Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Forecast is.....Storms Ahead!

"When the storm has swept by, the wicked are gone,
       but the righteous stand firm forever."

Proverbs 10:25
The other night I was watching the news and the weatherman was forecasting a big storm heading our way. This storm was to be full of rain, hail, strong winds. The reason for giving us all a forewarning was to allow us time to prepare for the storm. To make sure candles are ready, flashlights have batteries, anything that could be blown about by the wind was safely secured.
We could prepare for the storm
I found myself wishing we had those same forecasts for the storms we face in life. Wouldn't it be nice if we could find out a day or two ahead...or even a few hours ahead of the storm, that it was on the way? Wouldn't it be nice if we could know beforehand just how much rain to expect...if hail was expected...how strong the wind was going to blow?
We could prepare for the storms of life 
But then I realized, we have been warned. Jesus said in John 16:33  that in this world we will have trouble. So it really should come as no surprise when those storms hit us. While we may not know the nature of the storm, or the time of the storm, or the size of the storm, or the duration of the storm...Jesus has "forecast" that there will be storms.

The question is...are we prepared for the storm? 

So how does one prepare for the storms of life? What do we do when a storms suddenly arises? Sometimes the storms we find ourselves in are our own fault. Disobedience, rebellion, and fear can keep us from doing the things God has called us to do. The end result can be storms that rock our boats. When Jonah was running from God, he got on a boat and headed for Tarshish. A storm arose on the water and the sailors became fearful. In their panic, they began to throw whatever they could overboard, including Jonah! The storm finally abated and Jonah ended up in the belly of a fish...not much better than the storm!
What do we throw overboard?
Relationships, jobs, ministries, money
Sometimes the storms we face are just the result of living in a fallen world.  Stuff happens. One day, the disciples were in the boat on the lake. Jesus was sleeping below deck. A storm arose and they were afraid. I imagine this was an unexpected storm that suddenly arose. Surely they wouldn't have gotten in a boat if there were storm clouds on the horizon. This storm caught them unaware and unprepared. And where was Jesus when they needed Him? They couldn't understand how He could just be sleeping! Doesn't He care? Is He really just going to let this happen?
Don't we ask those same questions? 
They had seen Him do amazing miracles...heal broken and diseased bodies, feed thousands with almost nothing; walk on water! Did anyone think to just go to Him and wake Him up and say, "Master, we got a little problem here. Do You think You could do something?" In their fear, maybe they forgot who He was...what He could do.  Perhaps we do the same. While disappointed in their lack of faith, Jesus simply said, "Be still!" and the storm abated. 
Do we have the faith to ask Him to calm the storm?
Sometimes He calms the storms, but sometimes....He doesn't. However, He has promised  to be our shelter in the storm. 
"I long to dwell in your tent forever and
take refuge in the shelter of your wings."   
Psalm 61:4 
"He will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle
and set me high upon a rock."
Psalm 27:5
"He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty."
Psalm 91:1
And while the storms can be frightening and unpredictable, let's not forget the beauty to be found in the storm. When a storm approaches, the clouds take on different shapes and colors. As the wind howls it not only can "sing" a song, but cause the trees to bend  in a graceful dance. The lightening creates a brilliant light show as it flashes across the sky.

If we look for it, that same beauty can be found in our storms of life. Those friends who stand beside us to encourage and strengthen us come in all shapes and sizes and colors. When the winds come along and we fear that we will be blown away, let the "howling" wind accompany our songs of praise. And with our faith placed firmly upon Jesus, we can sing our songs of praise unto the Lord as we bend and dance in the light of His love.

So, while Jesus has forecast storms ahead, He has not left us unprepared. We avoid some of the storms by walking in obedience to His Word and His calling. However, when those storms arise, we can call on Him in faith to calm the storm or, if we have to endure it, He will shelter us in the midst of the storm.

But when the storm has passed....the righteous will stand firm forever.

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