By Rev. J. Loren Russell

Philippians 4:10-11

“But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at last your care for me has flourished again; though you surely did care, but you lacked opportunity. 11 Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: 12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

It is often said that we are either in a storm, just coming out of a storm, or headed into a storm. If you’ve ever been in a storm, you know how frightening it can be; the potential is there to destroy homes, trees can be uprooted, floods waters could cover the land, and everyday life can be interrupted like in Hurricane Sandy, or even Katrina. Then there are the personal storms when everything seems topsy-turvy. Sometimes jobs are lost, relationships end, children flunk, health fails, and sometimes you lose your freedom.

Paul writes his letter to the Philippian church while chained in a Roman jail to acknowledge the gifts he had received from them, to make an appeal for them to remain steadfast in their generosity, and to encourage them to maintain their spirit of unity. While there were no storms, troubles, trials, or tribulations in Philippi, Paul wrote to prepare them before the storms come and tribulations arise so that they are mindful of the traps and pitfalls that could ensnare them. He wrote to help them avoid inevitable storms.

Have you ever noticed that many times the person who brings the message is the one who the message is for? While things were good for the Philippian church, there was a raging storm in Paul’s life. Paul had tribulation in his life and was the one who had to find a way to find gold while the storms of life were raging. Discovering the gold, however, requires specific knowledge. First, you have to know where the storm is raging. You have to know that the storm is going on around you, not to you. For instance, even if your health is failing, or life is slipping away, you have to know that your body is just the present residence of your eternal soul.

Once you recognize where the storm is raging, you need to know what storms do; they dredge up riches that only come up in a storm. Storms dig up deeply buried treasures that are often only discovered when the storm turns up the earth. There is gold in the storm if you can find it.

Paul wrote this letter while struggling to get the basic essentials of life. The Philippian church became the primary source of all his needs; physically, mentally and spiritually. They became a living testimony that there is gold in the storm! If you look carefully, you will see that the gold is right in front of you. We have to take advantage of the uncovered gold that the storm has dug up. If we fail to take advantage of it, we might have missed our golden moment.

If you are in a storm, going through difficult times, or just feel like life has dealt you an unfair hand, know that you can pick up the gold and the treasures that the storms dig up! Paul’s experience with the Philippian church encourages me and it should encourage you that you really can find gold in the storm!

20161113_JLRussellRev. J. Loren Russell is an associate minister at both Goodwill and The Greater Universal Baptist Churches in the Bronx; President/CEO of The JLR Company for Church Financial & Strategic Consulting; and host of “Matters of Faith: The Radio Show” on Soul 1 Radio Mondays 8:00 – 10:00 PM. Listen here by phone at 626-226-1448. Be sure to friend “Matters of Faith” on Facebook, Twitter @jlorenr, and email us at

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