By Joy West
Wild winds drove the relentless rain chaotically in all directions. Balcony plants fell over, dumping a muddy mess of potting soil, and breaking delicate branches — pretty minor. More serious consequences in the area were scattered debris, downed trees, and flooding, causing road and railway closures.
Over 40% of Portugal’s borders touch the Atlantic Ocean, and experience frequent wind and sometimes very violent, hurricane-force storms. While riding out the storm may seem endless or even fearful, there is always an after.
I love to go for a walk a day or two after the storm, breathing in the fresh air purified by the wind and rain, enjoying clear, blue skies, and meditating on the spiritual lessons I can glean.
Unlike weather-related tempests, life’s upheavals can last weeks, months, or even years. We experience many storms: physical challenges, emotional crises, spiritual trials, relational conflicts, financial difficulties, the death of a loved one, etc. I’ve survived all of these — some on many occasions.
Sometimes the storm will set us back, injure us, or might even break us. However, if we are willing, each storm can teach us more about who God is, who we are, and our areas of strengths and weaknesses.
When reviewing the damage left by the storm’s path, we can assess what changes and adjustments we might need to make so we are more prepared to withstand the opposing forces the next time a stormy trial approaches.
What areas of strength helped me endure the trial or storm, and how might I fortify them?
A strong prayer life?
A solid commitment to wisely steward God’s blessings?
What are some areas of weakness that were damaged or broken during the storm, and how might I, with God’s wisdom, repair or restore them?
A lack of accountability?
Look up: God is your source of strength and endurance
Look down: Check your foundation
Look inward: Don’t compromise your values and convictions
Look around: Seek community, a trusted friend
Job 23:10-12 says it well:
But He knows where I am going. And when He tests me, I will come out as pure as gold.
For I have stayed on God’s paths; I have followed his ways and not turned aside.
I have not departed from his commands, but have treasured his words more than daily food.