Life’s storms strike everyone!  There is no avoiding difficulty no matter where you hide.  How is it that some people rise above the thrashing waves that pour on them while others give up in a fear-filled heap?   Fear of looking like I made a horrible decision because curses seemed to flow more than blessings nearly crippled this Average Joe completely.  Instead, somehow the helm was held firm as I share how those storms helped turn this prolific worrier into a warrior.

 

Eighteen months have passed since a decision was made to walk away from what some considered a decent career.  The plan was to turn decades of hard-lessons into volumes of stories to ‘help’ fellow worriers of the world that are like me. Maybe you are like one of us that have a constant fearful churn in the gut that few admit secretly eats away much of your energy.  I was convinced that life’s storms had pummeled me enough that I could share my secrets to help any worrier to become a fear overcoming warrior.

Little did I know huge storms were on the radar to add many more toughened scars.  Never did I expect wild opposition to everything in our lives, let alone that stress-laced challenges would further refine my views that sharpen life’s secrets to conquering fears.  So much so that I now look forward (well,, at least I’m not totally freaked by them) to ‘TESTS’ as understanding was gained on How Storms turn Worriers into Warriors!

I thought I had it all down pat, then the proverbial dung hit the fan for a solid 18 months.  A year and a half of struggles with some of the deepest anxiety I had ever felt punched the gut hard.  Seven is the number that represents perfection.  I would have preferred seven great things and bring the results as a ‘this-is-what-happens-when-you-are-brave-story.’ Instead – we received seven difficult situations.  Apparently, life had a different plan to sharpen my anxiety-defeating -methods.

Average Joe’s seven storms in 18-Month’s

(1) –  No greater challenge for parents arises than the fear of losing a child. For privacy reasons, I cannot go into the details, but one of our adult children’s hospitalization and after-return home recovery was a tremendous storm to navigate.  Having been through 3 miscarriages and the same similar situations before we thought for sure, the bad-movie would never appear again.  It did!

Keeping your own body and mind healthy for us in the 50’s is always a challenge and when near-death strikes your household to both your adult children it is painful.  With fear and worry from a prognosis that forces a parent into making decisions of life versus permanent damage, the stress hits smack-dab on the heart.   Because of the anguish, it took its toll on my better half as she found herself requiring several stress-related doctor visits and a few E.R. trips (ouch on self-paid insurance! Actually, double-OUCH!)

(2) – A $5-figure scam that created many anxiety-filled sleepless nights accosted me as the non-profit group president. Four years of hard volunteer work taking a club from near bankruptcy to profit and a dip in the funds to rebuild a portion that was shut down was bravely started.  But, the day after writing the first check I knew in my spirit I was being lied to. Making it difficult was the evidence was only revealed 1-day at a time as some semblance of progress occurred slowly.

Each day for three months I found myself wide-eyed in a bed filled with worry-torture.  The hardest part is it was all my decision to go with a guy who earned my trust with spouse at-side in a church.  I wrote small additional checks thinking certainly that would fix all. In the end, the miscreant moved his family to Miami never to be seen again.  Police reports, investigations, an insurance investigation, and explaining to club members who ‘suddenly cared about the club’ produced panic sweats every night for weeks.  I’ve been thru million dollar business transactions that produced much stress before, but this one hit hard.  For some reason, it was worse than losing my own money or a commission check in the sales world, as it came from the funds of 80 members that I was entrusted to manage.   If only I had seen this picture on the web earlier (and yes I did a check beforehand and never saw this picture (faded to protect the guilty party):

(3) – In 2012 both my parents died within 3 weeks of each other. Somehow it was 100 times worse watching my wife and daughter heartbreakingly suffer through losing her parents four months apart. Her Mother suffered from the horrible disease of dementia as she was helped by her caretaker husband for seven long years.   Her passing was difficult.  Only weeks after, with hopes of having his life given back to him for years to come, we were crushed with news of stage 4 lung-cancer for her Father. Two months later another funeral brought us all another punch to the gut.  My wife showed her amazing love as she moved in with her Father to care for him for the last 45 days.  Seeing the man, she admired for his strength and stamina, deteriorate, and suffer, was painful for all.

