As I look back over my life, I realize that it was in and through the most challenging storms that God allowed for the deepest transformation. One of those seasons occurred over the course of three years during which time we had a premature child, walked through ten months of cancer with my dad which ended in his death, moved across the country, fully renovated a house to keep from losing it during the real estate crash, and waited for my husband to return from a seven-month deployment to Iraq in the middle of wartime. As I look back at this season though, these challenging events are blurred by watching our child grow into a healthy boy, sweet memories of experiencing a new part of the country, recounting precious stories of “Papa” with my boys, deep moments of prayer for my husband’s safety, and getting to experience the welcome home embrace. Don’t get me wrong; there really isn’t much in me that invites a storm. Yet, nothing compares to the sweet aroma that follows.

God does something inside us during a storm if we are willing. In order to allow that transformation to occur though, we have to let go and relinquish control. Author David Benner says, “the abundant life promised us in Christ comes not from grasping but from releasing. It comes not from striving but from relinquishing. It comes not so much from taking as from giving. Surrender is the foundational dynamic of Christan freedom.” To live as Christ intended is to experience the freedom that comes from letting go!

In Acts 27:21-26, Paul tells his shipmates to not fear; the storm would likely ruin their ship, but it would not ruin them. Paul did not deny the reality of the storm but instead embraced the fact that God would get them through it. They had to come to the realization that their ship would be destroyed, they would go without food and no matter how hard they tried, the storm was inevitable. They had to choose whether or not to believe the message that had been spoken to Paul, embrace God’s word that they would survive, and let go of control, or fight to the bitter end and further endanger their lives.

I would guess that there are many storms in your life that you would prefer to forget. Take a moment to think about how God was forming you in and through those trials. Where did he show up? Can the difficult memories exist as a colorful backdrop to the beauty of God’s provision? Don’t let the bitterness of difficult memories prevent you from recalling the sweet aroma that follows the storm.

Lynette Fuson
Director of Care & Counseling

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