We call them “storms” for a reason –– difficult seasons of life shake us up and rock us to our core. Ultimately, suffering has one of two effects for each of us: to break us down, or to grow us up, and we get to choose which outcome is ours. In this lesson, we’ll talk about how to weather the storms of life…and come out the other side, not uprooted, but rooted more deeply than ever before in what’s truly good for us.
1. Watch where you’re going.
- The first four words and last four words of this chapter provide bookends that tell us the point of the psalm. The first phrase is, “Blessed is the man,” and the last phrase is, “The ungodly shall perish.” Psalm 1 tells us what choices lead us down either path.
- Big mistakes start with little compromises. Pursuing the ungodly path doesn’t usually come as one major life-altering decision, but it begins with smaller choices we make along the way. That’s why we have to watch where we’re going. We have to have the long-game in mind, and think about the long-term consequences of our actions in the present.
Describe a time you made a series of choices that took you somewhere you didn’t want to be. Reflect on the kinds of choices you’re making right now. Where are they taking you in the long-run?
2. Don’t get dehydrated.
- To keep ourselves “hydrated,” growing and fulfilled spiritually, we have to delight in the Lord and his Word. What we delight in determines what disciplines we pursue and what thoughts we dwell on. If you don’t know what you delight in, ask yourself what you would say “yes” to in a heartbeat.
- The Psalmist shows us that the blessed man is one who delights in the law of God. Delight takes cultivation –– when we seek to align our wills with God, our love for what he loves grows.
- God can do a lot more with our obedience than with our meager attempts for control.
- When we try to control things, we ultimately fail because we rely on our own strength. We don’t usually realize how little control we have until we lose control. When we soak ourselves in the things of God, and we delight in the right things, we don’t have to worry about relying on our own strength to make the “right” decisions.
What are some things you would say “yes” to in a heartbeat? Do the things that delight you also delight the Lord? How would delighting in the things of God look differently than trying to control your life?
3. Be an evergreen.
- The winds of life don’t have to be opposition…they can be opportunities to blow away non-essential things in our lives to make room for what God wants to bring us instead.
- God knows where to plant us because he knows what kind of plants we are. He wants us to bloom where we’re planted until he transplants us.
- The needles on an evergreen tree allow water to channel directly all the way down to the roots, and they properly channel wind to benefit (not harm) the tree. The Holy Spirit is often referred to as “wind” and “water” in the Bible. So when the Psalmist talks about leaves that will not wither, he is saying we need to lean into the promptings of the Holy Spirit to direct our lives. We need water (the Word of God) and wind (the Spirit of God) to flourish and be evergreen.
- If we want to grow up, we have to put roots down. We have to be spiritually rooted.
How do you spiritually prepare for difficult days and weeks? What are some examples of “wind” and “water” in your life right now? How are those things shaping you? How can you lean into the direction of the Spirit in the midst of what you’re going through?
Optional Follow-up Questions
- What makes you say that?
- How do you feel about that?
- How would you explain your answer to a non-Christian friend or neighbor?
- Why did God design it to work that way? Why not just do (whatever else) instead?
- What would you say to someone who disagrees with that?
- Why do we really have to do it like that? Why can’t we just go (some other route) instead?