How to Survive the Perfect Storm

blog Jan 18, 2024

By Mattheus van der Steen

Out on the prairie storms can sweep through with a ferocity that sends shudders down your spine. When the storms come raging in, a herd of cows will run from it in terror, desperate to outrun it and all the discomfort it brings. Of course, they are unable to outrun the storm so it catches up to them, and they then run along with the storm. Thus, they prolong their amount of time in the storm. When it has finally ended, the herd of cows is exhausted, utterly worn out from their own terror and running.

Buffalos, on the other hand, sense the storm coming and, in contrast to the cows, run headfirst into the storm. They run until they come out the other side, and their time spent in the storm is relatively short. Their natural instincts reduce the amount of pain suffered in the storm.

There have been many different storms that raged through my life—storms filled with misunderstanding, pain, rejection and doubts. During these storms I was reminded of what I learned about buffalos and cows. When we are faced with life’s storms, we don’t have a choice not to go through the storm, but we can reduce our time in it and the amount of pain we will have to endure, if we charge into it headfirst.

I’ve personally weathered numerous crises and storms, emerging stronger each time. However, it was during those difficult moments, in the loneliness of being misunderstood, in the pain of rejection and the doubts of whether I was doing the right thing, that I learned the most valuable lessons.

There were moments where it felt like no one understood me, and people even seemed bent on misunderstanding me, my intentions, words and actions. What was being said about me was not true, or even outright lies. I learned in those times of being misunderstood that seeking the Lord, and remembering His promises for me, would be what would keep me out of the pit of despair and self-pity.

Before the creation of the world, God had a prophetic word over your life, patiently awaiting its divine moment of fulfillment. This profound truth often becomes evident when life takes an unexpected turn, and obstacles appear on the path to our promises. In these moments, it’s easy to question whether we are truly aligned with God’s will.

What do you do when you are actively pursuing God’s purpose, yet it feels as if the very doors meant to lead you forward are abruptly closed? When you find yourself grappling with circumstances beyond your control, thrust into unfamiliar territory, and burdened with challenges you didn’t ask for? Welcome to the process.

The fulfilment of God’s promises isn’t always straightforward. It’s not a smooth, uninterrupted path from prophetic word to promise fulfilled. Instead, it’s often marked by unexpected crises and storms that can leave us feeling disheartened, questioning God and even labelling these trials as demonic attacks.

In reality, these challenges are part of the process—a transition period in which our souls are refined and our faith deepens to resemble the finished work of Jesus. To navigate this process effectively, our focus must remain steadfast on God and His promises.

The rejection that I experienced at different levels would have been enough to finish me off, had it not been for the moments of quiet withdrawal at home, where I would remind myself of my identity in Him. Being alone with the Lord, listening to what He says about you, is what brings healing. Telling Him your pain and sorrow bring relief and comfort.

When people around you reject you, even the ones you thought you could trust, the betrayal cuts you deep to your core. The only way out of the pit of rejection, is to remind yourself time and again who you are in Christ. Remind yourself of how He sees you, and meditate on His promises in His word.

When the doubts swirled around me like a thick fog, when I did not know which way to turn, I stood still. Still enough to hear His voice and use it as my beacon to lead me in the right direction. The fog would seem so thick, completely disorienting, and yet He was right there, by my side, showing me the way forward.

I was prompted by a divine calling to share my experiences and insights, so others may recognize the storms they face, understand their purpose and emerge resilient. You are not alone in your struggles, and I would like to help guide you toward walking in the fullness of God’s promises. So don’t give up, no matter how harsh the storm may seem that you are in, there is purpose in the pain, and choices to be made in the chaos.

When you see the purpose, and know what choices to make, the storm will not be a waste of your time, or a nasty unwanted detour, but a process that will refine you, shape you and prepare you for the promises God has for you.


In the chaos of life’s storms, you are poised to birth something new. The pressure and resistance you feel aren’t opposition but preparations for the authority you are destined to wield as a territory taker.

Consider the heroes of faith who confronted storms to reach their destinies. Their trials were not obstacles but stepping stones toward God’s purpose. The challenges you face today serve as building blocks for your character and opportunities to deepen your faith (see James 1:2-4). Seeing your challenges as such will determine how you emerge on the other side of the storm.

