of this verse is super helpful in these spiraling out of control fearful thoughts – God gave us a sound mind! God gave us the mind to be rational and reasonable and put a stop to the thoughts from the Devil of the fears that he loves to pound us with. This sound mind gives us the ability to say, “Stop!”
So then, if we can get ourselves to stop the fear and worries, then what? That’s where my second verse comes in. Philippians 4:8: Finally, “Sisters,” whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Once you can put a stop to the crisis-mode thinking, fill your thoughts with these things.
Sometimes I focus on just the first one – what. is. true. When you are in a storm of life, it can be hard to find things that are “honorable” or “lovely,” so focus on the truth, which comes from God. If you can’t find any other good truth in life, here’s one: the God of the universe loves YOU and wants to help you through this crisis!
Putting this formula together, we can stop the spirit of fear in its tracks and then use our sound mind to focus our thoughts on truth. This clarity allows us to think through the crisis in front of us and remain calm to determine what needs to be done. Our storm may not immediately calm as it did for the disciples, but we can clearly see how to find refuge. Ultimately, our shelter is in God, and He will help you and offer His peace during your storm, whatever it is.
Challenge: If you are new to Bible reading, or even if you have read it “all your life,” – read through the book of Psalms. The men who wrote the Psalms were going through crises and storms. But they were praising God for the peace He offers and that He is always our refuge, a shelter in the time of storm!