Navigating the Storms of Life part 1

Navigating the Storms of Life, Part 1

We live in a complex world and challenging times. But Kingdom opportunities are now, irrespective of world conditions. God is the great “I Am,” not the great “I was!”

If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done.” Eccl. 11:4 TLB

While there is timing involved, we must live from divine initiative and expectancy. We must live from a faith realm that is steadfast in God’s promises and expectant of God’s care, provision, protection, and above all, His unfailing love—despite the storms around us.

I was reminded of Esther this week, and Mordecai’s challenge to her that she was here “for such a time as this.”

Despite circumstances against her, she recognized her comfort and security positioned her to help others. She understood the favor given to her was for a purpose. She was willing to risk, “If I perish, I perish!” As a result, the Jewish people were spared from destruction by their enemies.

Remember, there are two spiritual kingdoms in play around us affecting humanity. God’s kingdom is full of light and love, which is greater than Satan’s kingdom of death and destruction.

Jesus has defeated Satan and his demonic minions. That said, these evil powers oppose God’s kingdom and attempt to destroy humanity through wars, disease, human systems, and ruling powers. But the child of God, through faith in Christ, is joined in spiritual union with Jesus and His victory. We live from Christ’s victory, from heaven toward earth.

Esther took God’s call for “such a time as this,” and became an instrument of light in the darkness to stop evil from spreading. Church, we are called to arise in our day, despite world conditions, to reach humanity with the good news of Jesus Christ.

Jesus called us to follow Him—period. To be his disciple implies risk, not self-perseveration. Security and opportunity rarely co-exist. Jesus calls us to “risk-based” discipleship—the opposite of comfort and security!

In the next two weeks, I want to look at three types of storms that we all face in our journey with God. Learning to discern the type and how to maneuver through these storms is essential to fulfilling your purpose and destiny.

Three Types of Storms to Maneuver

Some storms the enemy sends, some storms are part of life, and other storms are God-arranged. Each one of these storms builds and refines our character, strengthens us, and propels us toward destiny. Each storm is navigated differently. I’ll cover storm one this week, the storm the enemy sends.

While we want to avoid trials or storms, they are a part of life. However, God uses every circumstance in your life to strengthen your faith and trust in Him (Rom. 8:28). In fact, storms can move you toward destiny—if you learn how to trust God during them!

Understand that there are roadblocks on your road to destiny fulfilled. Learning how to navigate and overcome circumstances and roadblocks is vital to fulfilling your assignment.

God can and does instruct, prepare, and move us toward fulfilled destiny apart from storms—but there are times when the “heat” of a trial brings forth a more “pure faith” in our lives.

While we try and avoid storms in this life, some storms we simply can’t avoid. We need to remember that God is always present, always watchful, and will always help us through the most demanding situations we face in this life.

Storm #1

The storm the devil sends is an attack that is designed to stop you, overthrow you, and derail you from God’s purpose for your life.

In Mark 4:35-41, Jesus and the disciples encounter a great storm that threatens their lives. Jesus had given them a directive to go to the other side of the sea of Galilee—there were some people on the other side who needed to hear the good news and receive his healing touch. As experienced fishermen, this was a type of storm they had never encountered before. They were fearful!

Perhaps our world is in a storm we’ve never encountered before. Sure, there have been wars, famines, pandemics, financial distress, and economic hardships before, but there is something different about our current global situation. Perhaps we are in the “beginning of sorrows” Jesus mentions in Matthew 24. Regardless, Jesus is with us—always! Don’t fear, trust Him!

But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” Mark 4:38 NKJV

In the presence of chaos, Jesus is so confident in the Father’s promise and power He remains asleep on a pillow. The story contrasts the panic of the disciples. He was at rest—they were in distress.

Their perspective was wrong!

The same happens to us at times. Lack of trust in God’s promises will cause us to think we are going under, not over!

In Mark 4:39, Jesus arises and rebukes the stormy sea, “Peace, be still!” The word rebukes is from the same word used to describe casting out unclean spirits in Mark 1:25 and 3:12, suggesting demonic powers caused the storm. Yes, this was indeed a storm the enemy sent!

The disciples are shocked, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!” (Mark 4:41 NKJV)

In first-century Jewish culture, control of nature was attributed exclusively to God. The storm arises—it indicates a hopeless situation. The men are powerless to do anything!

But Jesus dramatically intervenes, indicating God is in control of this storm, despite the enemy sending it! And God is in control of your situation, despite the schemes of the enemy!

