Our climate is changing, and storms and natural disasters are becoming stronger and more frequent. Many are trying to understand why. I hear some Christians speaking of the ‘last days’ and God’s ‘message’ to us. I hear scientists screaming about global warming. I hear others who are simply confused and fearful of what’s to come. While we can present options, I’m not sure if we can definitively understand why this is happening. One thing I know for sure, however, is that we can trust God every step of the way.
One of the scariest things in the world is uncertainty. Many of us can face some wild things, but when we’re not sure of the outcome, everything changes. It’s the tension between status quo and something new. The more distance between those two realities, the scarier the experience.
But it doesn’t matter our situation, God is looking for us to trust Him. The truth is, when things are out of control and unimaginable, we don’t have a choice.
In a storm…
The disciples and Jesus were traveling in a boat, and they sailed right into a windstorm. The disciples were filled with fear and uncertainty, even if the water wasn’t new territory for them. Jesus was asleep so they woke him up in a hurry!
With one word, Jesus calmed the storm and turned to the disciples and asked, ‘Why are you so afraid?’ Jesus has everything under control.
Many ask: Did God send the storm? We don’t really know. It would be difficult to believe since He isn’t the author of destruction.
Jesus rebuked the storm — there’s something evil about the ‘sea’ in Scripture. Even in the restored heaven and earth, the sea (as we know it) will be absent (Rev 21:1). Perhaps the storms of today continue to represent an evil force around us. Or maybe that’s too much to speculate.
What we do know is that God definitely allowed the storm to happen. And I think that’s the key to understanding the story, and our context today. We can’t focus on where the storms come from, but who we can trust as we face them.
The disciples were terrified, and yet Jesus was asleep in the boat. When they woke him, he wasn’t worried because the storm was under His control. One word, and everything stopped.
We’re not guaranteed that God will stop our storm, but we are guaranteed that God is in complete control of them.
What really matters…
It’s amazing how we switch from ‘materialism’ to ‘sanctity of life’ when a storm approaches. Life always matters, but we often live to pursue material things.
When storms face us, most of us switch. Our homes don’t matter, our cars don’t matter — we realize our ‘things’ can be replaced.
I’m very skeptical of ‘storms’ being God’s way to punish, or speak a certain message to a group of people. If a storm follows a prophesy, lest the people don’t listen, that could be different. But storms are just happening, and happening more often.
Perhaps we can say one thing with certainty: God is reminding us of our dependence on Him. We are not in control, but we know the one who is! Whether we are in the storm, or praying and sending aid for those in the storm, He’s calling us to remain faithful and to completely trust His lead. We don’t have the answers, and there’s much pain in the process, but it certainly causes us to look in His direction.
We often feel like we’re in control. I think it’s our human condition. We’ll prepare as much as we can, stock up on supplies, and perhaps even evacuate.
No matter what we do, however, we can’t stop the storm. The storm is coming at full strength. The question is, how do we respond? Will we trust God? Others? Ourselves?
Large storms and disasters should remind us we are not in control at all.
Likewise, the rainbow that follows a storm is a reminder that God is in control.
His peace is available.
The storm will pass.
God’s peace and grace will remain.
There’s hope for tomorrow.
For those of us not in the middle of disaster – we need to be ready to respond.
Respond with prayer.
Respond with aid.
Respond with grace.
Find a way to make a difference and help those who are hurting. It’s the way God has designed His Church — that no matter what is thrown our way, the Church remains strong. We devote ourselves to prayer, teaching, fellowship, and breaking bread, while having ‘all things in common’ as His Spirit leads us (Acts 2).