I was 21. Kenya was 25. We were head-over-heels in love and ready to make it official. It seemed, however, like we had picked the worst day of the year to do it.
Snow was being dumped from the sky. The wind blew furiously and the flurries swirled around in the air. The windiness worsened the low-visibility conditions. There was a driving advisory and a warning issued to motorists to stay inside.
The climate could not have been worse for a wedding. I was receiving phone calls left and right from family members apologizing. “We won’t be able to make it because the weather is too bad,” they told me. While I was getting dressed, I tried to keep calm. This was not how I had envisioned things working out.
The last thing a bride wants or needs on her big day is bad news.
But the negative updates just kept pouring in.
The 900-seat Catholic church that my father had been renting for some time to host our local church services, suddenly seemed like too big and imposing of a venue for the wedding. Who was going to come out in that weather? From the looks of things, my fiancé Kenya and I were about to be exchanging vows and rings with brown empty pews as our witnesses.
Then, to make matters worse, because my dad couldn’t afford the cost of heat in this colossal building, it got shut off. He tried his best to warm the place with gigantic, loud, torpedo heaters, which had the sanctuary smelling like kerosene.
But it got even worse.
Hours before the wedding started, the heaters—all of them—blew out. So the building was filled with the odor of an explosion and it was freezing cold. You could see your breath indoors.
Everything was falling apart.
My feet felt like two ice bricks. Our guests, that surprisingly packed the place out despite the weather, were sitting there shivering. The ceremony started more than an hour late. I felt embarrassed by the cold.
But when I latched onto my father’s arm, slowly walked down the aisle and saw Kenya waiting for me at the altar through my thin white veil, I forgot about the chill in the air. I felt comfortable, content and confident clutching Daddy’s arm.
The only thing that mattered in that moment was marrying the man God sent into my life.
Though we had done everything possible to make our special day perfect, it was anything but. Things went haywire and yet, we were giddy. You see, we were not in love with our wedding day; we were in love with each other. We had come together, not merely to make a wedding, but to make a life.
Even though just about everything that could go wrong did go wrong that January day, if I could go back in time, I wouldn’t change a thing. Our wedding day taught us to focus on what matters.
Nothing more, nothing less.
In life, we have weathered and survived many storms together. There have been seasons of lack, sickness, grief, and pain. But instead of being upset over the imperfect conditions we couldn’t control, we dug in our heels and unified. Both Kenya and I held on tightly to Daddy. Our Heavenly Father's strong, everlasting arm, stabilized us and gave us what we needed to brave the storm.
And by the grace of God, He has brought us through every one.
It’s human nature to want circumstances to be perfect. We strive to improve our quality of living and there’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, Jesus came to redeem us from sin, give us abundant life here and now, and eternal life in the hereafter. Wanting more, better and greater is in no way out of order.
I often tell you to expect that.
And yet, as I talked about in my podcast today, which you can listen to HERE, suffering is unavoidable. Every believer will go through something. Tests and trials prove the genuineness of our faith and make us stronger. When we go through hard things, if we don’t walk way, those unpleasant circumstances toughen us up. They empower us to thrive, despite the obstacles.
They teach us that, just because the rain won’t let up, that doesn’t mean we’re supposed to give up. We reap if we don’t quit. God has already equipped you, my friend, to survive and thrive.
Don't you let this storm make you quit and forfeit the amazing destiny that awaits you. Hang in there!
No matter what is going on around you, never let it shake the faith that is within you. Instead of running away in times of trouble, we must run to God, who, according to Psalm 46:1, is our “refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”
I’ve told you before that this word “refuge” in this passage is the Hebrew word “machaseh” (pronounced makh-as-eh), which means shelter. It is derived from the word chacah which can literally means shelter or figuratively represent a place of hope, refuge, and trust.
I’m pretty sure you’ve heard the saying, “When it rains, it pours.” That suggests that trouble comes at you hard, fast and heavy. I know this to be true! Life can get overwhelming quickly if we try to deal with the unfavorable conditions on our own. But the great news is we don’t have to. You and I can run to our refuge, Christ, who will shelter us from the downpour, strengthen us, and help us in our time of need.
Today, it might be raining—perhaps pouring—in your life. Maybe your health is acting up; finances are short; family is in crisis; emotions are all over the place; work is stressful; or you can’t even get a job; you’re mentally tired; you feel overwhelmed and burdened right now.
Don’t worry. You will survive the storm.
Because your foundation is built upon the Rock, Jesus Christ, you’ll be like that sturdy house described in Matthew 7:24-25 ESV. The Bible says, “And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.”
No catastrophe, no matter how big, can knock you down. Your soul is anchored in the Lord. That’s why you’re still here. The enemy hit you with his best shot. But look at you, still standing; still praising; still confessing the promises of God; still trusting Him; still convinced of the Lord’s faithfulness; and still living in expectation of breakthrough.
Satan’s efforts to uproot you have been as successful as the big bad wolf’s attempt to “huff and puff” and blow the brick house down in the fictitious story of "The 3 Little Pigs."
It didn’t work.
God’s power has been and remains at work in your life. No weapon formed against you will prosper. Your foot will not slip. Let the winds blow. Let the rain pour down. Let the threatening storms arise. You will survive. You will not be shaken, because the Greatest One of all is alive and well in you.
Whatever the circumstances, God has His hand outstretched and He’s saying, Let Me be your shelter. I’ll cover you. I’ll shield you. I’ll protect you. I’ll help you. I’ll provide for you. I’ll make a way. I’ll keep you from falling.
Life won’t be perfect, but God is able to keep you in perfect peace in the midst of the raging storm. When you run to Him as your refuge, Philippians 4:7 NLT promises, “Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”
Not only will you survive the storm, but your peace will stay intact in the middle of it. If you’re experiencing heartache, hardship, and heaviness, it won’t have the effect on you the enemy desires it to. You are sheltered by a loving God. He is about to show out on your behalf. You’re getting ready to see how big, powerful, sovereign, and faithful He is to deliver you. He’s working it out in your favor as you read this.
You will outlast the storm.
In fact, the storm is passing over.
To remind you to run to God, who stands ready, willing and more than able to help shield you from the assault of life, I’m stirring Proverbs 18:10 KJV into your cup of inspiration. It says, “The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.”
As you drink down the contents of your cup, remember, no matter how many afflictions, issues, problems, and tests you might be going through, God, your deliverer, is there. He will shield you and set you free. He is faithful. He’s your present help and shelter from the storm.
Run to Him, lean on Him, and hide under the shadow of His wings (Psalm 91:4) as this storm passes over.
And it will pass over, soon and very soon.
Now let’s pray.
God, I’m going through a storm. Thank You for being my shelter and assuring me that it is passing over. When I feel overwhelmed, like I just can’t take any more, remind me that You are here for me to strengthen, and help me in my time of need. Today, I come boldly to Your throne of grace, trusting You to take care of me. I declare that it is done, it is worked out, it is fixed. My heart rejoices because of all You are already doing on my behalf. Thank You for making a way! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
As always, thanks for reading and until next time... may today's cup of inspiration uplift, encourage, and empower you!
If you need prayer, don't hesitate to request it. I would be honored to stand in faith with You. I know that prayer works. CLICK HERE to learn how to submit your prayer request.