Thursday, March 15, 2018

As The Storm Clouds Gather...

"And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:7

When you promise something as significant as the peace that comes from God, the peace that only He can give, you had better know what you are talking about.

Assuring people that they can experience a supernatural level of peace in the midst of painful experiences would be extremely cruel if it cannot be proven in actual seasons of suffering.

Here are two more powerful and precious promises that Paul gave to the Christians at Corinth and at Rome.

"No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted[ beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it." I Corinthians 10:13

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28

Both of these promises testify to the faithfulness of God in times of struggle and suffering. They also confirm the fact that God was in control of his life when his life seemed out of control.

He makes two confident statements about God's involvement in his trials:

1) God knew the limits of Paul's strength and endurance when He permitted the evil one to test him and made sure the trials never tested him beyond those limits.

2) God has the sovereign power to turn the painful experiences of life into positive outcomes!

How could Paul make these bold claims with such confidence? How did he know about God's supernatural peace? How did was he so sure of God's power and sovereignty? 

The answer to each of those questions  is rooted in the personal life experiences the Apostle Paul had had. Paul had faced perils and painful suffering and opposition as he led the Church during chaotic days. And each time he experienced God's presence and power. And each time he discovered God was true to His promises. God is, indeed, sovereign and gracious!

Here is Paul's testimony of his sufferings:

"I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones,three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked.  Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches." II Corinthians 11:23-28 

God is in control of everyone of your storms as He was with Paul. He won't allow it to storm until you are equipped to weather it, just as He did with Paul. 

He will control the intensity of the storm so you can survive it and it will strengthen you, just as He did with Paul. He will come to you in the storm and bring His peace, just as He did with Paul.

Believe it as the storm clouds gather.