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
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.
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