Saturday, January 2, 2010

Praise Him In the Storm

All of us have trials from time to time and some trials are greater than others. As our new President takes office we know it will bring about change and uncertainty for our country and our family. Our parental rights are being threatened and we have concerns about the future laws that our children may have to live with. The economy has become worse and worse. Foreclosures are everywhere. Many people have anxiety over job stability. Financial difficulties are becoming a way of life for some. A marriage becomes increasingly more difficult. Conflicts with others are not being resolved. Some fret and worry about the way they are training and teaching their children. Another may have on-going illnesses for either themselves or their children. In-laws or neighbors threaten your homeschooling decision. The list of trials could go on and on.
The world we live in right now is just falling apart. Everyone seems to be affected by it in one way or another, although, the severity may not be the same. You may not be experiencing a trial right at this moment, but we know we will not be without them in our lifetime. Jesus has said, “In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
Even though we know what the Word of God says, sometimes life is so difficult that it is hard to endure the trial set before us. The trial is so big it has become a great storm in our life.
Jesus’ disciples experienced a great trial too. As they were in the boat and the great storm took place on the sea, they cried out to Jesus saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!” It was only natural for the disciples to fear for their lives based on the situation they were in, however, they had Jesus in the boat with them! What did they have to fear? Not only was Jesus in the boat with them, but He was taking a nap. Jesus was so comfortable with the situation that they were in, He was sleeping!
“Now when He got into a boat, His disciples followed Him. And suddenly a great tempest arose on the sea, so that the boat was covered with the waves. But He was asleep. Then His disciples came to Him and awoke Him, saying, "Lord, save us! We are perishing!" But He said to them, "Why are you fearful , O you of little faith?" Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.” Matthew 8:23-26
As Jesus awoke and rebuked the winds, He also rebuked the disciples with their lack of faith. Jesus was not surprised by the trial that was set before the disciples. Neither is He surprised by the trials that many of us are currently going through.
You might be wondering why I am writing an article about trials and what they have to do with homeschooling. Well, if you believe homeschooling is a way of life like I do, then trials and homeschooling will most definitely go hand in hand! We can’t avoid the storms in our life, but what we can do is have the right attitude while we are going through them. When Jesus was in the boat with the disciples, He was sleeping. He wasn’t fretting or walking back and forth pacing in the boat, no, He was sleeping!
I know when I am in the midst of a storm, I try to have the perspective that “I am sleeping in the boat with Jesus”. I don’t want to freak out or walk around as if I have no joy or hope, (which at times I certainly do feel that way)! However, I do not want my demeanor to always be without joy and hope when I go through a trial, because I personally feel that I am being a bad witness as a believer. I have an opportunity to praise the Lord in the midst of my storm or I can go through life blaming someone else or just plain wallowing in my despair. It is easier for me to do the latter, but wallowing is not something I want to show or teach my children when life gets difficult. We have an opportunity to teach our children about trials as we go through our day. We are able to pray with them and explain to them that Jesus is in control of the situation, He hears our prayers and He loves us more then we love ourselves.
When our children get older they will face trials too. Just because we shelter our children from negative influences today, that does not mean we will be able to shelter them from a trial they will experience as they get older, and perhaps we should not. We go through trials for a reason. They strengthen us and shape us into the character that we have today. Trials refine us and help us to rely on the Lord for our strength as opposed to our own strength. “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” James 1:2-4
Trials bring about the workings of the Body of Christ as we are in the middle of our storm. The “Body” helps to bear our burdens. “Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2 The Body of Christ is exercising their gifts as they serve the Lord by serving others; this is a beautiful picture of Christ’s love for us and we ought to expose our children to such a wonderful experience. They should see others helping you and you helping others. They should be by your side as you make and serve dinner to a family that is ill or a family who just had a new baby. They should be included and prompted to pray for someone who is in need. Not only will you start to see your children’s spiritual gifts starting to emerge, but this helps to strengthen your child’s prayer life too. Share with them also the answered prayer requests so they can see and hear how God has provided a miracle for the situation.
Don’t hide the storm that you are going through from your children, unless of course it is a marital issue that is not appropriate for them to hear. Go through the storm with Jesus and your family. Teach them that you are relying on the Lord to help you with your situation. Your children will never be able to learn how to go through a real life trial by reading a story in a book because the book could never fully describe the emotion, concern, and distress as much as what our children will witness in real life. Our children will learn how to handle a trial by watching us. If you constantly hide your concerns and emotions from your children, they will never learn from you, other than that you always remained quiet about a situation. As I write this, it is a reminder to myself to pull my children in closer to me as I go through life, the good times and the bad. Again, make sure you use discernment about what is appropriate to share with your children and what is not. Obviously a child under the age of 4 will not be able to comprehend as much as an 8 yr. old or a teenager, but you don’t need to go into great detail as your share with them. You could just tell them that Mommy is having a hard day because she doesn’t feel well, but let’s pray and ask Jesus to heal Mommy, etc. When you feel better make sure you let your child know that Jesus healed Mommy. Continue that pattern as your child grows older and expand the details as appropriate.
If the storm in your life is so great, remember, “the LORD is near to those who have a broken heart.” Psalm 34:18 Don’t be discouraged if you have not been able to teach much history or science to your children while you have been in the storm. The LORD knows what your children should be learning and when they should be learning it. Perhaps He feels they should be learning more about how to biblically handle a trial and how to praise the LORD while we go through them, rather than learning about World History right at this moment!
Praise Him in the storm and show your children how to do the same.

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