Thankful in the Storms of Life

  Suzibw By Suzi Hanson

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Philippians 4:4

It’s hard to swallow these words while life around you feels like it’s falling apart. Rejoice? How is one supposed to rejoice in the loss of a child…or the loss of your only source of income? How about depression and anxiety? Rejoice?

Some storms may last a moment while others feel as though they’ll never end. The past two years have been difficult for my family. In January of 2014, my stepfather, John, suddenly and unexpectedly passed, leaving us all in a wake of shock and disbelief. Two weeks later, brain tumors were found in my stepmother, Janice, and ultimately she was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. We had been hit with a double blow. 2014 was difficult, grieving the loss of one loved one and watching another battle cancer. By September, Janice was in remission and cancer-free. Praise the Lord! In November, though, we learned my brother-in-law, David, who was a quadriplegic due to a freak accident five years prior, would not live much longer. And after Thanksgiving, my stepmother became ill and was also fighting for her life.

In the midst of life’s storms, it can be very dark. The world around you keeps moving forward, but you are stuck. The pain is so intense you have no idea how you will ever move on from this place. Fear can be crippling. Paralyzed by our situation, we find it extremely hard to get out of bed. Rejoice?

If anyone knew about hardships, it was Paul. He was frequently imprisoned, flogged, exposed to death, beaten, pelted with stones, shipwrecked, and went days without food to name a few. (2 Corinthians 11:16-33) In fact, Paul was sitting in a Roman prison cell when he wrote these words: Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8

We have a very real enemy who will pounce on any opportunity to snatch us away from our heavenly Father. The storms of life are a great place for Satan to wreak havoc  if we give him a foothold. It would be very easy to lose faith during seasons of pain.

Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. 1 Peter 5:9

Faith: believing God. It’s easy to believe in God but sometimes impossible to believe Him when walking through hardships and tragedy. When life goes crazy, we must believe God’s good and perfect promises will prevail in our lives. I encourage you to stand firm in the faith! My family was surrounded with sorrow and grief. It was no easy task, but I battled to believe God for His promises even though I couldn’t see any.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

Stand firm and do not give way to fear and anxiety but allow the peace of God to transcend above whatever you may be going through. Submit yourselves in prayer and present, with thanksgiving, your burdens to the Lord. Seek His promises in the Bible and pray them over your circumstances. Turn your fear into praise! On my knees, I surrendered my brother-in-law, who was not a believer, and my stepmother to Jesus. I continued to pray His word over their lives. David passed on December 15. Two days before he took his last breath, my husband had led him to Christ! What tears of joy! After being a prisoner in his own body for the previous five years, he is now running free with Christ in Heaven. Janice passed on December 23 and, in the months before her death, we watched her become more intimate with the Lord, drawing into Him. Even in death, God is good!

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:8-9

The mind is a powerful tool, and Satan will use it against us as much as we will allow him to. Allowing our thoughts to focus on the negative only gives Satan more power over us, pulling us further from God’s peace. We must be deliberate in filling our minds with thoughts that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable or excellent, no matter our situation.

Sisters, this doesn’t mean that we will  never grieve, be full of sorrow or angry at our circumstances. We will. But we must fall to our knees surrendering ourselves to the Lord and be intentional about keeping our thoughts on Him and His many promises, or our enemy will devour us and take us out while we are weak.

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 1 Peter 5:10

SISTERS Challenge:

Search God’s word for His promises regarding your situation and pray them over your circumstances.

Grab your thankfulness journal (What! You haven’t started this yet?) and begin writing all that you are thankful for. Focus on these things.

Be intentional each day, each minute if needed, to focus on all God is doing in the midst of your storm. If you can’t see it yet, thank Him in faith.

6 thoughts on “Thankful in the Storms of Life

  1. Katherine says:

    Are there any people who meet in the upstate of SC to watch Life Church sermons? My husband and I love watching, but would love even more to have a campus or group of people in our area who also love life Church.
    Thanks!

