What Can Storms and Trials Teach Us?

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trialsBy Carol Round“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world”— John 16:33 (NLT).

Since an EF-3 tornado tore through our Oklahoma county last month, people have been dealing with the clean-up of debris and the trials of surviving without electricity. While most have had power restored, others are waiting for electricians to replace destroyed electrical boxes or reconnect the city power to their houses.

I was blessed. My property was not damaged. Others weren’t so fortunate. My electricity was only off for four days while others experienced darkness for eight to 14 days.

While the sight of all the storm damage has left so many with a heavy heart, the outpouring of help from all over the country is amazing. In addition to local citizens volunteering, organizations like the Red Cross, Mercy Chefs, and religious groups sent in disaster relief teams, including Samaritan’s Purse. The response for help is ongoing.

Responding to the Trials

As help from within the community increases, it reminds me there is more good in this world than evil. When someone needs help and posts a request on social media, multiple individuals respond, sharing advice and resources.

Businesses and individuals are offering free services for those with limited monetary resources. Neighbors with chainsaws have cut up fallen trees and stacked the remains in piles for the city to pick up. Instead of charging, some electricians are voluntarily connecting homeowners to the city’s power grid.

I cannot use a chainsaw and know nothing about electric restoration. However, I am blessed and able to use my research skills to help others locate those resources and post them on social media or make phone calls.

Helping Others Through the Storms

If we have experienced trials and come out stronger, God can use us to help others weather the storms of life. Some recent posts on social media stirred up anger. Those without electricity shared their frustrations and criticized city employees.

I can understand their frustration but ranting on social media does not get the job done any sooner. Instead of agreeing with the rant, many people offered encouragement. Some encouragers opened their doors to allow those without electricity to cool off during the heat of the day and recharge their phones.foll

For followers of Jesus Christ, helping others through the hard times is an opportunity to let God’s light shine through us. I think of the Apostle Paul and the other disciples of Jesus Christ, who through their troubles, encouraged others to turn to God.

Turning to God

American writer and minister Paul Chappell says, “Often we become apathetic in our lives until we face a severe storm. Whether loss of a job, health crisis, loss of a loved one, or financial struggle; God often brings storms into our lives to change our perspective, to shift the focus from ourselves and our lives to Him.”

If we’ve experienced the storms, both literally and figuratively, we can be a ray of light during the aftermath of the destruction. We can offer encouragement through our words and actions. When we share our stories of overcoming, and when we become the hands and feet of Jesus, we demonstrate His compassion.

Someone once said, “Be kind. Everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” Those who do not know Christ need encouragement. They need to know the peace found in a relationship with Jesus who said, “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

I always love hearing from my readers. Please e-mail me at [email protected] with your thoughts or visit my blog for more inspiration at www.carolaround.com. If you need a speaker or workshop leader, contact me at the above e-mail address or through my website. I’d be delighted to hear from you.

Photo credit:  Photo by wpln.org