Facing the Storms of Life
By Leonard Traina
We go through many trials in life varying in degree of difficulty. In order to effectively navigate the storms of life we need strive to understand the origin of each trial. There are four basic origins from which trials arise. These four are self, Satan, God, and the natural order of life. Therefore, when facing a difficult time in your life you need to seek to determine if this trial is self inflicted, initiated by Satan or God, or if it is just a factor of life.
Self Inflicted Trials: Often we find ourselves in times of trouble because of decisions we have made, and the results cannot be attributed to anyone or anything else. We caused the trouble and we need to take the proper steps to overcome it. A good example is a person who finds them self in debt due to the uncontrolled use of credit cards. Instead of blaming others, one needs to be responsible. We must take steps to eliminate that debt as soon as possible, and learn good stewardship principles to keep from falling into the same trap again.
Satan Initiated Trials: A comedian once said, “The devil made me do it.” Satan cannot force us to do anything, but he can cause us to experience storms in this life. In the Book of Job we see him addressing God regarding Job. He is given permission to create all kinds of havoc in Job’s life. His goal is to sidetrack us from the good God would have us do. He does not want us to help the poor, care for the needy, or share the gospel. If we determine that Satan is the reason for the storm, we should pray against him. The Bible promises, “I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." “Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven.” (Mat. 18:18-19 NIV). Prayer is our greatest weapon against our adversary, Satan.
God Initiated Trials: There are times when God will bring trials into our lives. His purpose will always be to teach us a new lesson or to redirect us. The prophet Jonah was running away from God’s purpose for his life and God brought a strong storm against the ship. Eventually Jonah was swallowed by a great fish, and held until he was realigned with God’s purpose for his life (Jonah 1-2). That is radical redirection. God may be a bit more subtle in your life, but His purpose is always with your best interest in mind.
Natural Order of Life Trials: Not every storm in life has to be attributed to a battle between good and evil or caused by us personally. Some problems exist due to society’s poor choices or by the natural laws of nature. We did not cause the housing market collapse, but are affected by it. Katrina does not have to be a judgment of God or an attack of Satan. The natural laws of nature reveal that storms will occur, they are a part of life on earth. Though the people in New Orleans did not cause Katrina, they have been affected by it. If a person were to hold us up, neither we, nor God, nor Satan has to be the cause of the trial. It can be as simple as a robber making a willful choice to break the law.
Determining the cause will help you establish the plan of action required to overcome. When it is self-inflicted, we must take responsibility and steps to overcome the problem, striving to prevent repeating the same storm. When it is Satan, prayer and diligence are required. We must not give up or give in. If he stands against us, we must be on the right track. When it is God, we must seek His will and purpose for our lives, and submit to His leading. When it is a natural order of life, we must endure the storm, lean on God and trust Him to protect and provide through the duration of the storm. He will get us through. Remember, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28 NIV)