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  2. lupita says:

    I am so grateful to God for all his blessing but I am in need for prayer for my family. I am grabbing hold of my faith like never before but life is trying to tear me apart from it. I found out in March that my husband had started an affair in January with a woman who claimed to be Christian. At first when i reached out to her she claimed she had no idea because my husband had initially told her that he was a widowed father of 2 boys (we have 3 kids 2boys/1girl & he has an older daughter from a prev relationship), he later told her he was divorced, so he did lie to her several times (&may still be) but I told her all the truth when i confronted her. She advised and encouraged me to leave him because he was a “pathological liar” and she said she would never talk to him again,,,but she deceived me because I found out that she was still talking w/my husband (& might still be) and I believe that she just wanted me to give up on my husband so that she could have him. We met at 14 (he was my brothers best friend & it took him 4 years for me to finally give him a chance) and have been together for over 20 years and married 17 so my husband was blinded so much by the carefree life that he experienced with her (no kids, no responsibilities, plus she has a career (i gave up mine so he could excel & elevate himself as the husband he was) and he loves money) that he changed so much with both the kids and I,,,so much so that he became physically violent again (unfortunately he’s done this before about 13years ago when our kids we’re so little; he got overwhelmed w/all the responsibility while his friends “party” so he got involved w/drugs and a stripper who was arrested for prostitution, but i prayed for him then as i do now and he changed his ways,,,wow this sounds so bad but he always righted his wrongs) and this time he hit me again but in front of our oldest daughter and was arrested again. I pray and continue to pray that he finds God and lets him into his heart (he always said that God didn’t exist because if he did he wouldn’t have allowed his mother, sister and he to have suffered so much at the hands of his father, but never realized he was in a cycle himself,,,but i know he does believe very deep inside because at hard times he would always ask me to “do that prayer thing that you do”) but now it seems as though he is spending all his time (cancels so many supervised visits), money (is currently in arrears over $10,000 in support) and energy on being with this so called “Christian” woman instead of seeking God and fixing his mistakes and restoring his marriage and family. The kids and I have been thru so much these past few months (though the older 2 are so hurt that they say they don’t want him around) this Thanksgiving it was clear that they along with myself are feeling just as sad, hurt and abandoned as my 7 year old son was over what seems to be the loss of their father and my husband. My youngest prays the following everyday “God please go into Daddy’s heart and put us back in there and bring Daddy back to us”. I know that he has it in him to be a better husband and father but the devils temptations seem to be far more appealing to him than Gods light and righteous way. Like i have said, I have grabbed ahold of my faith like never before and I believe in Gods word about marriage being sacred and forever and though the divorce proceedings have started I pray that God hears my sons prayers and he may enter my husbands heart so that he too can understand the sanctity of marriage and restore, renew, revive and strengthen both our marriage and our family,,,so please help us in prayers for our family. I also pray and ask that you pray for this woman as well so that she may truly become the Christian woman she claims to be. Thank you and I am sorry for the tmi (too much information) but my heart just rambled.

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    • lcsisters says:

      My heart aches for your situation. I’m so encouraged to hear you are hanging onto your faith! Your children are watching and you are setting a great example. Keep your eyes on Jesus. It sounds like you are but want to remind you that He is right there in the middle of it all with you & your children. I’m not sure if you’ve seen the movie War Room or not but it’s about going to war for your situation in prayer. You and your kids can write your specific prayers down and put them up in your “war room.” This is a great way to involve them in finding Gods promises in His word and praying them over your family. Thank you for sharing with us and please know that I will be keeping your family in my prayers.

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      • luvless1 says:

        Thank you!!! Yes, the kids and I did go see this movie. The kids and I smiled because my closet is where I go to pray, think and cry. I appreciate your prayers and look forward to Gods miracle in my husband, our marriage and family.

        Like

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