It will come to no surprise to you to hear that all of us face storms in our lives. Sometimes the storms are mild – they come unexpectedly, but pass quickly and without incident. Sometimes the storms are fierce, and seem like they will never end. And we find everything in between. The point, however, is that we all face storms; but in all of them, we can choose how we will respond. Let’s look together at three storms in the Bible, and see what we can learn from them.
Our first storm is found in the book of Jonah. You may know the story. God called Jonah and sent him to preach in Nineveh. Jonah, the reluctant prophet, chose to run away – so much so, that he boarded a ship sailing in the opposite direction! Then came the storm. The Bible tells us that the sailors were afraid, and each cried out to his god. They threw the cargo overboard. And then they cast lots to see who was responsible for the storm. When the lot fell on Jonah, they cast him overboard and the storm subsided.
We hear of another storm in the Gospel of Matthew (chapter 8). On this occasion, Jesus and His disciples were all in the boat. Jesus had gone to sleep. Then “there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves.” The disciples called on Jesus. He rose, and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.
Contrast these two stories. In both cases there was a storm. In both cases they were on a boat. But that’s where the similarities end. Notice how the people on the boat responded to the storm.
In Jonah’s case, the sailors chose to play the “blame game.” Who is at fault? Let’s find out who is responsible, and once we find him, everything is going to be OK. In the midst of doing this, they lost their cargo, and they lost Jonah. Yes, the storm died down – but at great cost.
In Matthew’s account, the disciples called on Jesus. They did not waste time wondering why the storm had arisen, nor whose fault it may be. The storm was raging, but they knew the One who had the power to save them. So they called on Him; and He calmed the storm.
And then… we read of yet another storm in the book of Acts (chapter 27). The apostle Paul was being taken to Rome, as a prisoner, on a merchant ship. For two weeks the ship was buffeted by the winds and the waves. But Paul encouraged them: “I urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. For this very night there stood before me an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I worship, and he said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar. And behold, God has granted you all those who sail with you.’ So take heart, men, for I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told.” Paul heard from God; and had the confidence that it would be as God had said.
Jesus said, “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). The question is not whether you will ever face a storm; but rather, what will you do when the storms of life come your way? You can be like the sailors in Jonah’s boat, going about looking for someone to blame, and pointing fingers at those “responsible” for your misery. A better approach is to be like the disciples, calling on the One who can still the storm. And better yet, you can live in the sweet confidence that no matter what storms you face, God’s purpose will be fulfilled in your life. When you are facing a storm, listen to the Holy Spirit; then declare with boldness what God has spoken to you. Take heart. He who is with you and for you will not let you down.
Dr. Chiqui Polo-Wood | Al rights Reserved 2015