A few days ago, we had tornadoes completely rampage through my hometown, my college town, and a local university. I really believe God prepared me for the weather because for some reason I couldn’t sleep properly that Friday night. I was awake when they called us into the hallways in my dorm because the storm was getting worse. I was alert, vigilant, and I was prayerful that God would protect me, my family, my school, and my friends. In the midst of the storm, my spirit was still at peace. I comforted others while continuously and actively praying throughout the storm. I worshipped and praised God quietly. I thanked Him for all that He was and prayed that HE would cover us. I told Him that I would worship and praise Him in spite of the outcome of the storm as well. I’m sure the peace I felt must have been how Jesus felt in Matthew as He slept during the storm while the disciples were in disarray, scared, and not trusting God to keep them. As I prayed for peace over myself and others, God reminded me that we should always choose to worship Him in our storms. In spite of how we feel or what we fear, praising and worshiping Him in spite of our storms, should always be the immediate answer. He then reminded me of my own personal storm last semester and how I actively and deliberately chose to not worship Him.
He reminded me of how much I struggled to see the light in my dark season, and how I refused to trust His plan.
Last semester, I went through a period of loneliness and rejection that I didn’t think I was gonna come back from. The devil truly used the power I gave him to disrupt my thoughts, my prayer life, my interactions with people, my self-esteem, and everything else. There was no part of me that wasn’t overcome with loneliness and despair. It was like I was “standing in the middle of an emotional downpour” and THAT was my storm. The rain, waves, and storms of life caused destruction and discouragement in my spiritual life just like the tornado did physically over the weekend. I went through the motions with worshiping the Lord in church, but I definitely wasn’t worshipping Him with my heart or with my life. I wasn’t having sex, or drinking, or worshipping other gods BUT I wasn’t trusting in God’s plan or His promises for me. I wasn’t trusting His friendship or His authority in my circumstances. I wasn’t praying like I knew I should’ve been. I wasn’t writing, and I wasn’t studying His word. I was more my concerned with my storm than worshipping God in spite of the storm. I let it drown me.
God tried so many times to reach me. He tried to save me while I was drowning, something I desperately sought from PEOPLE. I was looking to the wrong source for my rescue. God would send a word to me through movies, songs, preachers, and people. But I couldn’t get out of my head and my feelings long enough to thank Him, worship Him, or praise Him. I believe I missed God SO many times last semester. I failed so many tests, I failed so many divine assignments, and I let a lot of people down because I wasn’t shining my light. I wasn’t speaking into people like I usually do or encouraging people like I know I should have been. I was too focused on myself to walk in my calling. Instead, I let my circumstances and my trials be bigger than God. So consequently, I stayed in that place of loneliness and abandonment much longer than I should have.
While last semester was the hardest, most vigorous, most intense spiritual storm I’ve ever faced, I learned so much about Jesus and myself and my purpose. Although I wasn’t living it, I learned that my purpose is so much bigger than me. I learned that worship is dire when it comes to changing your situations around. God loves worship. He moves in worship. I learned that there are so many lessons in the struggle and in the storms that God allows you to go through. I learned that:
Storms can be physical or spiritual. Storms can come in the form of tornados or hurricanes that can literally take everything you own. Storms can be the enemy attacking your finances. Storms can be emotional turmoil that you allow people to take you through. Storms can be anything that tests you or takes you to places you aren’t willing to go or people that give you grief or discourage you.
I learned that choosing to praise and worship God in the midst of your storms shows that you trust Him. Being able to worship IN SPITE OF shows God that you are going to seek His face no matter what. It shows Him that you are going to trust His will and His plan in spite of what you see in the physical. It shows God that you will look to HIM no matter who leaves you. It shows Him that you are going to wait for Him to move on your behalf. He sees your worship, He loves it, and He will turn things around because of it.
Isaiah 43:2 says, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you…”
I learned last semester that God will stay with His children and those who love them, even through the storms. When you don’t follow Him or you aren’t actively chasing Him, He is STILL with you, loving you, and waiting for you. He will never leave you or stop pursuing you. When friends leave, when rejection comes, and when the storms of life rage against you, God is RIGHT THERE with you.
The last thing I learned was that storms don’t represent the end, and that sunshine comes eventually. I look back at that semester, and its hard not to become extremely emotional when I think about what I went through. It’s hard not to be ashamed that I let so much time go by without doing the work of the Lord. It’s hard not to be angry at myself for refusing to praise God in my misfortunes. But that wasn’t the end for me. I’m still here. I still have a place in His kingdom. I still have a purpose.
The thing is storms prepare you. They are apart of the process you have to take to get to your purpose. I just wasted too much time in my season of preparation, so the promises of God took a while to manifest in my life. Only when I decided to worship God IN SPITE OF did my promises come forth. If worshipping God brought me out of that time in my life, it can bring you out of whatever dark season you may be going through. Choose to worship. Choose to praise Him. Choose to make Him bigger than your storm. Choose to trust His plan. Choose to acknowledge Him in your circumstances. And your situation will begin to change.
As always love God, love people, and worship tin spite of your storm.