Two Timeless Truths from 2020

If nothing else, 2020 has either taught us or reminded us of two timeless truths. First, we are not in control. “Control” is really nothing more than an illusion. We do not have control over anything really. Oh, we think we do, our lives feel safer that way, until BAM! something unexpected happens.

I am reminded of a verse from the book of Proverbs; “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth.” (Prov 27:1) No matter how diligently and wisely we plan, we never know what a day holds.

But we can sure make plans, can’t we? Remember how booked (and even overbooked) our 2020 calendars were in January 2020, then by mid-March events were being canceled left and right. Sports seasons were canceled, travel plans were canceled, church services & events were canceled, family events were canceled, and concerts were canceled.

Our lives changed unexpectedly, and our lives went sideways in a few short weeks, proving once again we are not in control. Which reminds me of the second timeless truth, we may not have control over tomorrow, but we know the One who is already in our tomorrow. 

God is 100% sovereign, but that is not the same as 100% of everything that happens is God’s plan. Evil exists. Stupid exist. Bad decisions exist. Faulty DNA and rogue cells exist. Our world is deteriorating, yet we cling to the hope that somehow “we” have control, or that since God is sovereign, only good things we happen for us and to us. 

But in the midst of all the chaos, God always has a plan. The key to understanding his plan is to let go of the lie that we are in control, and therefore, since we are not in control, we need to run full speed toward the only One who is in control, who can calm the storm OR calm us in the midst of the storm.

God being sovereign and being in control, doesn’t mean bad “stormy” days won’t come, but it does mean that even on the darkest, stormiest, bad day, we are not alone. God was already there waiting for us. It means he is not ever caught off-guard, overwhelmed, perplexed, or bewildered. He may choose to calm that storm, or He may choose to calm us, but either way, He is in control.

If you are not walking in peace, then it is directly related to how you view the need for control and how you tie that to being safe and secure. It is much easier to have peace when you choose to relax in knowing the One who is already in your tomorrow, regardless what may come. God’s promise is not to rescue us from our struggles, but rather to place Himself in the middle of our struggles with us.

As we enter 2021 hopeful and moving forward as best we can, let’s remember God is in control. Whether He chooses to calm the storm, or calm us, let’s continue persevering, and moving forward.

Surviving the Storms of Life

Life is full of figurative storms. Some of the storms we face are financial, some are relational, and some storms regard our health, and so on. We each realize that we have either just weathered a storm, are currently in a storm, or are about to endure a storm. Storms are simply a normal part of our reality. In light of that allow me to make nine observations about the storms of life using the story of Jesus and Peter walking on the water found in Matt. 14:22-33.

  1. Storms may come into the lives of Christians even though they are obeying Jesus (v.22). Life happens! God always wants to “give you life to the fullest”, and the enemy always “wants to steal, kill, and destroy” (John 10:10). Everything life and the enemy want to use to destroy you, God will use to make you exactly who He wants you to be; the testing of our faith develops perseverance. And “perseverance must finish its work so that we become mature and complete and lack nothing” (James 1:2-4).
  1. Sometimes what starts to be a routine journey can become a real battle (v.24). Have I mentioned that life happens yet?! No matter how perfect our planning process may be, we really have no idea what a day may have in store for us. Sometimes we see the storm coming…sometimes it catches us unaware and unprepared. The good news is that God is never caught off guard. He is already in your tomorrow.
  1. Times of crisis are merely opportunities for God’s intervention (v.27). God specializes in things once thought impossible! Miracles only happen in a place I call Miracle Territory. Peter could walk on the water until he got out of the boat. Get out of the boat of your comfort zone… God’s got everything under control.
  1. Sometimes God calms the storm, other times God chooses to calm the person (v.29-30). Trust Him! He knows you better than you know yourself. Good day or tough day… God always has a plan.
  1. Fear and doubt will cause a Christ-follower to sink into their circumstances (v.30). As true Christ-followers develop spiritually they learn to “walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7). Fear and doubt always paralyzes God’s redemptive potential in and through you!
  1. Jesus will respond immediately when a believer calls (v.31). When you can’t see God’s hand working on your behalf, you can always trust His heart. God will never leave you or forsake you. In your darkest moment He is there.
  1. How we respond to life’s lessons showcases our spiritual maturity (v.31). When you squeeze a lemon you get lemon juice because that is what is inside the lemon. We can present ourselves to be sweet on the good days but when we are squeezed by the storms of life what comes out is what is really inside of us.
  1. When the lesson is over, Jesus will calm the storm (v.32). What a truth!!! By the way, the lesson is over when the lesson has been learned.
  1. The level of trust you have in Jesus depends greatly on whether you see his deeds or you know His ways (v.33). God is always faith and true! His grace will always be sufficient and His power will always be immeasurably more than all you can ask or imagine! You can trust Him!