(4) –  In what I thought was a perfect plan for early retirement and parlaying a writing career was downsizing our home. Since we have so many animals, as we had done before, we prepared our mini-ranch for sale.  We found a home for the horses, which was heart-wrenching, and had it ready for immediate sale in a hot market.  We bought a smaller house in move in condition. 

Little did we expect that two home inspectors would miss major structural damages in the crawlspace.  Both the H.I. and termite guy opted to deny obvious fault.   We were forced to dip into IRA savings to pay for a $6figure rebuild of nearly the whole structure and all flooring.   All plans for the immediate move were halted and four months of managing contractors became my new job.  Due to a pending lawsuit, argh something we have never been forced into before, I can reveal little else other than saying as of this writing thirteen months later it is still pending.

Here are a few before and after pictures of the house structure disaster:

Kitchen Before and After

 

Living room b4 and after

 

 

The house had 2 crawl doors, the perfect one on the right, the other that was 4 feet to the left. Had they said anything about it period, we would have walked away.

(5) –  Only some may understand the pain of a church loss; Church-group to our household has always been as important as family. In twelve months our church group succumbed to what many sadly face – shrinkage.  I can only say so much, but for us losing 50 or so ‘close friends’ and seeing most of those relationships disappear was painful.  To us, friends and co-leaders breaking away from church are like a divorce.  Seeing the pain inflicted on the Pastor and his family, whom we remain very close with, added to the sorrow and risk-filled decisions to change direction.

(6) –  Taking care of two houses with acreage was an expected stressful and time-consuming situation. This was home #9 for us, so we’ve been there done that. What we did not expect was the other house delaying listing the 100% ready to go house by five months.  I had painted every inch of the home myself and spent a huge amount of time and money on upgrades readying it.  We were packed and ready to go.  Unexpected was living out of half-opened boxes, carefully trying not to mess anything up  (right with our pets..), and praying, wishing, begging, that all would come to an end. 

The norm to sell in our area was 3-4 weeks.  Instead, due to the delay in listing the un-planned struck – five fallen trees from hurricanes, the usual every month repair of something breaking,   three nasty neighbor wars (long story) about border lines,  two contracts that people walked away from, and double paying bills created a bit of stress (ahhh!)  All in all, way too much money was lost in 13 months was enough for us to say, we’re never moving again.

(7) –   The real reason I had to stop my blog for a long while was the web-hoster deleted portions of my website. It was equivalent to the crawlspace having termite damage.  It had to be completely rebuilt.  1000’s of hours of work were flushed down the drain, and all previous writings had to be re-posted, each taking 3-4 hours of time. As of now, I am halfway finished.  So much for the writing career.

When all was said and done we felt as if we had aged twenty years.  The good news is all the techniques for dealing with physical and mental stress were tested to the maximum.   I found that melatonin, chamomile tea, long walks, stress-relief exercise, forced sleep, talking it out with others, getting support from friends, and all the other secrets – they work!  I was not expecting to have them tested to the point of mass anxiety attacks, but they did.  

The combination of other emotions that come with storms creates extra scars. But scars and broken bones they say are a good thing as the healed bone and tissue is supposedly stronger.  Medically speaking the science field says our awesomely designed system does not actually create a stronger fix, but it is restored close to its original state.   It is a natural function of the body that heals itself on its own.

Through my experiences, I would argue that our brain operates differently as we have a choice.

‘Unlike the body, our minds have a choice button.   If we allow storm damage to turn us permanently angry and bitter, our spirit is weakened.  If we view storms as tests that we endured with power, we may have scars, but what remains is fortitude that allows us to handle bigger storms later.  Our fight and resistance muscles become STRONGER than ever.’

Six and a half of the seven scenarios described above all produced staying power and a resolute strength that we’ve chosen to use as a landmark of growth. 

