6 ways to abide that help you survive your perfect storm

Marko Joensuu         No comments
One of the hardest things you will ever face is maintaining the course and avoiding being spiritually shipwrecked when facing a perfect storm—a season when you are hit with setback after setback in almost every area of your life. 

And these storms will surely come. Jesus says in Matthew 7:24-27,

“Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”

No one will go through life without major storms, and disasters rarely hit us individually—often you are hit with many disasters and difficulties at the same time.

The Lord’s Prayer says, “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” Another translation says, “Save us from the time of trial, and deliver us from evil.”

In John 16:33 Jesus says, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” 

It seems that Jesus promises us tribulations, but He asks us to be cheerful, regardless. Looking back at a particularly lengthy season of trials in our lives, lasting for several years, I can see several things that have helped us to be cheerful and progress toward the fulfilment of the visions God has give to us as a family.

1. Abide in God’s presence

Psalm 91:9-11 says, 

“Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge, even the Most High, your dwelling place, no evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling; for He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways.”

There is a protection that seeking God’s presence brings into our lives. But what torments us most in times of storms is fear. Even to that, the presence of God gives an antidote. 

1 John 4:18 says, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment.”

Often, the fear you experience has a demonic source, but as you abide in God’s love, your discernment begins to increase; often God’s presence literally pushes out the demonic fear.

Abiding in God’s presence is necessary for the gift of discerning spirits to develop. The gift of discerning spirits helps you worry less, as you begin to disentangle the natural from the supernatural in your circumstances. You are no more reacting to fear the same way as you used to, as you are able to discern its source and focus on dealing with the issues that you are able to change, rather than warring against supernatural with natural solutions.

2. Abide in helping others

In times of storm you might feel that you need help more than most, but in those times, it is vital that you keep on helping other people. This help is often not financial. But times of testing will demonstrate to God and principalities that our love for others is genuine. 

Paul says in Ephesians 3:10, that the “manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places”.

Like with Job who was tested, it is through us that God demonstrates to the principalities the wisdom of His plan and the fact that life without rebellion, with submitting to God, is possible.

And it is the will of God that we demonstrate His generosity, even when we feel that we have nothing. This is because generosity is in His nature.

This is the place where God will release the consequences of the principle of sowing and reaping in our lives—in good or bad. 

3. Abide in forgiveness

As with Job, storms will test our every relationship, and the devil will seek to bring disunity into your most vital relationships—family, work, friends, church. He will seek to give a negative spin to every disappointment and every indifferent word by a friend, so that you will begin to feel that you are completely on your own. But it is God that carries you and not your friends, and even if it feels like your friends are failing you, it might be because God has already prepared another way out.

It is imperative that you maintain a spirit of forgiveness and don’t hold any grudges. So many Christians survive a perfect storm but hold grudges, and in the long term, this will lead to a failure of your ministry, and often block your blessing.

Jesus prayed on the cross: “Forgive them, as they don’t know what they are doing.” Like Job’s friends, most of our friends don’t know what they are doing, when we go through the storm! 

Job 42:10 says, “And the Lord restored Job’s losses when he prayed for his friends.”

Often, God brings restoration to you only when you forgive those who have misunderstood you and hurt you most.

4. Abide in the Word

Many Christians take following the teachings of Jesus as optional, as they have misunderstood what grace is. Yet Jesus says, after preaching the Sermon on the Mount: 

“Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock.”

Following the teachings of Jesus makes the foundations of our life secure. It is for our own benefit. 

Abiding in the Word is vital—it is hard to follow the teaching of Jesus if you don’t even know what they are! We must continually remind ourselves about what God has promised to us, and how He has called us to live—and especially in times when our circumstances seem to witness against the Word of God.

5. Abide in your personal promises

Paul says in 1 Timothy 1:18, “This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare”.

Often, storms rise against these very promises, and it might feel that any other direction but the one God has asked you to go is a lot safer to take than the one He’s asked you to follow.

But testing is the way those personal promises become flesh in you—they aren’t truly yours, until you fight for them.

2 Peter 1:5-10 says, 

"But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble."

These are all things you will need in a storm, and together, they make your call and election sure—could it be that God lets this work be tested in us through storms?

6. Abide in the right season

On the other hand, many Christians are overtly consumed by tomorrow and by God’s promises for tomorrow, and they make grave mistakes in their lives, as they try to step into those promises during a storm.

But no fisherman tries to cast nets during a heavy storm, rather they look for a safe harbour to survive it. Otherwise, they might lose the nets, or even worse, the boat.

But many Christians are trying to cast the nets of their future during a perfect storm, when all they should do is to stay in the safe harbour. But they aren't discerning, and in fact, they see defying the storm as demonstrating their faith. Yet faith needs discernment and wisdom to work.

But once the storm is over, the fisherman takes the boat and casts the nets. 

It is vital to understand the seasons of life. I have learned the hard way that the stormy seasons are often the times when the work God has already done needs protecting and that you need to be more mindful of each new initiative in your life than usual, taking steps of faith but ensuring that anything new in your life really comes from God.

But because of God’s promises, many Christians only prepare for good weather, not taking any precautions for the storm. And then they are disappointed when the promised good season never materialises. But had they been discerning, they might have heard the voice of God telling them to wait, until the storm is over.

Storms often deplete us of our resources. But after the perfect storm, the season often shifts, and like with Job, God often compensates you with more than a double of what you have lost in the storm.

You can connect with Marko on Twitter @markojoensuu and on Facebook at facebook.com/marko.joensuu or by visiting markojoensuu.com.

Published by Marko Joensuu

Marko Joensuu has worked for over sixteen years in the publishing and media ministries of Kensington Temple. He is an author, publisher and screenwriter.
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