In 2008 our nation, and the world, experienced what is known as the great financial crisis, or the great recession. The housing market and stock market collapsed, creating fear and financial panic. People lost their homes, jobs, and it was nearly impossible to get loans for a while.

As a pastor, I saw the hardships many in our congregation and community endured. The church finances also dropped. It was a concerning time, to say the least. But we prayed and stood on God’s promises for protection and provision—and God was faithful to provide. It was tight at times, but we covered the expenses of the church. It was also during this time that God challenged us to begin construction on a larger sanctuary building. It seemed like the worst time possible to undertake such a project. But there is our timing and there is God’s timing! Jesus said, “I want my building built!” I tell the entire story, it is miraculous, in my book Fulfill Your Dreams.

But, despite a tough economic time, difficulty getting financing, raising funds, and a contractor going bankrupt, Jesus had His building built by December 2011! Proving once again that God knows the end from the beginning, for He is Jehovah Jireh, the Lord who provides, even during dire economic times. Believe this truth Church. Our world is once again facing a challenging economic time with high inflation and gasoline prices—God can and will provide for you and your family—trust Him!

Again, God often sends us into situations not of our choosing. His leading may be contrary to our natural understanding—just like building a new building during a recession! God is always good, but He is not always predictable! Trust Him more than your natural understanding.

An entire region was impacted as they crossed over.

His ways are not our ways. His words, are “Spirit and they are life.” Trust Him!

Jesus, asleep on a pillow in the stern of the boat, arose and rebuked the manifestation in the wind and the sea—there was an immediate calm. From a place of rest and trust in what He sees the Father doing, Jesus awakens and has authority over the storm. Jesus’ internal reality, God’s kingdom rule, was greater than the storm they faced.

Jesus challenged His disciples “where is your FAITH?” Jesus confronted their focus. He instructed them, “let’s go to the other side.” His Word was sufficient to give them leverage over the storm and enemy.

“Don’t you care, we are perishing!” Yes, but PRAY according to God’s Word and directive! Follower of Christ, you have His authority to stand against the powers of darkness—greater is He that is in you than He that is in the world! Know that disease, financial attack, theft, violence, and evil are works of Hell.

One of my favorite “warfare” verses is Psalm 50:15, Call upon Me in the day of trouble;
I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.
What a promise—stand on this with God!

God Redeems a Stolen Truck!

Just before going to Haiti in 1994 as missionaries, we tried to sell a Nissan pick-up truck. God clearly directed us to go to Haiti, to “cross over” if you will. We were in His will and purpose.

We took the truck to a Christian mechanic in Florida where we lived. Our goal was to get it ready to sell and use the funds to help fund our missions work. Unfortunately, someone broke into the auto shop and stole the truck! It was recovered a couple of days later, but damaged, and now needed more repairs. The truck was back at the mechanic’s shop waiting for our insurance company to sort it out—in the natural, it looked like we would lose money on the truck. The enemy sent a storm to stop and derail us!

We prayed, and God overcame this storm. A man came into the shop, saw the truck, asked the mechanic what was going on and Bill explained everything. The man paid cash for the truck, even though it was still damaged. The amount he gave us and the settlement from the insurance company was more than we would have made selling the truck before it was stolen! Always remember, God is in every storm, even if the enemy has the winds howling!

Stand on God’s Word in Your Storm

When the enemy sends a storm, find the Word God is giving you and speak to the situation—Jesus talked to the wind and waves. He talked to things, to trees that did not produce, and to spirits invisible to the human eye. Your words have power—the authority of heaven is on God’s word and upon the genuine follower of Jesus!

Thoughts become “things” when they take on the power of fear. The enemy is defeated; don’t empower him! Speak what God says and watch heaven back your utterance.

God was trying to redefine the disciples’ focus and their internal reality—and He does the same for us in the storms. God didn’t send the attack, but God will work through the storm if you trust Him and keep your focus on Him.

Paul states in Eph. 3:20, that the exceeding abundance comes through God’s power working in us! “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us…”

Be confident when you pray according to God’s Word and revealed will to you; ignore the storm! God desires to work through you according to His resurrection life that is in you!

I’ll continue next week by looking at the storm circumstances create, and the storm God sends.


Bob Sawvelle Signature


For a deeper look at this topic, watch the Passion Church message “Navigating the Storms of Life, Part 1”

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