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What storm has blown into your life lately? Are you, or someone you love, suffering from the trauma of plans that have been washed away, relationships that have been uprooted or security that has been devastated?

Rather than being destroyed by this tempest, what if you allowed the disturbance to increase your capacity for rapid growth and fulfilling your destiny in God? Instead of suffering for years, what if you allowed the storm to clear out unnecessary undergrowth, weeds and blockages in your life? The sobering truth is that no storm leaves you the way it found you. You will either grow stronger due to lessons learned in the storm or you will become weaker due to the ferocious winds you have encountered.

After digging deeply into the Word of God, I believe that there is a triumphant way to encounter the fierce gales of life and then exit those tempests with strength, resilience and joy. There is a definitive way to walk through the most devastating circumstances and emerge with grace and hope, empowered for the future. There is a way to be StormProof!

I am a storm survivor. More than that, I am a storm overcomer — having contended with depression, infertility and cancer, and yet having emerged stronger in faith and deeper in my love for God. Everyone encounters storms while living on this side of heaven's placid shores. They are a common occurrence in every season of our lives. No one is immune to situational squalls, relational disturbances or circumstantial blizzards. However, for a believer in Christ, the damage such storms cause can be contained, depending on how we navigate their tumultuous waves. There are promises in the Bible that will enable you to find protection in the safest and most secure shelter in all of eternity. That place is in God's presence, and His presence alone. I believe with my whole heart that God has good plans for you and that His sweet presence offers peaceful restitution for your life on the "after" side of the storm.

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This is what we must grasp when we are in the throes of any storm:

- What is impossible for man is a cakewalk for God.

- What causes us to fear is a stroll in the park to Him.

- What we are overwhelmed by, He controls!

Jesus will often come to our aid in a manner that is difficult for us to understand from a human perspective. And sometimes, in the middle of our out-of-control emotions, we mistakenly accuse Him of being something or someone that He is not.

In a very prominent storm from the Bible, tumultuous waves were endangering the lives of the disciples. Jesus used those waves to walk into their storm. They never expected that! There are people whom we dread and circumstances we fear, and unfortunately our response to them is often to succumb to our flailing emotions. However, it is through what we fear the most that the greatest blessings of our lives can come if we will recognize Jesus's lordship over all.

Before Jesus deals with the storm of your life, He will first confront your fear issues. Jesus has come to you in the storm to bring you His courage! He wants you to be more aware of His presence than you are of the tempest that is hurling you around. When you are being battered by a contrary wind, the first miracle that happens is the gift of His peace, which is pronounced over your life as a result of His dear presence.

We must recognize that not only does a storm have the power to introduce us to God, but it also has the capacity to introduce us to ourselves! When you are caught in a vicious downpour of circumstances, people and events, you will discover exactly who you are and what you believe.

In the middle of the storm, we become more like Him and we inherit spiritual riches we had never before known were available to us. We are changed into people of valor and destiny. Even while the storm outside is wreaking havoc and unleashing destruction, within the storm shelter, we are protected and provided with a glorious sustenance. The storm has now become our finest hour as God's work is completed in our lives.

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Dr. Mark Rutland's

National Institute of Christian Leadership (NICL)

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