  1. Our children have learned hard lessons but have made advancements that any parent would take pride in.
  2. The con-artist is still on the loose, but the police are on the lookout. The best news is the club insurance company processed a damages claim to replace the monetary losses for our club.  It was deemed the con artist did such a bad job on the tennis courts that it was considered vandalism, and it was.   It was an amazing miracle in my mind.
  3. Stress over the suffering of my in-laws while sorrowful was replaced with comfort knowing their pain is no more, and they are in a better place. The relationship between my wife and her Father and brother expanded greatly with the time they spent together.
  4. The new house is rebuilt, and we finally moved in. Matters involving some of the parties have been resolved, but I’m unable to comment further as a portion is still pending and under non-disclosure.
  5. Our church life has been honed in (See Video Here) with bold changes. We made a small but big addition to our home turning it slightly into a church as we added a wheelchair ramp (that someone donated) to help in particular veterans with mobility challenges. Today our time is spent focused on the defined task of helping people with severe anxiety issues, PTSD and other brain challenges. We tie it to Joesportico’s self-help page and a new movement to walk people through their struggles via group and individual therapy.
  6. The house is sold, and our retirement funds have almost been replenished.
  7. The website is rebuilt and back up and running and has changed to helping worriers of the world become warriors.          

In the end, most everything worked out as promised!  I say ‘as promised’ because in those bad dreams I also had some very calming ones that said, ‘hang in there Joe, every single situation is going to turn out for good.’  It did!  Although if  I were to rewrite the script, I admit I would have rather had much easier circumstances.  Now that it is about over, our view is we have come out a bit beaten and scarred, but filled with empathy towards others going through struggles.  Our wisdom and ability to fight off stress and adversity is stronger than ever.

The serious lesson learned was properly identifying the difference between fighting as a self-controlled warrior versus just plain being ANGRY.  Much of my worry, some of which turned into anxiety from the seven storms, came from anger at what people did to us.  I admit that the cause of some of the nightmares came from mind-filled thoughts of being harmed, cheated, and messed over by the people causing us the stress.  Having been in the business world for decades, I had gotten used to difficult people, but there was always a team to help resolve the issues, and a companies losses only partially affected mine.

In all seven of these and others on a longer list  – it was solo.  A few new ones like dealing with a substance-abusing con artist, egregious errors by two companies at the same time hiding behind lawyers, and watching a lifetime of slow-long-save savings evaporate all at once were new wrinkles.  

Add in:

  • self-blame for making decisions I wish I had not made like; why did I volunteer for this stupid club? 
  • Why did ‘life’ and ‘bad luck’ get us in these situations, we covered all our bases in advance?. 
  • Why did God not stop them?    

On and on the list goes of things that our mind adds to the circumstances to make us worry more and stress us out to the maximum.  When we add in hate and an inability to look beyond the people, whether what they did was blatantly on purpose, or just a mistake, we allow them an undeserved victory.   That is the battle we have to win!

My lion has his mouth closed for a reason.   He is not roaring to fend off the enemy.  His teeth are not showing to bite and fight anyone.   Bolts of lightning hit, and he accepts them without complaint and stays at peace.  He bites his lip and forgives on the inside.  He holds on tightly trusting that judgment and justice will come at a later day, and all will return to calm and peace.

Internal worries are kept in check and fought off by the warrior spirit that chooses to forgive.  It is those that are able to forgive that not only survive, but win the internal battle every time. They trust the earth courts or ultimately the end-of-life court what to do with the guilty. (There is a lot to debate on the topic, read about the balance in this previous post

That is just one Worry elimination lesson gained that prompted me to change my general blog into the focus on how to transform From Worrier to Warrior.  My hope is our time of testing helps you in your storms to hang strong and strengthen your inner Warrior too!

There was so much more gained though about these storms on the spiritual end.  Thanks for listening to our woes and victories, but if you dare to read more (yep the spirit-side details) about the deepest portion of the warrior spirit, then double-click the Enter the Portico button below for PART II of this mini-story. 

If this is your first time visiting Average Joe’s Portico, every post is written in two parts. You have just read the portion challenging the mind, body, and soul.  In The Portico I seek to tap into your spiritual side, but only IF YOU DARE.  Tap the Red Line Below to hear the Spiritual side of the story.  (For more info – read the ‘Do You Dare’ Tab)

If You Dare, Click to Enter Into Joe's Portico.