Leaders all over the world are entering a season in which God’s promises are being fulfilled. It’s crucial to act on these promises in every situation. Many leaders are experiencing a transitional phase—a waiting room—where the old ways no longer suffice and the new is imminent. In this season, even when you feel unfavorably positioned, you are highly favored.

Closed doors aren’t personal rejection; they are signs pointing the way. Learning to navigate rejection is crucial for leaders. Rejection can be a dangerous pitfall, and I have learned that it is vital to not allow that rejection to determine my worth and value.

God is working on your character during this season to prepare you for what lies ahead. He wants to make sure that your character can bear the weight of the authority and calling that is placed on your life. Anointing and gifting need a well-developed character that can carry the weight of such great responsibility. Every storm that you weather well propels you closer to your purpose and destiny.

Consider the story of Mary, the mother of Jesus, who was called highly favored yet faced opposition, pressure and rejection. Initially Joseph wanted to get rid of her, and there were probably people who whispered about her pregnancy and the wedding date. Yet even in her discomfort and uncertainty she carried the promise of God. The apparent opposites in her life were orchestrated by God, developing her character even more and providing everything she needed for her journey.


How you respond to pressure defines the outcome. Do you react with panic and unbelief, or do you rely on and trust in God? Prophecies received are meant to be prophecies fulfilled. While receiving prophetic words is thrilling, embracing the process can be challenging. Your role is to keep believing, standing and acting on God’s promises.

There are hundreds of promises in God’s word. Learning to apply these promises requires active faith—faith that can move mountains. Don’t be hasty to label storms as demonic; they may be divine catalysts to activate your faith. It is good to know what kind of storm you are going through, as this will determine how you can best weather it and come out stronger on the other side (see sidebar).

As leaders, we all encounter pressure and tight spots. How we respond is critical. Recognize that there’s often a divine purpose behind pressure. Instead of reacting emotionally, rely on God's guidance. Making impulsive decisions during pressure can lead us astray. Instead, wait upon the Lord, seeking His instructions. When I have been under intense pressure, I learned that the greatest value was not in defending myself, but being quiet and allowing the Lord to defend me and vindicate me.

It can be very tempting to want to “set the record straight” when what is being said about you is not true, but it is in these very moments that God wants to be your Advocate. Waiting on Him to be my Guide out of the storm and my Defender against the lies proved to be the best move I could make.

In the evenings, when I had put the children in bed, and I sat by myself on the sofa, I would feel God draw near to me. I would make a point to turn on worship music, and as I sat there, the tears would flow. The pain, rejection and fear—really all of the emotions that David describes in the Psalms—would come to the surface, all mixed together.

When there was no one else around, when I did not have to put on a brave face, when it was just me and God, everything would come out. And I would sense his presence. Looking back those were very valuable moments. There was a depth to those experiences, things that happened deep down in my soul and spirit, that eventually made me a stronger person.

When it seems like you will lose everything, or when you have lost everything, when people question and doubt you, when you are unable to share the whole story, God does not question or doubt you. He knows the truth. He knows all the details of what happened, why it happened and how you feel. I have always clung to certain passages in the Bible. One that is special to me is Psalm 23.

The knowledge that He would “prepare a table for me in the presence of my enemies,” that He would “anoint my head with oil” was very comforting, though I did not feel like those were happening at the time. I experienced what it was like to know that there was favor on my life, but not feel it. When everything seems dark around you. And yet somehow life goes on and you have to keep functioning, when you feel like your own life is falling apart. In those moments I learned the lessons that I have listed below. Perhaps they will help you navigate your storms.

Remember that embracing the process is a lifelong journey. Each challenge you overcome brings you one step closer to fulfilling the prophetic word over your life. As you apply these takeaways and draw closer to God, you’ll find strength, resilience, and purpose in the midst of life’s storms. Your breakthrough is not far off; you are well-equipped to face whatever comes your way. Welcome to the process of becoming all that God has called you to be.


Check out Mattheus van der Steen's new book, The Process, here.

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