Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word. (Psalm 119:67)
When the sky is blue, the clouds are fleecy, and the sun is brightly shining, you and I have a tendency to live unreflectively. When things are going well, we have a natural tendency to settle into unreflective ruts of routine. But God wants us to live reflectively, and often He will send a seasonal storm to recenter our attention on what matters most in life. Read on, and I hope you will be greatly encouraged this day!
Storms come in all sizes. Some are quick and mild, while others rage on and on and on. From losing a sale to losing a job to losing a loved one, storms are promised to come our way. Some of the storms are terrible, like what Paul and Timothy suffered, and their despair was almost palpable.
We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so we despaired even of life. (2 Corinthians 1:8)
We are not given any inspired insight into what the hardships Paul and Timothy suffered actually were, but they were enough to drive them to despair even of life itself. But Paul did not stay mired in the “Slough of Despond.” He immediately provided us with the necessary instruction to help us get through any storm we are facing today.
Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. (2 Corinthians 1:9)
The storms Paul and Timothy faced were ultimately for God’s glory and their good, and those storms caused these two men of God to rely more and more upon their God and to fix their thoughts on Him. It never ceases to amaze me just how much more reflectively I live my life when the storm winds begin to blow. They have a tendency to set my priorities straight. Storms show us what matters most, and they are designed to lead us back into the shadow of the cross to reflect upon all that God in Christ has done and is doing for us.
In short, storms are the undoing of living unreflectively. But we need not wait for storms winds to redirect our attention; we can decide in advance that we will set our hope not on what is seen, but what is unseen. Remember, Christian, regardless of the trials we face in the here and now, there is a “city that is to come whose designer and builder is God” (Hebrews 11:10), a divine dwelling where all storm winds we be stilled and despair will be as far from us as the east is from the west.
So . . . what should you be reflecting upon today?
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!