The rain is pouring down as I write this…the kind of island storm that comes up seemingly out of nowhere, then within about fifteen minutes leaves. The island storms used to surprise me because many of them would start with a clear blue sky outside then stop two-minutes later. However I’ve gotten used to them so now whenever leaving the house I try to bring an umbrella just in case 🙂
In a way I believe these island storms illustrate the unique challenge of those serving the Lord (missions, pastor, Believers committed to Christ) because the attack of Satan can come at any time. The purpose of these attacks or “ministry storms” is to discourage us from doing the work of God because a difference isn’t really being made. An emotion that’s strengthened because in that moment all you can see is rain (discouraging things).
Island storms of life focus us on the heaviness of our hearts in the moment as the rain pours down. However that emphasis on our present pain causes us to forget Gods future deliverance.
In other words, God takes great glory in delivering us when we cannot deliver ourselves.
Satan wants us to believe the island storms of life come because there is something wrong with us
- You aren’t working hard enough!
- Your just going to fail again (like last time)!
- Make sure nobody finds out you feel this way because they certainly don’t!
But when we view the island storms from the perspective of God’s sovereignty it changes everything.
“That which should distinguish the suffering of believers from unbelievers is the confidence that our suffering is under the control of an all-powerful and all-loving God. Our suffering has meaning and purpose in God’s eternal plan, and He brings or allows to come into our lives only that which is for His glory and our good.” Jerry Bridges, “Trusting God; even when life hurts”
So instead of “whats wrong with me?” our question should be
- What is God trying to teach me in this storm?
- How can I draw closer to Him in this storm?
- And how this storm helping me rest in Him instead of relying on my own strength?
It’s absolutely amazing what an impact this different perspective can make…
Last week I started going through an island storm ministry-wise because the end of School meant shutting down weekday Bible clubs. During the year large groups would come by after school to attend Bible club and the Lord truly blessed. But as you can imagine the more random summer schedule meant nobody showed up at the regular time. This was definitely frustrating since the Lord had allowed me to develop a close relationship with many of those children, and I loved teaching them the Gospel.
However as the storms raindrops subsided earlier this week the Lord helped me realize Summer Bible Club (now called “Bible School”) allows me to create a ministry focused more on the teaching of Scripture one on one. At this point only one boy comes by in the mornings so he can sing bible songs, read a book, listen to a Bible story, and review memory verses (he did bring a friend today) but that is a much deeper teaching ministry than I had with ten to twelve children in the afternoon.
The rain will fall sometimes in ministry and it will break our hearts. But we can be thankful that eventually that island storm will end, and in that moment God will give us something much greater for His Glory.