One certain thing happens when we are in storms:

  • a) whether they are ones that come along that we have zero control over such as weather-related real storms, or
  • b) ones that come from people that have not done their job and you suffer the consequences, or
  • c) ones where leaders have made questionable decisions, or
  • d) ones that you brought on yourself with bad decisions,

– they all create questions and drive us to a deeper desire to seek answers from God.

Jesus Himself using the words of Psalm 22 asked the question ‘My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? Why are You so far from helping Me’?  In times of difficulty and really at any moment of despair, anguish, and oncoming anxiety – it is acceptable to recite words that express your struggles.  Those questions that you know are more than you can handle on your own.  Having nowhere near the pain and suffering that Jesus went through as he said those words while hanging on a cross moments from death are a sure sign, we KNOW He is there with us because he completely understands our pain.  That knowledge in and of itself brings comfort knowing that nothing I will ever go through will be as horrible as what Jesus went through.

But in those moments of despair, we gain understanding. I recall one night questioning everything. Did God bring these storms or was it the bad guy the devil that brought them? Whether God ‘allowed things to happen’ as some proclaim, or since ‘God NEVER sends bad or harmful events to us’, one thing we must learn to accept is; – bad things do happen to everyone at one time or another.

In my seeking answers, oft deep in the early morn hours, I recall hearing Him say to me in those times, ‘thanks for asking and being willing to learn, what do you think?  Do you think the tough times means I do not love you?’ Like conversations Job had with God, He wants to know what we are thinking and wishes for us to discuss them.

God’s words say to me things like: Yes, JoeNah I hear you and yes ask questions, I wish to share in all with you, all the good, all the ‘bad,’ come to me any time.’ And talk we did, and we continue to do, about everything. I have not heard all the exact answers yet, and there will be many I won’t get an answer to until I die, I am sure. He doesn’t call me JoeNah because I run to do what He says, it’s because I find a lot of other things to do that I am more confident in instead. (JoeNah is my shared fun/also-serious name – I believe God wants to be conversational with all of us, what’s yours?)

The conversation continued; – ‘Joe, as you read Psalm 22, note I had that Psalm memorized well, be sure to read the rest of it.  I was not complaining or questioning the Father, it led me to the truth of His faithful love! Be sure to read and grasp on to the rest of the Psalm’:

In parts:

4Our fathers’ faith was in you—
    through the generations, they trusted and believed in you
and you came through.
Every time they cried out to you in their despair,
    you were faithful to deliver them;
    you didn’t disappoint them.

24 For he has not despised my cries of deep despair.
    He’s my first responder to my sufferings,
    and he didn’t look the other way when I was in pain.
    He was there all the time, listening to the song of the afflicted.

Many things we will not know the answer to the why’s but we can always count on 100% of the time that God is with us, His love absolutely never fails.  He carries us through every storm.  He comes through, just as He did on all of our seven stress tests.   I recall specifically in my journal writing down the seven problems back in January of ’18 and noted, ‘all of these things will work out, God is going to come through.’  With that knowledge and calming understanding, it made the tough times bearable, and the growth time incomprehensibly great.

One of many is in the understanding that Warrior strength comes from learning how to hold onto the helm firmly and maintain course. 

In those times when I could not sleep, I was awakened nightly at 2,3,4 a.m. with the craziest of thoughts. I normally have few dreams, but I would awake from nightmares that came out of who knows where.  Wild thoughts popped every night stretching every little problem into gigantic ones.  To combat the nightmares, I developed the habit of turning on my Ipad and journaling every thought and discovery.   I have enough notes to write for years from those times.

Not ironically, as I had the new findings rolling, the nightmares stopped.  I surmise that some negative spirit was sent to torment me. But as all those plots against us that come from the enemy that is intended for bad, God always turns them to good.  Since it was found, I was getting all the answers to my Why questions and getting complete peace (not immediately but after a while of the same thing happening night after night)  It seemed that spirit disappeared and has not returned since.

