We all experience storms in life – and we don’t always get to choose when the rain comes.

If you’ve read my book “The Never-Ending Pursuit,” you might remember the story of the time when my family and I were escorted off the beach by a lifeguard. This certainly wasn’t how we pictured our vacation playing out. We had just set up on the beach and were looking forward to a day of relaxation and fun in the sun. However, it didn’t take long before a massive lightning storm erupted to provide quite the damper on our plans for the day (both literally and metaphorically).

I could have gotten mad, but I chose to laugh it off instead. Deep down, I knew I couldn’t control the weather. I also knew that, eventually, I would have gotten wet anyway after taking a dip in the ocean, and in that way, the day still played out how I expected.

However, this experience also reminded me of the inevitability of storms in life. My pastor once said that we’re all either coming out of a storm, going through a storm, or about to enter a storm. This isn’t meant to cause worry or sadness for anybody – it’s simply a fact of life. With this in mind, our question shouldn’t be if we can avoid storms – our concern should be how we respond to storms when they come.

Jesus reminds us at the end of the Sermon on the Mount that when we take His teachings seriously and apply them to our lives, we’ll be prepared for whatever life has to throw at us. Hear His words in Matthew 7:24-27 (NLT): “Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.”

In this story, we see two houses that fare quite differently based on their composition. Both homes experience the same type of external factors, but only one house is left standing at the end of the day.

Jesus’ message is clear – life isn’t always easy, but His words and teachings can fortify our hearts and minds so that we’re ready to stand strong no matter what happens. When we know that our long-term well-being isn’t in question, we’re able to approach the everyday trials and tribulations of life with a different sort of attitude. Rather than wondering what life will look like on the other side, we’re able to draw closer to God in the roughest seasons.

Because of this, we remain convinced that He is working on our behalf and that He is good and all-powerful no matter what’s taking place in our lives. We understand that we can’t control all external factors, but we can always pursue a more committed and deeper relationship with Him. As we do this, we will grow in trust and submission, which provides the foundation for a life well lived.

-David Grimm