The Bottom Line
Weather the Storm
Dene Sue Ross
Many think I’m crazy, but this is my favorite time of year. One reason is that I enjoy winter storms! I anticipate them, eagerly await them, prepare in advance for them, and then completely embrace them. Sure, the temperature plummets, the wind howls, and the snow flies; but I actually look forward to that because, in the end, I know that a good winter storm leaves behind a blanket of white that is beautiful, pure and magnificent! When I look at a fresh snowfall, I’m blessed with the pleasure it brings today and the benefits it holds for tomorrow. Now, if only I had such peace and contentment when weathering the storms of life!
I’m in the midst of a big one right now. I always knew it would come. I thought I would be ready, but now that it’s here I struggle with feeling overwhelmed, anxious, and full of self pity and doubt.
Over the past ten years, the Lord has blessed me with a robust marketplace ministry. Inspired in 1999 while attending my first ASI Convention in Orlando, Florida, I returned home with a passion for sharing Christ in my marketplace. I established a reputation as an active Seventh-day Adventist Christian throughout my state government, which was my biggest client. One day, however, a co-worker discovered the online episode of ASI Video Magazine that featured my firm and promoted the idea of sharing Christ in the marketplace. Thirty days later, the state cancelled our contract and I was unemployed.
I confess I was stunned. But why? God’s Word forewarns His people of the crisis that lies ahead. In His strength, we must withstand the greatest storms in this life! But if we find ourselves faltering now, how can we have assurance that our anchor will hold in the difficult trials ahead? One day I felt secure as a faithful believer—daily tithing my time in personal Bible study and devotions, active in my church, giving financially, and striving to lead others to Christ. The next, I was wondering whether I’d weather the storm.
Once again, I found my hope in God’s Word. Adventists tend to focus on the signs of Christ’s soon return but often neglect the weighty message of the “preparation” parables: the fig tree, the faithful and evil servants, the wise and foolish virgins, and the talents. Those stories give no-nonsense instruction on what we must be found doing at His second coming.
I found particular inspiration in Matthew 25:34–46, the parable of the sheep and goats. Jesus proclaims in exacting detail how we will inherit the kingdom—by serving others on His behalf. What a powerful promise to those facing the storms of life! Each of us is invited to accept our calling as ministers, to tell the truth in troublesome times, to live out our witness in the workplace, and to faithfully persist under persecution. But, above all, we are called to love and serve our fellowmen—those for whom Christ died. There is no greater balm for the doubts and fears that distract us than to focus on reaching out to others with love and God’s grace.
Are you looking for assurance today? The bottom line is this: If we keep our eyes fixed on the Master, trusting in the gift of obedience to His commands, we’ll never have to question whether we’ll “weather the storm.”