The master lessons came from examining how Peter handled adversity.

The First Storm

Mark4:35-41 described the scene.

35 Later that day, after it grew dark, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s cross over to the other side of the lake.”  After they had sent the crowd away, they shoved off from shore with him, as he had been teaching from the boat, and there were other boats that sailed with them. 37 Suddenly, as they were crossing the lake, a ferocious tempest arose, with violent winds and waves that were crashing into the boat until it was all but swamped. But Jesus was calmly sleeping in the stern, resting on a cushion.  So they shook him awake, saying, “Teacher, don’t you even care that we are all about to die!” Fully awake, he rebuked the storm and shouted to the sea, “Hush! Calm down!” All at once the wind stopped howling and the water became perfectly calm.

 Then he turned to his disciples and said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Haven’t you learned to trust yet?”    But they were overwhelmed with fear and awe and said to one another, “Who is this man who has such authority that even the wind and waves obey him?”

Think about a couple things here, Peter was a captain of a fleet of fishing boats.   He and some of the disciples had been through many violent storms before most likely. (they didn’t have weatherpeople and radar in those days).  Yet they were scared out of their wits and fearful they would die.

But Jesus, the Master of Peace and understanding, was ‘sleeping in the stern, resting on a cushion’.   They had to shake Him to wake him up and get him off the pillow.

More astonishing, these men had already seen Jesus do some other miracles, turning water into wine, feeding 5,000 people and more, but then He calmed the storm with a couple of words.   The reaction from all 12 brave warrior men – they were ‘overwhelmed with fear.’   They were afraid they were going to die earlier, and now they were even more fearful, seeing the tremendous power that Jesus had.

Personally, I have been on 5 deep sea fishing trips, on all of them I got terribly sick.  Even on the last one, I had a patch and the anti-sick meds and still got sick on my very last fishing trip ever.  Trust me, dying would have been better is how I felt in just a little boat rocking.  I can’t imagine how bad that boat trip was.

But Peter learned something from this trip as it happened another time

The Second Storm

Matthew 14:22-32 describes a second boat trip for the disciples

 As soon as the people were fed, Jesus told his disciples to get into their boat and to go to the other side of the lake while he stayed behind to dismiss the people.  After the crowds dispersed, Jesus went up into the hills to pray. And as night fell he was there praying alone with God.

 But the disciples, who were now in the middle of the lake, ran into trouble, for their boat was tossed about by the high winds and heavy seas. At about four o’clock in the morning,  Jesus came to them, walking on the waves!   When the disciples saw him walking on top of the water, they were terrified and screamed, “A ghost!”

Then Jesus said, “Be brave and don’t be afraid. I am here!”

 Peter shouted out, “Lord, if it’s really you, then have me join you on the water!”

“Come and join me,” Jesus replied.

So Peter stepped out onto the water and began to walk toward Jesus.  But when he realized how high the waves were, he became frightened and started to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he cried out.

Jesus immediately stretched out his hand and lifted him up and said, “What little faith you have! Why would you let doubt win?”

 And the very moment they both stepped into the boat, the raging wind ceased. Then all the disciples crouched down before him and worshiped Jesus. They said in adoration, “You are truly the Son of God!”

On this trip things were a little different.  Apparently, Peter and the boys had gained a little confidence.  They were not freaking out like the last boat trip.   Ho hum, Jesus had just performed another miracle feeding another 5,000 people, but now they were on a boat again. But this time there was no Jesus to wake up to stop the storm 20 minutes into it.  Think about the fact they got on the water at dusk, and it was now 4 a.m.

So for 9 hours or so they were fighting a storm!

For a while, they were probably fine.   Just like we were fine the first month or two of health and house hell.  But as the test lasted longer, our faith got tested, and at times weariness crept in.  Nine hours in a storm, 18 months, either way, it was longer than before, and thus once again they became afraid and terrified.  I asked God myself, why Lord, 7  long tests?  Why did the disciples have to go 9 hours in a storm, why so long?

