In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)
Between yesterday’s deliverance and tomorrow’s dreams we will be confronted by the storms of life, which are as inevitable as they are unpredictable. Jesus is the Lord of the storm (Matthew 8:27), and in today’s verse He promises that there will definitely be storms. These storms come to us in many different forms: disappointment and defeat, poverty and pain, sickness and sorrow, alienation and accusation. And more often than not, these storms come when we least expect them. But they do not come to cause us to doubt God’s love; rather, they are sent to drive us into His presence so that we will come to a deeper understanding of the depth of His love.
Storms are God’s servants (Psalm 148:8) that teach us how to surrender more and more of our lives to His control. Many people have a hard time seeing God as loving if He is the One sending the storms. But it is because God is Love that He sends storms to shape the lifelong process of our sanctification – that is, our growth in Christ-likeness.
God sent a storm to retrieve His rebellious, runaway prophet Jonah so that he could come to a deeper understanding of God’s mercy. God sent a storm on the Sea of Galilee when all of Jesus’ disciples were in a boat so that they could personally witness the awesome, omnipotent power of Jesus Christ to calm that storm with a word. God sent a storm of persecution against the early church so that His people would leave their familiar surroundings in Jerusalem and move out into the world to fulfill Christ’s Great Commission. The storms God sends are not designed to disrupt your life; rather, they are designed to deliver you from the disruptions in your life that are distracting you from God’s call on your life.
What storm has God sent into your life today? When you look back over your past, you’ll see that it is marked by one deliverance after another; your future is filled with dreams and desires. During the “in-between,” you will face many storms. You may be tempted to think they have been sent to break you, but when God brings you through to the other side, you will know they were sent to make you . . . to make you more like Jesus.
Here is something I once read that has stuck with me:
I asked God, “Why are you taking me through troubled waters?”
God replied, “Because the enemies chasing you can’t swim.”
May those words inspire us all to find the Lord of the storm in every storm we face, knowing that God has promised to bring us safely to our divine destination. There is a lovely supplication expressed in the magnificent book of Puritan prayers, The Valley of Vision, which beautifully sums up today’s word of encouragement:
“May the gales of thy mercy blow me safely into harbour.”
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!