Revelations of God During Stormy Seasons

We learn the most about God during our most violent storms. Have you noticed that? In part because that’s when life squeezes our deepest doubts, sometimes those we’re not even aware of, to the surface. His goal? Complete freedom in every part of our souls.

A woman walking in the rain

I’m dramatically different than the fear-driven woman who left her tight-knit, Southern California community nearly 20 years ago to follow her husband quite literally across the country. For a job he quit less than a year later.

Some of you may be familiar with this part of my story. After a period of homelessness, God plucked me out of my mess, with the help of my husband, and deposited me in middle-class suburbia where I found stability. I would’ve been content to stay there, in my not-yet-healed but comfortable (at least, on the surface) state. But God wanted to take me deeper.

He used my husband’s unemployment, to do so. Initially, I did not handle my anxiety well. In fact, I felt and acted much like a frightened animal who’d been backed into a corner. Like a victim to my circumstances, and really, to my husband’s choices. That was, in part, what made the situation so difficult. While I’d entrusted my eternal security to Christ, for everything else, I largely relied on my husband and his paycheck.

And suddenly, that was gone. The idol I’d erected and fortified with every bank deposit had crumbled beneath me. My fear told me that the ground I stood on was shaky, unable to support me. But it wasn’t. In truth, God was helping me plant my feet on my sure foundation, which had held me all along, Jesus Christ. He was also uprooting a major lie that made it hard for me to fully experience His love and rest in His grace—that God had favorites.

Do you ever feel that way? That someone else’s prayers will carry more weight or that they deserve more blessings than you do? Or maybe the converse—that you’re the one who’s more deserving?

While I didn’t realize it at the time, deep down I believed every provision or protection our family received came because of my husband, and in spite of me. Therefore, it made sense to me whenever something good occurred. My husband was an honest, hard working man. A Purdue graduate who’d always seemed to make all the right choices and do all the right things.

Until that winter in Louisiana. Suddenly, his actions seemed so … irresponsible. Reactionary, illogical, and even selfish.

Would God still answer our prayers?

As I wrestled with Him over my inadequacies, God spoke to my deepest need, and it wasn’t to see myself as God’s redeemed and cherished child. Oh, that was important, for sure. But I needed so much more than an accurate view of myself. I needed an accurate view of God, my Savior and Redeemer, the One who covers my insufficiencies and who loves the druggie and preacher alike. (Rom. 2:11)     

Throughout Scripture, we see examples of this truth: Without life’s storms, we might never discover the strength and security of our true anchor. Consider the disciples as they traveled, with Jesus, across the Sea of Galilee. By this point in their journey, they’d witnessed so much. Jesus feeding thousands from one boy’s lunch, casting out demons, and healing the blind. I imagine they watched each miracle in awe, maybe even slack-jawed, probably praising God the Father for the provisions through His Son.

Anchor and a cloudy sky

Until the circumstances became more personal. Potentially deadly. Scripture tells us, while they were heading to the region of the Gadarenes, a violent storm hit. One commentator suggests their boat was battered by hurricane-strength winds. It dumped enough water into their boat, they’d begun to sink.

But while they frantically fought to survive, their beloved Master slept. Seemingly oblivious to their plight. Waking Him, (and I envision them shaking Him rather roughly here), the disciples said, “Teacher, don’t You care if we drown?” (Mark 4:38, NIV).

Have you ever been there?

God, don’t You care that my marriage is falling apart?

Don’t You care about my pain?

Don’t You care that my child is struggling so horribly?

I imagine we can all understand how the disciples felt. But Jesus wasn’t unengaged or callous. He was using the situation to reveal some key truths I’m certain planted their feet on the solid rock of Christ just as surely as my period of chaos did the same for me. Through the storm, Jesus revealed, in a powerfully vivid way, that He was the Great I Am.

You see, the ancient Jews had heard stories of godly men empowered to heal the leprous (2 Kings 5) and even bring life to the dead (1 Kings 17), as Jesus had indeed done. Up until this moment, however, He hadn’t demonstrated His power over creation. According to Jewish tradition, only God Almighty “had absolute authority over waves and sea.[1]

This is why, once Jesus quieted the wind and waves, “They were terrified and asked each other, ‘Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey Him!’” (Mark 4:41, NIV).

They had encountered not just a Rabbi or even an anointed healer but God in the flesh.

It’s during our most trying circumstances that we discover who God truly is and learn to rest in that.

Can you share a time when God used a particularly challenging situation to reveal more of Himself? How might seeking to catch glimpses of His glory, who He is, during frightening seasons help increase our peace?

Share your thoughts with us in the comments below or join the conversation on Facebook.

[1] Keener, Craig S. “The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament. (1993) InterVarsity Press: Downers Grove, IL

For those following our chronological reading plan through the New Testament …

Bible reading plan image week 20

Connect with Jennifer on Instagram and Facebook.

Courageously Living as Expressions of God (Elohim) – Ep. 59 Faith Over Fear

This is the first episode of a new series we are kicking off – The Names of God Series! God hand-crafted you and I to live as vivid and beautiful expressions of Elohim, Creator God. The more we step into who God created us to be, fully expressing our true selves, the more God’s nature shines within us. This is precisely why Satan, our spiritual enemy, works so hard to defeat us. He’ll tell us we’re not good enough, will never amount to anything, and would be better off fading into the sea of conformity. But God calls us to courageously step into our unique callings so that others can see His light shining within. Follow Jodie: https://www.jodiebailey.com/ https://www.facebook.com/writerjodiebailey https://www.instagram.com/authorjodiebailey/ Follow Jennifer: https://jenniferslatterylivesoutloud.com https://www.facebook.com/JenSlatte https://www.instagram.com/slatteryjennifer/ Find Wholly Loved, at: https://www.WhollyLoved.com Join the private Faith Over Fear Group Here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/442736966614671 Suggested Resource: Faith Over Fear Episode 44: The Courage to Pursue Our Callings Group Discussion Questions: 1. What resonated with you most in today’s episode? 2. What do you think Scripture means when it says humans were created in God’s image? 3. Consider individual people in your social circle or work environment. In what ways can you see God’s nature revealed through them? 4. How easily or readily do you see yourself as a beautiful expression of Elohim, your Maker, and why do you think this is? 5. Consider the diversity of humanity. Why is this diversity a vital expression of Elohim, our Creator? 6. When has someone caused you to discount your unique gifts, interests, or personality? 7. Expanding on your answer to question 4; how did that person’s actions impact your ability or desire to live authentically, as God created you to be? 8. In what ways are you pursuing or living out those unique passions and gifts God planted in your soul? 9. In what ways are you helping others to pursue, grow in, and live out their unique passions and personalities? 10. What is one action step God is calling you to take this week to courageously live as His image bearer, as a vibrant expression of Him? Image Episode Credit: Getty/Ponomariova_Maria
  1. Courageously Living as Expressions of God (Elohim) – Ep. 59
  2. The Courage to Share Your Story – Ep. 58
  3. Overcoming Agoraphobia: Jodie Bailey’s Story
  4. The Courage to Pursue Relational Healing – Ep. 56
  5. Fighting Anxiety by Fighting Stress – Ep. 55

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