I have had my own storms in life, and doing this study helped me process those experiences. It has been about a year since the most intense storm was finally dispelled, and I am grateful to be in the calm now. I will certainly enjoy this reprieve, but I am not so naive as to think that I will never have a trial again.
I do not know which challenges still lay ahead, I only know that they are out there and that they will be truly difficult. In fact I know that they will exceed me, and that the only way through them will be to rely on my Savior.
For me this study was about both looking back towards past storms and forward to next ones, using my bubble of peace to see things clearly while I can. In this study there were three main themes that I hope to remember the next time I’m surrounded by wind and rain.
All are subject to storms
We are not spared the trials of life by being faithful. Nor are we spared the trials of life by giving in to the world. I have heard both of these fictions preached, and each is meant to dissuade one’s faith.
The quietly content saint still has to face the realities of loss and death, and the prospering hedonist still has to face the anguish of a dissatisfied conscience. Everyone loses things, no matter what other comforts they have. Everyone dies, no matter what well-being they have enjoyed. Even the Son of God was not free from suffering.
Some storms can be avoided, and we’re certainly justified in sailing around the ones that we can. But some storms simply have to be gone through, and it doesn’t do one any good to deny it.
Matthew 27:46- And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
God Supports us…and lets us stand alone
Perhaps the most common mistake we make when we ride into a storm is to try and fix it ourselves. We have this stupid pride that makes us feel that this is our problem, so we have to solve it alone. Or perhaps we feel embarrassed because we willfully steered ourselves into this problem, so we don’t feel worthy of receiving aid. Either way, we deny the aid of God, and also of the friends that he sends along our way.
Frankly God doesn’t care about either your pride or your guilt. Those simply do not matter to Him when there is a child that needs saving. So why not ask if this storm can be removed? And if it cannot be removed, why not ask if it can be lightened?
But how should you feel if you do ask for help and it isn’t given? Because sometimes God doesn’t intervene, or at least not in ways that we can recognize. Sometimes He leaves you to stand on our own. In this moment remember that He is leaving you to stand on your own, not to be broken on your own. He only withdraws when He knows you have the strength to ride this one out solo. His absence is His vote of confidence in you.
Matthew 23:37- How often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings,
2 Corinthians 4:8-9- We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;
Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;
Our goal is to quiet the storm within
We have to make peace with the fact that many things in this world are beyond our control. Bad things will happen to us and those we love, and we will not be able to prevent it. Even with God’s help, some things will remain out of our control.
At least so it is for storms external. For the storms within, though, these can be controlled. We can live in perfect tranquility, never mind the raging all around. How is this possible? Well, by ourselves it isn’t. To achieve this state of peace we have to have help from a being that both has the power of a God, but also the humanity of a man.
For this reason Jesus Christ was sent to endure, and defeat, all worldly pain. His great sacrifice does not take the evil out of the world (not yet, anyway). But what it does do is take the evil out of our hearts. Truly we say that he overcame the world, but we do not see that victory universally. For now the manifestation of it is only localized within individuals.
Alma 7:12- And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.
John 16:33- In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.