Overcome Your Storms in Life!


November 2005

Dear Ministry Partner,

On a nice summer day in 1983, I was going through one of those "storms of life." Perhaps you are going through such an experience. I felt like God was very far away, and I was trying to discern if it was God or the devil who was causing the issues I was dealing with, and whether I was in or out of God's will in order for such a "storm" to be raging around my life. At that moment, I was driving across a desolate stretch of condemned land between Pilot Point and Sanger, which is now covered by Lake Ray Roberts. I was listening to a Derek Prince teaching tape on my Pioneer car stereo, and I had forgotten I was going to stop the tape at 12:30 pm in order to listen to a Christian radio program by a certain minister. Suddenly, the tape ejected, the radio clock said 12:30 sharp, and I heard the familiar music intro for that 15 minute program. I assumed the tape had become tangled internally, and just happened to therefore stop and eject right at 12:30. The minister immediately began describing the "storms of life". What he said was that we can be in the center of God's will — just like Jesus was when he told the disciples to get into the boat with Him and cross over the Sea of Galilee in Mark 4:35-41. There is no question that the disciples were in God's will — Jesus was in the boat with them! Yet the storm was so severe that these commercial fishermen thought they were all going to die. That's a big storm! The disciples woke Jesus and said, "Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?" (Have you ever felt like God did not care about the "storm" you were going through?) Then Jesus demonstrated what He was expecting His disciples to do — He prayed. And to be specific, He prayed a prayer of authority — and the storm calmed down! Many Christians don't seem to have the faith to pray in authority over their circumstances. In fact, Jesus then turned to the disciples and said, "Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?"

This radio program was the answer I was looking for. This confirmed that I was not out of God's will, and the "storm" assailing my life was not of God, it was of the devil trying to destroy me, and that I needed to pray in authority against it — not change the direction I was going in ministry. I was relieved and encouraged to know God brought my answer to me. So I pulled the cassette tape out expecting a trail of magnetic tape, but it looked fine. I pushed the cassette tape back in and to my total amazement, the tape just continued to play where it left off — it had popped out supernaturally so I would hear that radio message I needed. (The tape deck never did that again before or after that experience.)

This dramatic confirmation from God was so significant in my life, that I have a painting of Jesus "calming the storm" hanging over my fireplace mantle. God has used me to "face storms" — to address very difficult situations in the Body of Christ, smuggling Bibles into Communist countries, and dealing with unGodliness in our society in general. I have had many such "storms" come against me, but I pray and persevere — and have come out of the storms into the light of the Son over and over again. Storms are temporary, but we need to know how to pray, and have the spiritual fortitude to overcome. We have to set aside this American culture mentality that "success" is having an easy life with abundance. Success with God is obeying Him — regardless of how easy or difficult it is. Look at the life of most all of God's leading servants throughout the pages of the Bible. Paul was beaten and imprisoned, Elijah had to hide out by a brook for 3 years being fed by birds, Jeremiah was rejected and left in the bottom of a well being fed only bread and water. It was not because they were outside of God's will — it was because they were in God's will, and the devil came against them to try to destroy them. But thank God they had faith and perseverance. In fact, this is expressly what the scripture says is the key to the blessings of God. "Imitate those who through faith and patience [perseverance] inherit the promises." (Hebrews 6:12).

There is the famous "hall of faith" chapter, Hebrews 11, where there is a long list of people who overcame "by faith." The list describes a lot of "storms" these believers went through, "who by faith conquered kingdoms... shut the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword... became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight... and others were tortured... and others experienced mockings and scourgings, yes, also chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated... men of whom the world was not worthy... wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground... having gained approval through their faith." Apparently, God measures success in His work by something other than a career promotion or a checkbook balance. Yes, I believe it is God's will for His children to prosper, but that is not the Heavenly ruler to measure all Christian success. Some Christians are "senders" — gifted by God for business and investments to help finance the work of God. But that is not the "normal Christian life". Being an "overcomer" is more the normal Christian life.

The Bible is full of keys to help you overcome the storms of life, but faith and prayer are at the top of the list. There are different kinds of prayer. First, take authority over your storm — pray verbally, "You storm of ________ (unemployment, sickness, divorce, depression, etc.), I command you to leave me, I stop you in Jesus name!" Then pray the prayer of praise (worship is prayer). And fasting is often associated with prayer for great needs (Mark 9:28-29). Forgiving others is an important key, since Jesus promised we would be tormented until we forgave others (Matt. 18:34-35). Realize that "God always leads us in triumph" (2nd Cor. 2:14). And, "They overcame him [Satan] by the blood of the Lamb [our basis for authority] and the word of their testimony [prayer and confession of God's Word]" (Rev. 12:11). And remember, "You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you" (Phil. 4:13).

As a part of prayer, be sensitive to what God would have you do. Many Christians pray, but then expect God to do it all. God told Gideon to break clay pots over his touches — Gideon had his part to do. Noah heard from God, but had to manually build the ark, even though God supernaturally brought all the animals! Don't just pray, and then sit around watching TV waiting on God to fix everything (faith without works is dead). Pray — and ask God for strategy and plans, and then get busy doing it. A wise minister once said, "Pray as if everything depended on God, and then work as if everything depended on you." A successful man once told me, "Plan your work, then work your plan." And getting Godly counsel from an objective, knowledgeable, selfless, mature Christian can help you see things from other angles. The Bible teaches there is wisdom in asking appropriate people for advice.

Sometimes, it seems as if a storm of life just needs time to blow itself out. This is especially true if the storm is the reaping of something bad you sowed. In that case, the miracle is not that the storm instantly disappears, but rather that you are still standing after the storm is gone! And realize that enduring through the storms of life can make you a stronger, wiser person.

Don't allow discouragement or depression to overcome you if you are going through a storm. Storms do end, so don't end your life. Most people around you are neutral, but this is a time to stay away from the "negative drainers" and deliberately get around the "positive uplifters". And make sure you are in a church body that is ministering to you during this time.

Above all else, keep being a doer of God's Word — don't look for a "shortcut through sin." In the parable Jesus told about the two men who built houses on the rock and the sand, and the storm blew away the one on the sand (Matthew 7:24-27). But the one who was a doer of the Word of God was as solid as a rock! And with God's help, that is what you will be.

Helping believers overcome,

Dale & Judi Leander


FINANCIAL PARTNERSHIP: You can help us continue ministering and making many of our resources available without charge by sending a monthly or one time offering to: Words of Life, P.O. Box 701045, Tulsa, OK, 74170. To give by credit card, you may call and leave a secure message at 1(800) GET-WORD. To order ministry materials or give by credit card, you can also visit our web site, www.WordsOfLife.org.

REPRODUCTION AGREEMENT: Paper duplication or electronic forwarding of this teaching is permitted for non-commercial purposes provided that the complete message and contact information for Words of Life is included. Thank you. Copyright 2002 - 2006, Dale W. Leander.

TO SUBSCRIBE OR UNSUBSCRIBE: Just email us and tell us your preference.