Boldness and endurance grows when we learn from previous storms of life.  This time when Jesus was awoken and called to help He walked on the water. Once the babies stopped their crying Peter remembered the peace of God he had seen.  He remembered the power of God he had seen multiple times.  He must have remembered Jesus telling him, you will not only be able to do what I have done, but even greater things.  So in that boldness Peter stepped out of the water and was actually doing what Jesus was doing.

He was walking on water! Really he was.

But like so many of us we gain some boldness and try things and then get scared as circumstances try to circumvent what God has put on our hearts to do.  Worry that we won’t be able to pay our bills.  Worry about what people will think about us.  Worry that someone will say nasty things about us on social media.  Worry that some thief will take advantage of our openness.  All very real things, just like ‘the high waves’ that Peter noticed as he was out on the water caused him to have a panic attack and lose the power that was allowing him to really walk on water.

So Jesus spanked him and told him now you’re going to hell Peter for not having faith.  NO WAY!  It says Jesus immediately stretched out his hand and lifted him up.   No, there was no hesitation, Jesus immediately reached out and saved him.  He didn’t wait until he apologized for his lack of faith or waited until he felt guilty.  He immediately saved him. Now granted, Jesus did use the opportunity to explain why it happened and how to do better next time.

Too often we think because for a while in the storm we lost it, we got anxious, we freaked out, maybe we said oh crap or more – that somehow we made things worse or that God has now left us alone.  No, never!

The Third Storm

The third storm was a bit more than a test on the water in a boat.  It was real life and death that Peter got to see and experience.

Luke 22:14-62 describes the life storm of Jesus and Peter’s not-a-warrior fail

(Please take the time to examine the much more difficult storm Peter participated in. Reading, thinking, and studying strengthens the brain. I have taken blogging courses that all say, people have short attention spans and will not read anything more than 1500 words. Dare to not have a weak mind and expand the brain muscle as I continue to dare to stretch the writing rules of today)

This time it was Jesus turn to be in the boat.  The short version, Peter the brave warrior sat and stated in front of everyone, as Jesus said He was about to be arrested and crucified, that he alone would stand and fight for Jesus.   But Jesus calmly foretold Peter, not only will you not help me, you are going to deny me not once but three times.  Peter said, ‘no way’.

Yet as the time for Jesus death neared we see Peter and all the disciples fall asleep while Jesus prayed but asked them to join Him.   He did get brave for a minute and chopped somebody’s ear off, which Jesus did an smh towards him as he should have known by then that Jesus way of a warrior was NOT via violence.   Then when the time came to really be brave, he indeed denied even knowing Jesus.  He ran off and hid in shame as the crucifixion took place.

Now Peter felt a new kind of stress. He and the other disciples went into hiding.  We know factually Jesus rose from the dead and came back after three days.  He roamed around on the earth for 40 days or so.   But just like Jesus had reached out to save the doubting and faithless Peter they had another water conversation a bit different than the last two.

You see, while Jesus was gone Peter gave up.  He felt unworthy.  He felt guilty.  He had let Him down and now he felt worthless.  Worriers often feel this because we get a prompting to do ‘something for God’, then we chicken out.  We add worry on top of our other worries that we’re not good enough because of our fears.  We succumb to sitting in the back rows of the church so no one will see us and then get brave once in a while and volunteer to write a newsletter or babysit in the nursery.

Even though Jesus came back from the dead, Peter had given up on ministry.  In John 21 you can read the whole story.    Short version; it starts off with Peter saying he was going fishing.   Despite hanging out with Jesus for three years having given up the fishing business he was now back at work at the old job.

He had quit.

Then Jesus had a walk on the water (oops just by the water) discussion asking Peter three times if he loved Him or not.  We’ve all heard lots of teachings on the meaning, but for us worriers, I think this was the time where Jesus was saying hey, it’s ok you blew it.  If you love Me, as I know you do, I have a better calling for you.  Go and do it Peter!   And then Jesus told Him something that gave him the opportunity to walk away.  He gave him the final outcome report if he chose the mission.  He gave him the chance to say no.

