Walk on Through the Storm
For the past couple of days we have had some pretty big storms here on the mountain. The rain has been good for the garden, but the winds have been hard on it.
The other day while having school with my 6 year old granddaughter, one such storm rolled in very quickly. She became very concerned because her Cho-bu was still outside. She was concerned that the lightning would strike him. I tried to reassure her that he would be all right. I pointed out to her that he had gone into the garage. That made her feel a little better until she saw him go back out into the garden where he had been working putting posts in the ground to support the blackberry bushes. She was so upset that I suggested we pray for Cho-bu that God would protect him in the storm. After the prayer she said with a big sigh of relief, “OK, now I feel calmer. It’s given me the strength to believe.”
The things that come from the mouth of that child, it just amazes me sometimes.
Through every storm there can be peace or unrest. You are sailing happily through life, enjoying every good blessing, until out of nowhere a storm crosses your path and wreaks unbelievable havoc: your doctor schedules an appointment with you to discuss some unsettling test results; your company declares bankruptcy; your oldest child is the victim of a drunk-driving accident.
Any number of surprises such as these can turn happiness into a nightmare, challenging your most foundational expectations about life.
But God's Spirit still hovers over the waters of your troubles, and you can find the comfort of his presence even when storm clouds obscure your vision
The storms and trials of life are as sure to come your way as surely as the breath you just took. Some people seem to live constantly in the midst of a storm, but none of us are exempt from at least passing through a few of them. Storms are not fun and often leave us with damage that we have to deal with. It is important for us to realize though, that the storms of this life bring lessons that we cannot learn apart from them. We must work not to become bitter in the storm, but rather rejoice that our Father is allowing us another opportunity to learn. This is tough.
There are storms that can hit our place of work, and suddenly all is in confusion. Some of you are facing financial storms, and there seems no hope of paying the bills. There are also medical storms that afflict us and our family. All is going well, and then suddenly, cancer, or a heart attack hits us or our loved ones. Some of the toughest storms are when a family is being torn apart and is in danger of breaking up by the force of the wind.
It is Satan that brings the storms into our lives. But it is Jesus, the eternal Son of God, who is in control of the wind, waves, and the hurricanes that hit our families. He can say, "Peace! Be still!" And, suddenly, we sense a great calm. It is then easy to row the boat to shore.
What do we do when a financial, or medical, or family break-up, or persecution, or storm in our place of work has come down upon us?
"The boat battered by the waves, was far from land, for the wind was against them. And early in the morning Jesus came walking towards them on the sea. But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, saying, "It is a ghost!" And they cried out in fear" (Matthew 14:24-25). That is the way many of us react to a storm in our life. We cry out desperately, as if Jesus is dead and gone. He can't do anything in this situation. He is just a ghost in the night.
But, as usual, Peter is impetuous. "Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water" When we are hit by a storm we tend to think there is something bold that we must do… And Jesus said, "Come." Then an amazing thing happened. "Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came towards Jesus. But when he noticed the strong wind, he became frightened and beginning to sink, he cried out. 'Lord, save me!' Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him" (Matthew 14:28-31).
Notice that Peter, having begun by faith, could have gone on walking on the water by the same power of the Spirit over the wind and the waves that Jesus had. Things went wrong when he turned from looking at Jesus to the huge waves around him. That's when he began to sink. The secret of facing any kind of storm in our lives is not to focus on the problems that confront us, but look steadfastly toward the Messiah, the Son of God who is in complete control.
Mark recorded the story as told by Peter, and wrote "Then he got into the boat with them and the wind ceased: (Mark 6:51). Matthew was also there in the boat, and he remembered how "the wind ceased" (Matthew 14:32). What John remembered was that "immediately the boat reached the land toward which they were going" (John 6:21). That is the outcome many of us have experienced in the life-storms that we have faced. Perhaps you are facing a storm right now, or it may hit you in the coming weeks. Just remember that Jesus is in ultimate control of the wind and the waves. So, look in His direction.
Ella Wheeler Wilcox, a poet of another generation, wrote of her storms and her faith:
“I will not doubt though all my ships at sea
Come drifting home with broken masts and sails,
I shall believe the Hand that never fails,
From seeming evil worketh good for me.
And though I weep because those sails are battered,
Still will I cry, while my best hopes lie shattered,
I trust in Thee."
Arthur John Gossip's powerful sermon preached after his wife's sudden and tragic death. Here are two quotes from that sermon:
"Those who live in the sunshine may have faith, but those of us who walk in the shadows must have faith."
"Peace does not come with the absence of troubles, but with the conscious realization of adequate resources. “Our resources will be adequate if in the midst of the storms we affirm who we are, remember what we are here to do and claim the presence of the One who never leaves us.”
Stephen kept his eyes on Jesus through his storm, and it was a testimony of faith to Saul — who at this point was persecuting Christians, but would later become the greatest missionary to the Gentiles, spreading the gospel story of our Savior and Christ.
The way that we demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit in difficult times, today, can also be a most powerful witness to those around us. Anyone can be joyful and peaceful when things are going well, but it is supernatural to have love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, forgiveness and self-control when you are in the middle of one of life's raging storms.
When you find yourself in a storm, by all means pray that the Lord will remove it. If He doesn't, pray that the Lord will help you through it, and in so doing be a witness to those around. We don’t want to be guilty of being fair weather Christians. In the midst of a storm, we certainly hope that God will be glorified in us by the way we handle our storms.
Remember the song; “When you walk through a storm, hold your head up high, and don't be afraid of the dark. At the end of a storm is a golden sky, and the sweet silver song of a lark. Walk on through the wind walk on through the rain tho' your dreams be tossed and blown. Walk on.. Walk on.. With hope in your heart and you'll never walk alone”.
The Lord promises, “Lo, I am with you, even unto the end of the world.” “I will never leave you, nor forsake you.”
Pray. Take a deep breath, and say, “OK, now I feel calmer. It’s given me the strength to believe.”