We all experience them at some point in our lives — winds of adversity. These are times when storms hit our lives in ways that cause us to wonder how we will get through them, and sometimes even, IF we will get through them.
We just saw two huge storms hit different parts of this country. Texas experienced Hurricane Harvey that hit with full force. The flooding it left is hard to comprehend. And then Hurricane Irma slammed into many islands, then Florida, and then to additional surrounding states. The devastation from both storms is enormous, not only to the property of millions of people and businesses, but also to their lives—especially to their lives!
When Winds of Adversity Hit
Why are we bringing this up in a Marriage Insight? It’s because we need to be aware that at some time in our lives, we too will experience devastating storms. It may be many times that they occur. They may not be tropical hurricanes, tropical storms, or tornadoes, but they’re devastating to us, just the same. We are warned of this in Matthew 7:24-27. Jesus points to times when “the rain fell and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house.” But then He says the house “did not fall because it had been founded on the rock.”
Jesus assumed that those who heard His words would heed them. Storms will come. But whether or not we weather them well is dependent upon the foundations we build and maintain. That foundational rock is Jesus.
We’re also warned that it will rain on “the just and the unjust.” We can expect tribulations. Jesus says in John 16:33:
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
That’s the point we want to park on within this Marriage Insight. Those who “take heart” and heed the warnings of Jesus will be over-comers. Their house will “not fall” when the winds blow. That is because they are “founded on the rock.” Their literal, physical house may fall, but Jesus is referring to their spiritual well being will. It will stand in peace.
Storms Coming, Blowing, and Leaving
We don’t know where you are today. You may be experiencing horrible storms in your lives. Or you may be experiencing the calm after a storm. It could be, however, that you’re heading into a stormy season. We pray you will prepare yourself as best as you can ahead of time. That, first and foremost, is most important. And then after doing so, hang on during the storm, so you can experience God’s peace after the storm, and sometimes during the storm.
We’ve been through several stormy seasons in our lives. Three stand out in particular. The first one almost took us down. We didn’t know Jesus as our Lord and Savior at that time. And when the winds of adversity started to blow against our marital home, we almost became a casualty of divorce. That is because we had no sure foundation to hang onto. Thankfully, in short, God came in, grabbed onto both of us and turned our world upside down in a good way. We came to know Jesus in a personal way, and took Him seriously that we had to change the focus of our life. He is our central focus. We also leaned into Him to show us how to build the foundation of our marriage. This is so it was/is rock solid.
The other major storm came years later manifesting itself in an entirely different way. In short, the Lord helped us to weather that one in a way only He can.
Steps in Surviving Winds of Adversity
And then another horrible series of storms hit us recently. It looks like we’re now coming out on the other side of it. The sun is shining and we look around and wonder, “What just happened?” We’re amazed we survived. But on the other hand we aren’t. First, we built our foundation upon Jesus. And we maintained it. We were as prepared as we could be.
And then when the storms hit, we leaned in towards each other. We’ve learned to do this when things get bad. It’s like what Christine Arylo wrote:
“Lean in. When it gets hard in a relationship, our tendency is to protect ourselves, to retreat, to ‘lean out.’ Leaning out when your partner reaches out creates distance and dissonance. If instead you ‘lean in’ to the uncomfortable feelings, to the unknown and your own vulnerability, and meet your partner, you can actually strengthen your relationship through the struggles you face together.”
We can’t explain how important that step is. It has been a marital life saver—no doubt. But most importantly, we lean TOGETHER into Jesus. That is the next important point we tell people to do when storms hit. Lean into Jesus. We’re told in Proverbs 3:5-6:
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.“
What we forget to also note is what comes next in Proverbs 3:7-8:
“Be not wise in your own eyes. Fear the LORD, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.“
Guide Your Focus
Don’t focus on the storm. If you do, you can become confused and fearful. In your fear, you may even try to ease your pain in ways that God would consider foolish and even evil. You could look for comfort and affirmation in places you should not go. No matter what is going on, please don’t allow yourself to believe the lie that because you hurt so badly, solutions to cheat and do that, which you should not, are acceptable. It is not.
Just hang tight. Winds will blow, and “Doubt Storms” may pummel you, but hang on. Don’t waiver. Max Lucado, in his book, In the Eye of the Storm, writes about hanging tight, focusing onto Jesus, praying He will usher in “gentle lights” during the times where we are overcome by Doubt Storms. He writes:
“Gentle Lights… God’s solutions for doubt storms …not thunderbolts …not explosions of light …just gentle lights …visible evidence of the invisible hand. It’s soft reminders that optimism is not just for fools.
“‘When God comes,’ we doubters think, ‘all pain will flee. Life will be tranquil and no questions will remain.’ But because we look for the bonfire, we miss the candle. Because we listen for the shout, we miss the whisper. But it is in the burnished candles that God comes. And through whispered promises he speaks: ‘When you doubt, look around. I am closer than you think.’”
That’s what we learned. Don’t trust your own understanding. Feelings can fool us. Trust God’s heart and lean upon His understanding that He will bring us out if the storm. Continually look for His “gentle lights” of illumination. And when you don’t see them, hang on, nonetheless.
Hang Onto Jesus and Onto Each Other
So, build a firm foundation, maintain it, and lean into Jesus—no matter what comes your way. Then hang onto each other. You’ll be tempted to let go of Jesus, each other, or both. But be intentional. Don’t allow the enemy of our faith to divide you. Separating what God has joined together is a main goal of the adversary. Remember that. When our world is turned upside down, it’s easier to forget who the real enemy is.
TOGETHER, lean into Jesus. “Cocoon” together in your marital relationship. Here’s an explanation of that term with a link below it to a related article that gives more details:
“Crisis takes our breath away, sometimes completely knocking us off our feet. An unexpected death. Sudden illness. Natural catastrophe or family emergency. A good name ruined. Financial disaster. Critical times stir up anguish, fear or anger so fierce it can destroy a marriage. If we turn inward, withdrawing from our spouse, we risk damaging the beautiful oneness of marriage.
“So how do couples respond to crisis? What helps? I believe God wants us to cocoon together, as husband and wife. Doing so strengthens a relationship. It eases heartache and deepens love for each other through the shared pain. (Karilee Hayden)
Here’s a more detailed explanation of Cocooning:
If you do this, you’ll be able to best weather the storm whatever storm comes your way. We pray you will.
To help you further, here are a few links to recommended additional articles and videos. We believe they will help you to weather your storm of adversity in a healthier way.