Remember our focal passage:
“Now the people became like those who complain of adversity in the hearing of the Lord; and when the Lord heard it, His anger was kindled, and the fire of the Lord burned among them and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp. The people therefore cried out to Moses, and Moses prayed to the Lord and the fire died out. So the name of that place was called Taberah, because the fire of the Lord burned among them” ~ Numbers 11:1-3, NASB.
Yesterday we looked at entering the eye of the storm where calmer waters reside by trusting God’s hand, aim and desire toward us to be for our good, to give us a hope and a future. And we enter in by believing God’s word of promise to us in the given situation that is driving the storm. Today we begin to look at what I have learned in storm seasons that help me to remain in the eye, unhindered, and how remaining there equips me to better deal with the storms winds when they reach to me or when God sends me into them for a purposeful time of ministry or training.
In the Eye of many storms in life, I learned:
Spurts of earnest, faith-filled, God-inspired prayer is better than my many words. Through the years of a very long storm in my life, I felt like I was praying little while sitting in the Eye of trust in God, but what I found is that I was truly learning to pray with greater effectiveness. When prayer came to me it was Spirit-led, often Word-inspired, focused, and faith filled as opposed to my fretting cries. I found my own faith strengthened in the praying, knowing the Words were God-inspired, and therefore, were already fulfilled in the heavens. Knowing that allowed me to remain secure in His rest and to know His presence in the storm. As I watch many prayers answered and as I wait for still more, my trust grows stronger and rest comes easier.
It is vital to distinguish what I can do from what God must do, and do that which I can do. Not only has my prayer life strengthened through my storm dealings, but I have learned greater strength for more effective action.
Women / moms usually are “fixers”. We are equipped by God to protect and care for the children we bear. Men / dads are protectors and providers for their families. It is difficult when our children get older and we – still having those attributes ingrained into us, find ourselves hindered from the ability to do and be what we have always done and been because of the right of choice one has as an adult child or a mate. Resting in Father equips me to hear and receive His instruction for what I can do in a given situation. And when He tells us to do something, He equips us in every way and supplies all our need for doing His will. Once the ordained task is accomplished, I return to rest-mode and watch to see the Lord move. I can better hear and receive His promise for what He will do as I sit in quiet trust in Him and believe His Word to me. Ability to trust Him in the things I can’t do anything about and to be more effective in the things I can do to affect a situation further equips me to enter into and remain in His rest.
Consequences belong to the Lord for His use in maturing the one suffering them. There comes a time in the life of every person when they have to begin to mature and make choices for good or evil for themselves; and they, like I had to do, must face the consequences for their choices. Fretting and complaining does not help that fact when we are in the situations wrought from consequence, our own or that of others. They only aid in stirring up the disciplining winds of the storm; and those disciplining winds, if they go unnoticed or ignored in rebellion, can quickly turn to a firestorm as Father turns up the heat of discipline. Trusting that God has purpose to work through the consequences we are watching unfold and doing our part to cooperate with Him equips us to weather the storm, find and remain in the eye.
Realize when consequence is in play and let it do its work. Fretting and fuming often lead to laying blame.
The blame game that began in the garden with the first fall continues in our day to make it difficult when we have to face consequences for our choices. Our world works more and more to remove consequence from the equation by making blaming others acceptable, and by removing the incentive of winners and losers from the equation of life. Both ends of that continuum destroy our ability to benefit and learn through consequences.
The blame game seeks to make the consequence of our choices someone else’s fault, making us the fall guy in our own eyes. That breeds bitterness and anger, and it leads to failure to learn from mistakes we will not take credit for making. We cannot face consequences and grow up when we refuse to acknowledge they are ours to bear.
On that same thread, parents or significant others, trying to protect a child or loved one from their consequences by blaming self for some failure on our part seldom helps them grow up. Some of the consequence may be ours to deal with, but they must face their part to benefit from the outcome of choices made. The blame game hinders the effectiveness of God’s purpose in allowing the storms. Owning ones part and repentance, while allowing others to do the same will win the day. As Isaiah 30:15 warns, “For thus the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, has said, ‘In repentance and rest you will be saved, in quietness and trust is your strength.’ But you were not willing.” A repentant heart and willing obedience are the fertilizer for seeds of righteousness that bears much good fruit out of life’s adversities brought about by consequences for sin.
Never being in a position to work to win anything removes from us the understanding of meeting expectations if we want to win. For us as Christians, our competition is not against one another, so I can see myself as better than you. It is against self, stemming from a desire for Christlikeness, to be as much like Him as we can be. As we defeat our own fleshly desires through surrendered reliance upon God to walk in godliness and in the fullness of God’s ways, we grab the prize of God’s glory and crown. We keep it by continuing to do the same.
Who has to do anything to improve oneself if there is no win or lose? God has winners and losers: winners of crowns and those who lose them; winners of the prize and those who miss the mark and fail to grasp the ring. Consequences help us see where we need to work to better ourselves as the people of God, and the ability to win a crown gives us something to reach for that brings us up higher in life.
When I find myself tossed by storms of life, there is something there for me to learn. And we will continue this segment of this series tomorrow with “In the Hearing of the Lord: The Eye of Calm Waters – Part 3”.