Sometimes, up here in our mountains, we will get something we call a “dry storm.” A dry storm is a fierce thunderstorm, but with only dark clouds, thunder and lightening, yet–NO RAIN.
Especially in one of our dry summer’s? A dry storm can wreak devastating havoc in the form of wildfires.
In the past, we have had so many fires burning up here, that the smoke was as thick as heavy fog, and our blue skies disappeared for weeks!
Amazing, how much you can miss the color blue.
Storms of opposition
I often think of those dry storms when one of my critics shows up.
It’s then, I remember what Charles Spurgeon once said, “If you have no opposition, you had better ask God if you are on His track for your life.”
(Or, something to that effect.)
No one enjoys harsh criticism–and as for me, I have had to learn what to do when these folks vociferously show up.
Since words of affirmation are my heart’s “puppy-dog love-language,” I soon learned that I needed a Godly strategy for these sad occasions. Especially when the words are sharp, unkind, and slash at my-often-fragile-confidence.
Disagreement Vs. Intolerance
I was shocked to recently discover Franklin Graham had been barred from Facebook–Franklin Graham for Pete’s sake!
Also, I preview lots of You Tube videos looking for praise music to fit with my blog posts.
Lately, I was dismayed to discover You Tube posts titled, “We No Longer Sing Bethel Music in Our Church” and “We No Longer Sing Songs From Bethel and Hillsong.”
Even in church’s I have attended, I have heard other Christians make ridiculing remarks about pastors with charismatic leaning.
You know, my Bible refers to only ONE flock, with One Shepherd–Jesus.
I know we live in a world that is becoming increasingly intolerant to our Gospel, but I would hope here in Christ’s Church, we can disagree without attacking one another.
Doesn’t the Bible also say, Jesus is coming back for “His Bride,” singular?
Flaws, imperfections, and blind spots
We all have these, don’t we?
(No exceptions need apply.)
Unfortunately, I grew up in a house with lots of angry words. So, believe me when I say, fading into the wallpaper is still my fallback M.O.
“Going public,” with my thoughts and beliefs has never been easy for me. Even to this day, in any social venue where I have to mix with people I don’t know? I still feel clumsy, awkward, and as geeky as when I was a teenager with two left feet–and absolutely nothing to say.
Yet, how else can you show people how much Jesus has done for you without publicly sharing your stories? How can you witness about God’s love and forgiveness without telling them about the things He has delivered you from; the things He is still delivering you from?
Even after hundreds of blog posts…
I continue to battle the debilitating shyness of my youth.
This kind of “vulnerability” often feels very risky. But, God has taught me, He is glorified in my multiplied weakness.
And I have learned, if you are going to answer God’s call, and step out of the boat? You are going to be criticized at times.
Dry storms of opposition will certainly come calling.
So, here’s what God has taught me:
- First, keep quiet. By that I mean, take unkind remarks to the Lord. [James 1:19]
- God blesses unity, so do not enter into any petty bickering or quarrels, as these only lead to sin. [James 4:11-12]
- Maintain the posture of a peacemaker. [James 3:18]
- Take another’s critical comments to God alone. Ask Him to show you your heart. Live open-hearted before Him. If He says you need to make a course correction? Do it. Otherwise, “Walk on.” [Psalm 19:12-14]
- Finally, pray for your critic. Remember, God turned the captivity of Job when he prayed for his “friends.” [Job 42:10]
- In forgiving those who find fault with you, ask God to “love on them,” extra good! [Matthew 5:44]
You are in excellent company
The psalmist David was hated, and chased out of town, by his own son.
Joseph, too, was hated by his brothers, who threw him into a dry pit, and plotted to kill him.
Even Jesus, had family who denounced Him; Pharisees who accused Him; and disciples who deserted Him.
I often remind myself of these stories when gossip and slander are getting on their feet.
And, that a servant is not above her Master. I will also have to face unjust criticism.
When this happens?
Take special care to speak the Word of God over your life; remind yourself of how much God loves you; and that you are a greatly beloved, blood-washed, blood-bought, daughter of the Most High God!
God sees your heart. He hears your thoughts, and your prayers. You are His priceless Bride and His servant.
Isn’t it written?
Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand. Romans 14:4 ESV
God chose you, called you, and equipped you.
His mercies are new EVERY morning. GREAT is His faithfulness.
He calls you righteous and beloved–in spite of your many flaws, glaring imperfections, and blind spots.
He is transforming you into the likeness of Jesus by His Word, and His love for YOU, has no limits.
Dark clouds of fear and doubt…
These come from the enemy of your soul:
Fear and doubt are almost always rooted in believing you are not loveable. –Shelly Miller, Sabbath Society
Since, dark clouds of fear and doubt will often follow in a critics wake?
Have a decided-heart beforehand.
Speak the loving words of God over your life and pray them for others.
(None of us always “get it right”–not even the critics.)
Turn your back to the clouds, and walk on; humble yourself under the mighty hand of God, and give loads, and loads, of GRACE.
Remember our verse,
Those who wait for perfect weather will never plant seeds; those who look at every cloud will never harvest crops. Ecclesiastes 11:4 NCV