In recent days, how many of you or a family member or friend have had water in your basement and/or had to evacuate because of expected or actual flooding? Lately, many of us have been experiencing what could be called a "storm" in our life. So, in this article I thought I would speak briefly concerning the storms of life.
In the first place, we have to come to terms with the fact that storms happen to everyone. On an intellectual level we all know this is true. Nevertheless, when we are hit by a storm our first reaction is often to say, "Why is this happening to me; I don't deserve this." Whether we deserve it or not, at times we all have to endure a storm in our life. As the old saying goes, "Into every life some rain must fall." The Lord Jesus put it this way in Matthew 5:45: "He [God] makes his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust." (NKJV)
Many of us think if we live our life a certain way-if we are nice to everyone and treat them fairly, if we pay our bills and our taxes on time, if we keep our nose clean and stay out of trouble, if we go to church and try to live moral life-there will be no storms in our life. But that's just not how it works; the rain falls on everyone, the just and the unjust.
Rev. Allan D. Lively
Now, some storms in our life are the result of our own sinful choices or poor decisions. But many storms are not! I recently read about a woman who has been struggling with vision problems for many years, and it has caused hardship for her in a number of ways. When she was first diagnosed, she asked her doctor, "What did I do to cause this? What could I have done to prevent it?" His answer was, "This one you'll have to blame on your ancestors. It's not your fault." And yet, she has to endure the storm.
If your storms are the result of your own bad behavior, clearly you need to change what you are doing. But if the storm is not your fault, you must come to terms with the fact that storms happen to everyone.
The second thing we need to realize about the storms of life is that sometimes, in the midst of the storm God seems to be unconcerned-although that is not true. In Luke 8:22-25 the Bible describes an incident in which Jesus and his disciples were in a boat crossing the Sea of Galilee when a huge storm suddenly arose. Their boat was in danger of sinking, and the disciples (many of whom were hardy seamen) were convinced they were about to die.
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What was Jesus doing in the midst of this? He was sleeping. The parallel passage in Mark 4:38 says he was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. While the disciples are afraid for their lives, Jesus is at the back of the boat, comfortably asleep! The disciples went to Jesus and woke him, saying, "Master! Master! We are perishing!" Jesus arose and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water, and they became calm. The disciples were safe.
However, that doesn't change the fact that in the midst of the storm, Jesus appeared to be unaware of and/or unconcerned about the storm in which his disciples found themselves. Folks, the reality is there will be times when it seems that God is not paying attention to the storms in our lives. There will be times when he is frustratingly silent. At those times, all we can do is continue to trust in the Lord, like the unknown person who first said:
I believe in the sun, even when it is not shining. I believe in love, even when I feel it not. I believe in God, even when he is silent.
When we read how the disciples panicked in the midst of the storm, we tend to think, "How foolish of them. Why would they be afraid? Jesus was right there with them. Didn't they think he would take care of them?" However, the same can often be said about us: How foolish we are to be afraid during a storm in our life. Jesus is right here with us. Don't we think that he will take care of us? After all, what does Jesus say to his followers in Matthew 28:20? "Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." (NKJV) It may seem that the Lord Jesus is unconcerned about the storms in our lives, but we have his promise that he is with us every step of the way.
Rev. Allan D. Lively is pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church in Minot.