” I assure you and most solemnly say to you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and walked wherever you wished; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and arms, and someone else will dress you, and carry you where you do not wish to go.”  Now He said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. And after saying this, He said to him, “Follow Me [walk the same path of life that I have walked]!”  John 21:18-19 (AMP version)

Peter was given some time to think about it, as we do not see where he answered and said yes.  If he is like you and I he probably had many a moment looking at the waves swishing onto his feet and freaked out and lost sleep thinking about it.

But we find that Peter did make the first steps to walk the same path Jesus did.   You can read about it where I describe where the theme of Joe’s Portico was derived.   We learn that Peter’s first ministry thing and first repeat of something Jesus did was to heal a man who was born with a walking disability.  In Solomon’s Portico it says the man got up and walked with Peter saying ‘get up and walk’ just like Jesus had done.  Just like Jesus did with a few words to calm the water.

But then it got interesting as we read in Acts 3 and 4  that some bad home inspectors, er Pharisees, made his life difficult and they tossed him in prison and beat him saying stop doing that.  It says that Peter upon being released was skipping and dancing because he was “counted worthy to suffer for Christ”.  He tasted a little of what Jesus did.  He tasted the joy of seeing not only a spiritual life saved, but a man physically being healed.  Then he tasted a bit of what that power would mean, people hating him and even beating him.

The Fourth Storm

The rest of Peter’s storms and tests are described in the book of Acts.  We need to go into the history books to find that Jesus prophecy came true and Peter died a gruesome death as a martyr.  As did all the other disciples except one.   Certainly, we know that Peter and the disciples faced many storms between Acts 3 and the history book depictions that say Peter likewise was crucified.  He still had some unworthiness in his veins, but his worry problems were defeated with gusto.  History tells us that Peter was crucified but he said he was not worthy to die the same way as Jesus, so like the mighty warrior he became, he chose to be crucified upside down.

But most telling are the very words that Peter himself wrote in the Bible as written in the Amplified version in 1 Peter 4:1-2

Therefore, since Christ suffered in the flesh [and died for us], arm yourselves [LIKE WARRIORS] with the same purpose [being willing to suffer for doing what is right and pleasing God], because whoever has suffered in the flesh [being like-minded with Christ] is done with [intentional] sin [having stopped pleasing the world], so that he can no longer spend the rest of his natural life living for human appetites and desires, but [lives] for the will and purpose of God.

I must admit that in the past 18 months the thought of quitting and going back to selling telecomm has crossed my mind a time or two. The storms that dwindled the savings we had to live off while ‘writing’ instead of working had me looking at the waves and saying Lord save me.  And He did.  But the failures inbetween make you question whether you have enough to carry on or not. Maybe when my web-site got deleted  God was saying don’t do that do something else you fool.

Or maybe it was some con artist, or home inspector, or contract breaker, or death,  or sickness, or life-taker; that was trying to thwart God’s plans.  Until we fight through the doubts, and learn to handle the pressure, and don’t look at the waves, and not only walk on the water, but we keep on going, we won’t really know.  And unless we fight off the worrier inside, the warrior will miss the chances to see God’s Warrior power carry us through or even on water. 

Peter found that despite facing difficulties, or call it suffering, God was there to immediately save him.  Jesus knew God His Father loved Him so much certainly he would never forsake him.  He could rest on a pillow knowing that while on this earth He was safe and secure regardless of what storms came along.  And when that inevitable moment comes when our earth-body ending arrives, we know God will reach down and snatch us immediately taking us to a much better place for all of eternity.  

Peace comes as we let the worrier die and trust THE Warrior to carry us all the way until a triumphant victory is won, and never ends.

What storms have you been fighting lately?  Do you find it has made you more into a deeper worrier, or a warrior?  How has our true story that has stifled the worrier to a transformed warrior challenged your thinking?

Note, all underlined references of this true story contain outside links to increase your knowledge and provide the full context of each and every story.  It also directs you to a source that provides multiple versions of the same stories.  I often use varying versions as specific words jump off the page to challenge or motivate my thinking.  Try it, you might like it.

 

 

 

Please share your comments, what struggles with hurt do you have?  How can we help you move from a position of worrier to one of a Warrior?