by Christina Fox
In my little corner of the world, we take storms seriously–hurricanes especially. I was raised outside our nation’s capital, so “hurricane” was not a word in my vocabulary. Once I got married and moved to Florida, it quickly became a word we used often especially during the six months of hurricane season.
And if there is one thing I’ve learned about storms, it is the importance of being prepared before they come. Each year we prepare for storms by storing extra water, canned food, gasoline, flashlights, and batteries. We know whose house is safest for us to evacuate to if needed. Not only that, but we have a generator for when the power is out for days on end.
But one year, there was one thing I hadn’t considered in my storm preparations…
A Birth in a Big Storm
Nine months pregnant, I had just left my doctor’s office when my husband called me. “Did you know there is a hurricane headed our way?” he asked. Walking toward my car, I froze as a hundred thoughts flashed through my mind at once. “Will we evacuate? What if I have to have the baby at some strange hospital? Or what if he comes during the middle of the storm?” And the one thought I kept repeating, “This was not on my birth plan!”
That year, two hurricanes crashed onshore near our small coastal town on the Atlantic Ocean. My son was born shortly after the second storm arrived. With half our hospital closed from damage that occurred during the previous storm, I delivered my first born in the remaining half of the hospital that still functioned. Beds lined the hallways with women in labor and patients who had been kicked out of the other half of the hospital. Doctors and nurses were stretched thin, stressed, and distracted by concerns for their own family and homes. And can I say again, “This was not on my birth plan!”
Preparing for the Storms of Life
It seems like common sense to prepare ahead of time for a hurricane and other such storms. But what about the storms of life? How can we prepare for those too?
We must prepare our heart and mind for the inevitable trials of life. Without a theological foundation in place then we are at greater risk for being knocked over by the fierce winds of suffering. We need to have a theology of suffering built on God’s word. Before the dark clouds gather, we need to know what we believe (and why) about God, his sovereignty, and the suffering we experience in this world. When a hurricane hits it’s too late to run out and get gas for the car or withdraw cash from the ATM. That’s all part of storm preparation. When it comes to the storms of life, it’s harder to face trials and suffering without a theological belief system in place.
One of the most well-known stories of suffering in the Bible is that of Job. He was a man of great faith. It was this faith that kept him standing even when his whole world slid away like a landslide. He believed that God was good, sovereign, and righteous. This belief kept him from turning away from God, to the dismay of his accuser, Satan. Though Job never knew why he experienced such loss and suffering, he trusted God and believed that one day, his Redeemer would come (Job 19:25).
What about us? What can we do to prepare for the storms of life? During times of peace, when there isn’t a cloud in the sky, we need to take the time to read, pray, study, evaluate, and seek to develop a theology of suffering based on God’s word.
A few difficult questions we can ask are these:
- Our belief about God: What do we believe about God’s character and his intentions for us? Do we suspect that God is “out to get us” or do we trust in his unfailing love?
- Our belief about God’s sovereignty: What do we think about God’s sovereign control over all things? Do things happen outside of his control? Or is God actively involved in the world and in our individual lives?
- Our belief about suffering: How does suffering fit into our understanding about God? What Satan means for evil, can God use to serve his good purposes? Does God work all things work together for his glory and our ultimate good?
My son is eight years old now and I still remember the fear I felt in the face of those two hurricanes. I was not prepared to have my first child in the midst of such chaos. Facing the storms of life unprepared for suffering is frightening as well. It’s in the times of peace and calm that we need to study Scripture and ask the hard questions.
While the skies are sunny and there’s not a cloud in sight, we need to pray for a faith that faces storms.
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised” (Job 1:21).
ABOUT THE WRITER
Christina Fox is a homeschooling mom, licensed mental health counselor, writer, and coffee drinker, not necessarily in that order. She lives in sunny South Florida with her husband of sixteen years and their two sons. Christina blogs at To Show Them Jesus.