As a kid growing up in Eastern Washington, we had rainstorms, ice storms, thunderstorms, wind storms, and snow storms. Snow storms were my favorite. Snow brought all kinds of outdoors fun like throwing snowballs, building snow forts, and of course, making snowmen. If there was enough snow, school was even canceled! Yeah!
As I got a little older, I began to view storms through a different lens. Rain, wind, ice, and snow storms were all a test of my patience and endurance.
I’ve learned that life is pretty much a series of storms. Some of them bring nourishing rain, but some bring destruction. The storms in our lives are like that as well.
Storms in the Bible have one of two purposes; either to correct man or to help man grow spiritually.
Perhaps the best known Bible story is that of Jonah. Poor Jonah was a prophet who God directed to go to Nineveh to proclaim the Ninevite’s need for repentance and surrender to God. Nineveh was the capital city of Assyria, and their king, Sennacherib, was well known for promoting cruelty against God’s people. Jonah’s fear of the Ninevites was greater than his faith in God. Scared little Jonah said, “oh no, not me!” and ran in the opposite direction, and boarded a ship to get further away. In the midst of a great storm, Jonah got thrown overboard by the crew, swallowed by a great fish, where he sat for three days until he repented of his rebellion, and prayed to God for redemption. As soon as he finished his prayer, the fish vomited Jonah up onto dry land (Jonah 1-2).
Sometimes God asks us to do things that we think are impossible. Our attitude toward God is one of rebellion. Like Jonah, we try to run away from what God has directed us to do. God used the great storm to set in motion a series of events that brought Jonah to his knees, asking for redemption, and a second chance. Our God is a God of second chances.
In another well-known Bible story recorded in Matthew 14:22-36 we encounter the disciples who Jesus has sent away in a boat to cross the lake. A great storm comes up threatening to swamp the boat.
Jesus comes along walking on water. The disciples see Jesus walking on water, but they are frightened because they think he is a ghost. Jesus identifies himself, and Peter says if it’s you call me to walk on water with you. Peter hops out of the boat and is walking on water, but starts to sink the minute he takes his eyes off Jesus. Jesus rescues Peter, they walk together to the boat and climb aboard. As soon as they get aboard the wind dies down.
In Matthew 8:23-27, Jesus tested the disciples in a storm when he was in the boat with them, but here He is testing them when he is not with them. He knew he would not be with them much longer and they needed to learn to trust Him even after He was gone.
Jonah was in a storm because he disobeyed God and needed correction. The disciples were in a storm because they obeyed God, and needed to learn to trust God even when He wasn’t with them.
Both Jonah and the disciples ended up facing a storm because they needed to have enough faith to trust God and His direction in their lives. They needed spiritual growth.
It is not a matter of ‘if’ we will face storms in our lives, it is only a matter of when. We will likely face storms in our families, with friends, in our businesses, and even in our churches. As leaders, we will be called on to make difficult decisions that affect others. The lesson from the storms that Jonah and the disciples faced is that the safest place to be in a storm is in the center of God’s will!
Join the Conversation
As always questions and comments are welcome. Do you have enough faith to weather life’s storms? Have you ever been like Jonah, running away from God’s command straight into a storm (I know I have)? Have you ever been like the disciples, obeying God yet still having to face a storm (I’ve been there as well)?
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Category: Personal Development | Dependence on God