Sometimes you don’t know what is ahead on your life’s path. We’ll explore that fact in the next two posts of this series. Today, we’ll discuss the times when you know a storm is coming.
We are blessed to live in a time when we have storm warnings. Millions of people recently affected by hurricanes had the opportunity to evacuate because the news of approaching storms was widely broadcasted. Storm warnings are blessings, and they soften the blows when storms hit.
Yet the storms we know are coming still cause hurt, and we need God to help us on our life path during those storms. These are a few times I knew storms were approaching on my life path:
- When my best friend moved away in high school
- When I moved back into my parents’ home after two years away
- When I graduated from college with a minimum wage job and tons of debt
- When confrontation with loved ones became necessary
- When I deposited my final paycheck before becoming a stay-at-home mom
- When my grandpa suffered a stroke and didn’t recover
- When I endured a marriage crisis
Some life stages are predictable storms. They can be storms mixed with sunshine, when the rain falls hard for a few moments before the rainbow appears:
- Newlywed years
- When your child starts school
- When your children become teenagers
- Empty nest
- Aging and declining health
During the times I knew a storm was coming, God was not only waiting for me on the other side. He walked alongside me on the path while the thunder rumbled in the distance. God gave me his Spirit, his Word, and his church in all the times I listed above. Sometimes I took his hand while we walked on the path together, and I welcomed the gifts he provided. Other times I focused more on the gathering clouds than on his comforting presence, and then I suffered from anxiety and discouragement. When I realize he’s with me on the path, my anxiety and discouragement fade away.
Seeking Direction in the Psalms
The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.
Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand.
Psalm 37:23-24 NLT
I love these verses because I picture God as my loving Father, holding my hand as I learn to walk with sure steps. I remember holding my toddler’s hand as she learned to walk. I delighted in her progress; I didn’t focus on her mistakes. I offered my hand to guide her along the smoothest places, even if the road was bumpy. If she took a tumble, I was right there to pick her up and help her get going again. There was no condemnation from me, only delight.
That’s how God sees you on your path, especially when the storm clouds are gathering. He doesn’t expect you to navigate your path perfectly, just as you don’t expect a toddler to learn to walk without stumbling. When the rain falls he stretches out his wings of shelter over you (Psalm 91:4) and uses his rod and staff to keep you safe from danger (Psalm 23:4). He never leaves you alone on the path, not for a moment.
These verses give me hope for my path:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV
The difference is clear when I compare the times I put my trust in God on a storm-threatened path to the times I lean more on my own understanding. When I actively trust in God, the path seems straighter and easier to navigate as the storm hits.
For example, before I knew about boundary-setting in relationships, family conflict nearly tore my heart out. When I learned to study God’s Word for guidance, pray fervently, and seek godly counsel before confronting, the storm still hit but I wasn’t torn apart.
When I take hold of God’s hand and don’t let go, the path is straighter because I trust him for the outcome.
Questions for your reflection:
- What storms are impending in your life path right now?
- How are you leaning into God’s presence as the storm clouds gather?
- How do you use his gifts—Spirit, Word, church—when a storm threatens?
- Do you see yourself as bringing delight to God on your life’s path? Why or why not?
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