We have proved ourselves by our purity, our understanding, our patience, our kindness, our sincere love, and the power of the Holy Spirit. —2 Corinthians 6:6, NLT
Friend to Friend
It would be just fine with me if I never had to go through another storm. However, God is more committed to my character than He is to my comfort. Every storm is an opportunity to grow in Christ and trust Him more.
The Apostle Paul was well acquainted with vicious storms and harsh realities. In his writings to the church at Corinth Paul offers five truths that – when applied – will enable us to stand firm in the storm.
Truth 1: Live a pure life.
Truth 2: Seek understanding.
Truth 3: Learn to be patient.
Truth 4: Practice kindness.
When bad things happen, we cry out in desperation for someone to care. Did you know that more people come to Christ during a crisis than at any other time?
Kindness is simply compassion at work and love in action. We need to constantly refocus our success-targeted eyes, crucify each self-promoting heart motive and look for the needs around us. I often think we will be amazed when we get to Heaven and find the unlikely, unknown but devoted servants of God exalted above all others – rewarded for their quiet and often unseen acts of kindness.
A preacher once described his mother as a woman of great compassion. One day he came home from school to find her sitting at the table with an elderly, homeless man. She had gone shopping, met the man on the way, and invited him home for a warm meal. During their conversation the visitor said, “I wish there were more people in the world like you.” The woman said quickly, “Oh there are! You just have to look for them!” The old man simply shook his head and smiled, “But lady, I didn’t need to look for you. You looked for me!”
Needs constantly parade before us, but we don’t see them. We are too busy to see the broken lives the Father sends our way. We view them as intrusions or annoying interruptions in our very important schedule. These uninvited and unscheduled guests may very well be divine appointments sent by God.
The warning of Hebrews 13:2 is a haunting one. “Remember to welcome strangers, because some who have done this have welcomed angels without knowing it.” How many angels have we missed because we were too busy?
Perhaps we fail to be kind simply because we don’t care enough. A little girl ran an errand for her mom. The child was gone far too long and the mother was not happy. When the little girl returned, the mother demanded an explanation.
The little girl said that on the way to the store, she had met a friend who was crying because she had broken her doll. “Oh,” said the mother, “then you stopped to help her fix her doll?” “Oh, no!” replied the little girl. “I stopped to help her cry!” Sometimes, all we need to do to practice kindness is to offer a listening and caring heart.
Jesus says that if we really love God, we will really love each other. 1 John 4:20 is clear, “If people say, ‘I love God,’ but hate their brothers or sisters, they are liars. Those who do not love their brothers and sisters, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have never seen.” We can be very religious and not care enough.
Kindness does not look for reasons.
Compassion doesn’t ask for limitations.
Compassion searches for opportunity.
Lord, thank You for being with me every step of the way – especially in the storms of life. I praise You for Your sufficiency in my life and for Your love that never fails. I pray that I will learn how to stand firm in the storms ahead and grasp the lesson each storm holds. I want to please You, Father. Change my comfortable heart to an obedient heart, a heart that is always ready to praise and serve You – no matter what!
In Jesus’ name,
Now It’s Your Turn
When you face a difficult situation, where do you turn first for help?
What is your attitude about the storms in your life? How does that attitude need to change?
Examine your life for any sin that is blocking God’s power. How can you eliminate that barrier?
How can you best prepare for the storms ahead?
More from the Girlfriends
Need help? Mary’s message, Strength for the Storm, is available as a video download, CD, MP3, and E-Bible Study. Check out Mary’s weekly online Bible study, A Balanced Life: the Impossible Dream, for practical ways to tap into the power of God’s Word. Enroll now and have access to all of the 2013 lessons. Be sure to connect with Mary on Facebook or through email.