Take a moment to think about the last year of your life… You can probably pinpoint trials you wish you’d never gone through. Sometimes, we struggle to understand why storms come into our lives. But God always has a purpose. He uses hardship to make us who we were always meant to be: people who know they need God. There’s an old Japanese proverb that says, ‘When you come out of the storm, you’re not the same person that went into the storm.’ If we allow them to, our storms forever change us—for the better.
The early church discovered this when James was taken by the authorities. James was one of the original apostles, so the church was lax. Instead of leaning on God, they assumed James was untouchable…until he was executed. When Peter was later seized, the church woke up. They knew they couldn’t make the same mistake. They had to pray, they had to press into God and do battle.
The night before Peter was to be executed, we read that there was a quadrupled guard around him. The devil doubled down on his offense, but we find Peter sleeping soundly, and the church standing in faith. So, God sent an angel of the Lord to rescue Peter.
The church was transformed through their trial with James, that prepared them for their trial with Peter. In the same way, to get out of your storm, you can’t be the same person who went into it. So, whatever storms you’ve been through in the past year, trust that God has a plan. He has not abandoned you; no, He will finish what He has started! And just like with Peter and the church, He will make you more like Him, and break the chains that were meant to kill you.