Last night I lay in bed listening to the pouring rain and howling wind outside. I ticked my mental checklist for having closed windows and locked doors before crawling under the covers, and felt a sense of relief for not having to be exposed to the elements. I was sheltered; I felt safe.
When storms of life rage in and around you, where do you run for shelter? Where do you feel safe? Do you have any such place at all?
Proverbs 18:10 says the Lord is a strong fortress. The godly run to Him and are safe.
David says of God in Psalm 18:2, The Lord is my fort where I can enter and be safe; no one can follow me in and slay me. He is a rugged mountain where I hide; He is my Savior, a rock where none can reach me, and a tower of safety. He is my shield. He is like the strong horn of a mighty fighting bull.
and in Psalm 34:8 he says, O taste and see that the Lord [our God] is good! Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) is the man who trusts and takes refuge in Him.
I want you to think about your idea of God. Who is He to you?
In today's devotional Joyce (Meyer) touches on how important it is to know God's character. There is most certainly a difference between knowing God and the Bible with our intellect vs. the knowledge of God being part of who you are deep in your heart. It is in the storms of life - when the proverbial tea bag lands in hot water - that we find out what is truly inside of us; what we really believe - about ourselves and about God.
What we believe about God - not know about God - will determine how we respond (or react) in our crisis.
I'm sure many are familiar with this childhood song: Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so... Yet, recently, when I was facing some challenges in my life, I realized that, although I know with my mind that God loves me, I still struggle to really believe that He would take care of me because He loves me. I found myself battling with thoughts of not having performed perfectly, therefore God wouldn't bother coming through for me (and it would be as if I've deserved it), or that God might have a "I told you so" attitude toward me and leave me to fend for myself.
Tell me, have you ever seen a loving earthly father call his child to jump off something and then step away to let the child fall? No, the father that loves his child, catches him. And a child who is completely confident that he is loved, jumps without hesitation. The idea of his dad not catching him is non-existent. I love that! Oh, what it must be like to be that assured of God's unwavering love. I believe that God wants each one of His children to have that assurance. He wants us to know that He is love. He doesn't just love us - it is who He is. He cannot be anything else.
God used my crisis to show me that I still had weak spots in really believing that He loves me - to the point where, when I was in trouble, I would have no doubt that I could run to Him - that He would help me - not because of who I am or what I've done, but because of who HE is.
Is there something that God says He is, but that you struggle to believe for yourself? God is a comforter, provider, friend, Father, adviser, guide... What is there that God says He is that still makes you think or feel "Yeah right!" ? If you don't believe it for yourself you may very well not trust Him enough to run to Him in your hour of need. You may even run away from Him. What you choose, based on what you believe, could make the difference between surviving the storm or dying in it.
Who is God to you?
The enemy knows our weaknesses. His intention is to attack us in those areas with the aim of harming and destroying us. God also knows our weaknesses but His intention is to help us see it so that we can work with Him to make us strong so that we are less vulnerable to the enemy's attack, and so we may live more victoriously - not just for ourselves, but also for God's glory and what He wants to do through us.
Whether we win or lose our spiritual battles depends a lot on how well we know God's character (and believe it). Ephesians 6 tells us the importance of our shield of faith, our belt of truth, our breastplate of righteousness, the sword of God's Word, etc. Our weapons lie in knowing who God is and what God says, but equally important is that we believe it. Having a sword but not wielding it, is no good. Knowing that you have several belts hanging in the cupboard doesn't keep your pants up.
Believing turns our knowing into doing.
In as much as our battles is an opportunity for God to show Himself strong, it is also an opportunity for us to find out what we know and what we truly believe about who God is, and who we are in Him, and where we need to make changes and grow.
In order to really get to know God (as supposed to knowing about Him) it is very important that we spend time with Him every day. We are not called to barely get by or just survive. We are called to be more than conquerors in Christ, which is why we need to spend time becoming more intimately acquainted with the greatest Champion of all time. Be sure to pack it down deep so that in your storm you won't have to think twice, or wonder, but that you will know Who to run to!