Devotional

“All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation,  and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay.” – 1 Peter 1:3-4 

Hurricanes are a regular occurrence in Florida. But Hurricane Michael was more personal because of seeing first hand the devastation it caused to so many friends and loved ones. The reminders of Hurricane Michael are all around me in the form of buildings and homes that are so severely damaged that they cannot currently be occupied. Many more have been bulldozed because of wind, tree and water damage. Some six months later many people are taking on the long-term effort to rebuild battered lives and return to norrmalcy. 

I have always thought of hurricanes as something mankind could certainly do without. But the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says Tropical cyclones, even those as complex and destructive as Hurricane Michael, are the product of nature’s balance at work. No one wants them, but the reality is this: They’re completely natural and essential. NOAA says hurricanes, including weaker systems, help to regulate global temperatures and keep Earth as hospitable as possible. Hurricanes are also indirectly responsible for much of the rainfall in North and South America. Good really can come from bad.

The storms of life are much the same. Trials, pain, difficult circumstances, and hard times are all part of life. Things happen that are beyond our understanding and out of our control. If you are like me, I find myself turning to God with the question, “Why?” This is where faith and Heaven come in. 

We know that the reward in Heaven received by the faithful far outweighs the suffering they must endure to go there. But can we make the same promise to those who are losing their homes and facing years of financial recovery? The answer is yes. The whole tenor of Scripture indicates that God compensates for the present suffering of His people with a better future. Jesus assured those who are persecuted for His sake that “a great reward awaits you in heaven.” (Matthew 5:12)  The stories of Joseph and Daniel and others encourage us to trust today’s pain to God in expectation of His favor tomorrow.

That does not mean that if we suffer in this life we will be rewarded in this life. But what God does not repay in this life, he repays and more in the next: “And now the prize awaits me–the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his appearing.” (2 Timothy 4:8)

Discussion Questions: 

  1. How does faith change how you think of storms in this life?  
  2. A faith journey often gets worse before it gets better. Agree or disagree? What challenges have you experienced after taking a step of faith?