Updated: Jul 9, 2020
We recently had a significant storm blow through. Of course, this isn’t major news, except for the fact that it spawned a tornado, which is uncommon for my area. When I lived in west Texas (Lubbock, to be specific), tornados were a way of life; of course, back then I was too young to be much concerned. In fact, I recall coming out of a garden center one day and, as my wife and I drove out of the parking lot, we saw a small tornado about 5 or so miles from us. Now, most people – people smarter than me – would have rushed to shelter, since to the untrained eye it is difficult to tell which direction a tornado is moving. Instead, we rushed to our friends’ house to pick them up and go chase the thing! Thankfully we didn’t catch up to it, but instead the hail turned us around. I didn’t want to explain to my insurance agent that my car got beat up because I was chasing a tornado. There’s probably a coverage exclusion for that!
As Edward Bulwer-Lytton so famously informed us in his novel titled Paul Clifford, “It was a dark and stormy night…” Just as much as the storms of nature are inevitable, so are the storms of life. I find it amazing how many phrases we use that involve the word “storm.” Examples include “cook up a storm,” “calm before the storm,” “perfect storm,” and “firestorm.” One can “storm in,” cause a “storm of controversy,” and then turn around and “storm out.” Something can be “taken by storm.” You can “weather the storm,” and you can get caught “in the eye of the storm.”
Several times we see storms pop up (pun intended) in scripture. We think of the three most “famous” storms: (1) the 40 days/nights involving Noah; (2) the one leading to Jonah being swallowed by the whale; and (3) the one Jesus calms with His simple but effective statement, “Peace, be still.” In addition to these three, we read about a storm battering a ship that Paul was on, eventually leading to its destruction. And then Elijah – in the fashion of a weatherman – foretold of a storm when he, by faith, heard “the sound of an abundance of rain” after 3½ years of drought.
The bottom line: storms happen. They are a fact of life.
But here’s the great thing. Even when the storms come our way, God’s peace is still available.The peace that Jesus, the Prince of Peace, left for us, and that passes understanding, continues to be an important, calming factor. I really like the way the Christian band The Afters says it in their song I Will Fear No More:
“Even though I’m in the storm, the storm is not in me.”
Isn’t that a great phrase?
One of the differences in the “storm of Noah” and the “storm of Jonah” is, the first was not attributed to the sin of Noah, while the latter was directly due to the sin of Jonah. (Note that I’m NOT saying Noah was without sin, but only that the storm wasn’t attributed to his sin.) Then we have the storm that caught the disciples, and this storm wasn’t attributed to anything – it was just a naturally occurring storm.
That’s the way the storms of life are; sometimes they are “because of” and sometimes they just are. Either way, we get caught in them, and they impact our lives. We can get caught off guard, or we can tell when it’s coming, but either way there is impact. However, the impact can be mitigated by remembering what Ryan Stevenson sings (co-written by Bryan Fowler): “In the eye of the storm, you (i.e. God) remain in control.” They go further to state, “You (again, God) alone are the answer when my sails are torn.”
What wonderful words of exhortation.We are reminded that, regardless of the storm’s source or size or span, He is the Lord of peace who, himself, gives you peace always by all means. (2 Thessalonians 3:16)
So, whether you are facing a hail storm – or a hell storm – God can and will bring peace to you. But let the storms come to you; don’t go chasing them!
That's my pastoral perspective. Thanks for reading!
Pastor Mike Rodgers