Grace tidings with Dr Doug Mamvura
This world is a very cruel place and it does not owe anyone anything. Jesus stated that in this world we would have trials and tribulations, but He also encouraged us to be of good cheer because He had overcome the world.
There comes a time in life when each one of us has to face a storm. Storms are natural and they come to everyone. These storms may be relational, business, economic, health, or family. They come in different packages.
The greatest commodity possessed by all humanity on earth is time. We all have the same amount of time. We may not have the same amount of money, but we all have the same amount of time in a day. Time is the currency of life. This is why we talk of spending time. What you become is determined by how you spend your time. The greatest protection against wasted time is planning.
A plan tells time how you are going to spend it. Without a plan, time is wasted. In a stormy environment one needs to have a clear plan on how they will navigate the storms of life. You can’t afford to surrender your life to fate. Life is not a game. How you spend your time in a stormy environment will determine whether or not you will survive the storm.
God has a plan for you and I. “For I know the plans that I have for you, says the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you can call on me and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me and I will deliver you from captivity” (Jeremiah 29: 11 -14). The key issue is to synchronise God’s plan with your daily activities. Indeed, in life we sometimes make mistakes or we find ourselves in deep pits but God will always rescue us if we put our faith in Him.
The Bible says many are the afflictions of the righteous but the Lord delivers him out of them all.
It is important to know that these storms are seasonal and so they don’t stay forever. They come and go. I always love the phrase which says this too shall come to pass. Nothing is permanent apart from God and His Word.
One of the lessons we learn about storms is that they are natural. They come to everyone regardless of their social status, colour of skin or religion.
What then do you do when life hits you on the blind side? How do you handle poverty or lack? What do you do when you don’t have enough money to pay for the school fees for your children? How do you handle a situation where you have just been retrenched and you don’t know where to start? What about that close relative who is seriously ill and they are all looking to you for financial assistance and yet you don’t have the money? What do you do when your business is facing imminent collapse?
These are some of the storms we face in life. It is not what happens to you that matters but how you react to what happens to you. There is a difference between a thermometer and a thermostat. A thermometer measures temperature while a thermostat regulates temperature. Are you a thermostat or a thermometer? The only way you can be a thermostat is when you depend entirely on God who is greater than any force you can face in this world (1 John 4:4). He will always regulate your temperature if you allow Him to.
God says as long as this earth endures, there is day time and night time, seed time and harvest time. While there will be night, day will certainly come. There will be winter but summer will definitely come. These seasons change all the time. Don’t see your position as permanent. It will certainly “come to pass”.
Today you may be broke, and seem hopeless and yet tomorrow through proper planning and hard work, you could join the rich and famous. You may be just barely getting by or you may not have one of those top jobs and yet you can transform yourself from that low paying job to becoming an employer.
One of the people whom I really respect and admire is Dr Divine Ndhlukula the owner of Securico.
I remember buying my first insurance policy soon after university from her. Today she is a top businesswoman running a multimillion dollar business empire. She has even come out in the Forbes Magazine. This shows you the power of focus and determination.
I am sure she has her own story about the storms that she faced along her journey to where she is now.
The Bible says to everything there is a season. Seasons guarantee change and also hope. The key to success in life is outlasting the season. Seasons give the incentive to plan for the future because you know that winter will not stay forever so you have to plan for summer. You don’t throw away your summer clothes when you are in winter and vice versa. Seasons are always moving. Never respond permanently to a temporary problem.
There is something we need to know about storms we face in life.
Storms are not caused by God. The author of storms is the god of this world we see in 2 Corinthians 4:4 which is the devil. God never uses storms as a weapon to teach you a lesson like some people would like to think. Instead God is able to rescue you from your pit of destruction.
“There is no challenge or temptation that has ever occurred to any man that is not common and God is very faithful, He will ensure that He provides a way of escape to every temptation or challenge (1 Corinthians 10:13).
However, there are also positives we can derive from storms.
Storms force change and restore nature to its original state. Some people were overweight until the doctor said, “if you don’t reduce your weight by twenty kilograms, you will die”. This forces you to start watching your diet and exercise. With some people it has to take such shocking news for them to move out of their comfort zone.
Storms also expose your weaknesses just like what happens with some of those tall pine trees. They look tall and strong but when you get heavy rains you find that they are easily uprooted. The same applies with our own lives.
There are people who look like they have made it and they are invincible. It only takes a strong storm to expose their vulnerability. At the end of the day you then realise that our life is so fragile.
These storms also test your level of faith in God. Peter told Jesus that he would die for Him and would never leave Him. However, it only took a teenage girl to expose how weak his faith was and he denied Jesus not only once, but three times.
How strong is your faith in God? Can your faith sustain you during the times of adversity?
It is very easy to say you are a believer when everything is going well for you. Do you maintain the same faith in the midst of an adversity?
Storms also restore true value. Half of the things you have you don’t use. The other half you don’t want. You don’t need a television set in every room. You can only drive one car at a time. You don’t need a 40-roomed house when you only have two children. At times we need to be reminded of what is important in life.
A storm will come to remind you of everything you gain, all you can take is just a box or casket. All those things you may have been so proud of are not as valuable as your relationship with God, family and other loved ones. Your expensive car will be driven by an unlicensed hooligan who inherits it.
Storms point you back to God. You then realise that on your own, you can’t do anything. We all need God. Some of us are so proud and at times it takes a storm to have your pride deflated. Life is that fragile.
Storms also come to cleanse the environment and remove pollution. That pollution could be in the form of people, some of whom you thought were genuine friends.
When times are good our friends know us, but when times are bad, we know our friends. There are some people in life that storms will get rid of. You will only know your true friends when you are going through a storm.
Dr Doug Mamvura is a graduate of Charis Bible School. Feedback: firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter @dougmamvura