through His Word
by Katy Kauffman
Sometimes it’s a change in our circumstances that stirs our emotions into an inner storm. Sometimes it’s a lingering difficulty. The eye of the hurricane revolves around an unsolved problem, an unmet need, or an unanswered prayer. The winds increase and thunder resounds as we allow fear, doubt, and anxiety to clash with despair. The emotional upheaval affects every part of our lives, and we wonder how it can be fixed. Will it ever be fixed?
Of course, having an emotional reaction to a trial is nearly uncontrollable—it’s going to happen. But once we get our bearings and remember that the Calmer of any storm is with us, we realize we have a choice to make.
Hushing an emotional storm starts with specific choices on our part and climaxes in God’s work. It begins with a determination to trust God in spite of what we can see, in spite of what we feel. God won’t force us to have peace within—we have to be willing to receive His peace. Often we have to let go of anxiety, fear, and doubt. As He works in our hearts and we cooperate with that process, peace calms the raging storm. We can persevere with grace as we wait to see what God will do in our circumstances.
So what choices open our hearts to God so He can calm the storms within?
- Choose faith over despair.
“Don’t despair.” The phrase entered my mind, and I knew it was from God. He was telling me that He had a plan and I could trust Him.
Halt the winds of despair with the certainty of faith. Feeding anxious thoughts with more worries and doubts will only stir up the winds. Choosing faith over hopelessness will hold the winds at bay.
It’s not our faith that conquers an inner storm, but the object of our faith who brings peace. When we trust God—trust His character, His timing, His plan, and His good purposes—He brings a calm to our hearts and a hope that He will work all things for good (Romans 8:28).
- Choose to shift your focus.
Our spiritual enemy loves to remind us of what we don’t have but desperately want. Satan likes to torment us by suggesting that God is not going to keep His promises, that He is not going to provide for us. So he tempts us to do things our way and not wait on God.
Stop the torment by remembering all of the blessings you possess. Delight in what God has given—family, friends, a job, a home, a car, or whatever blessings He has deposited into your life. Remember the inheritance you possess in Christ—the power of God, grace, truth, the fruit of the Spirit, adoption as a child of God, heaven as an eternal home, and God living within you now. Remember what you have because of God, and focus on Him and that “wealth.” Then trust Him for the answer to your prayer.
- Choose to cling to God and find your contentment in Him.
Cling to the One who loves you the most. Draw strength from fellowshiping with God, and find comfort in His word. Share each day with Him. God may be waiting for you to turn to Him and draw close to Him. During a storm as we focus on God and spend time with Him in Bible study and prayer, we develop a closeness to Him that can sustain us for the rest of our lives. What a tragedy if we miss what He wants to teach us through a storm.
Find your contentment in Him. The apostle Paul could be content in whatever circumstance he was in, because he didn’t need food, safety, and comfort to be happy. In Philippians 4:11 (NKJV) he said, “Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content.” What gave him the most joy was knowing Christ, doing His work, and knowing His people (Phil 3:7-8, 1:18, 1:3-7). The joy of the Lord sustained him through beatings and shipwrecks. It clothed him with strength when he was cold and in need. He learned how to be content in each circumstance by relying on the strength of Christ (Phil 4:13). We can rely on His strength too.
- Choose to move forward.
When a storm finds us, it can consume our thinking. So remember the big picture—how much God loves you and the world around you and what He is doing to reach people—and keep doing life.
God gives us what we need to keep moving forward through a trial. He pours His power, love, and wisdom into our hearts. He uses Scripture to energize us and direct us. He arms us with weapons to counteract a spiritual enemy army, which is bent on the destruction of every human soul or inflicting great misery.
So don’t let your emotions spin your life out of control. Too much is at stake. Hush them with faith and with drawing close to God. Be active in His will for you, and watch Him do what only He can do. Deliberately choose to walk by faith every day, and the more you do, the easier it will be to hush any emotional storm within and feel it settle into “peace.”
Which of the four choices above have you seen work in your life? Which ones have helped you to overcome emotional turmoil? Tell us in the comments below, and may the peace of God rest in your heart and the God of peace surround you with His love.
Author’s Note: Some emotional “storms” may be due to physical reasons, such as a thyroid disorder or chemical imbalance, and require medical treatment. Please consult your physician if you think the anxiety or depression you are experiencing might be a health-related issue.
© Copyright 2018 by Katy Kauffman
Katy Kauffman treasures the word of God and the hope, peace, and strength it produces. Her Bible studies focus on winning life’s spiritual battles, and she has taught the Bible to women and teens. She is an award-winning author, an editor of Refresh Bible Study Magazine, and a co-founder of Lighthouse Bible Studies. She loves spending time with family and friends, making jewelry, and hunting for the best peanut butter cookies. She makes her home in a cozy suburb of Atlanta, Georgia.
Check out our other posts in the Calming the Storms Within series:
- Calming the Storms Within (Introduction) by Katy Kauffman
- Building Faith through the Storms of Life by Jennifer DeFrates
- Jewell: From Tragedy to Victory by Katherine M. Pasour
- Jesus, the Survivor of the Perfect Storm by Katy Kauffman
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