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Navigating the Winds of Life

Navigating the Winds of Life

Wind is one of the most powerful forces of nature. Kay and I live in a canyon and experience canyon winds for several months every year. In the windy season, it can be brutal.

The winds of life can be powerful too. They can knock you off balance. So, to have an effective ministry, you’ll need to learn to withstand the powerful, rogue winds of life. Ministry isn’t a problem-free life. That’s why it’s critical to have a firm foundation. 

Proverbs 10:25 says, “Storms can blow away unrighteous people, but the godly have a foundation that keeps them standing firm” (NLT).

When the storms come, you want a foundation that you can stand on. Here is what you can do to build that foundation in your life and ministry:

Stay connected to your spiritual family.

God never intended for you to withstand the destructive winds of life on your own. Whether you experience a ministry struggle, the death of a loved one, an illness, or a family crisis, God wants you to go through these periods with the support of your spiritual family.

Pastor, that’s why you need to be just as connected to your church family—and other pastors—as you encourage your congregation to stay connected. Studies have shown that many pastors are lonely; they have no one to turn to during tough times. But the Bible tells us we, too, need a spiritual support system. And that support system should be the church. 

Paul describes this support system in Ephesians 4:11-15 when he encourages the church to become “mature, until we measure up to Christ, who is the standard. Then we will no longer be little children, tossed and carried about by all kinds of teachings that change like the wind” (Ephesians 4:14-15 GW).

As church leaders, we have a role in helping people to not get tossed around by fads and instead be rooted in God’s Word. When we’re experiencing tough times ourselves, we need to stay tethered to the church as well.

Keep putting God’s Word into practice.

You’ve likely been studying and applying the Bible for years (and teaching others to do the same). Don’t stop doing this—especially during painful periods.

Jesus reminds us in Matthew 7:24-25: “Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock” (NLT).

Jesus tells us that three things happen when storms come: First, the rains come down and attack the roof of our lives. Then, the flood comes up from the ground and attacks our foundation. Finally, the winds blow and attack the walls of our lives. Storms can attack every part of our lives. And the only way to stay standing is to build your life on the Word of God.

Turn your focus on how great God is.

Stressful situations often feel like they’re out of control. But they’re not out of God’s control. Worship—which is what you’re doing when you turn your focus toward God—is the secret to withstanding hard times. 

When we’re battered by a storm, we don’t need to tell God how big that storm is. We need to tell the storm how big God is. The disciples did this in Matthew 8. They were out on a boat with Jesus (who was sleeping) when “suddenly” a storm came. The disciples were afraid, so they woke up Jesus. But just as suddenly as the storm came, it left. What was out of the disciples’ control was not out of Jesus’. 

We need to let worship set the sails of our lives when our world feels out of control. You can’t control the wind, but you can control the direction you set your sail. You set your sail by choosing to focus on Jesus and worship in the middle of the storm.

Remind yourself that Jesus cares.

There’s another famous boat incident in the Gospels—in Mark 6. Once again, the disciples were in a boat when a storm hit. This time Jesus wasn’t with them, but the Lord saw the pain of the disciples, and he came to their rescue—walking on water. Jesus didn’t just stand on the sidelines. He came right to the disciples in their pain.

Jesus does the same for you when you’re in pain. He sees your hurt, and he will come to your rescue. He’ll walk on the very problem that is causing you pain. He can do what he wants with water because he created it. He can do what he wants with the obstacles in your life too. He may not solve every problem the way you want, but he will be there for you in the storm.

Storms can actually be helpful if you respond correctly. A kite rises against the wind. It doesn’t fly with the wind. The stronger the opposing wind, the higher the kite can go. 

That’s my prayer for you. That no matter what wind you’re facing, God would use it to take you to new places. 

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