I have always been a people watcher; I can simply amuse myself by watching other people in certain situations. Many times, when my wife and I were first married and didn’t have any money, I would go to the Mall and just sit and watch people run back and forth as they shopped. I found myself doing that again the other day as I sat in my vehicle outside a grocery store. Everyone was aware that a serious storm was headed our way and with this being dubbed in the media as a super storm and given the name, “Frankenstorm”, I sat and watched the people running in and out of this store as they collected their last minute supplies they would need to make it through the storm. I knew we could be facing the storm of the century, some might be facing the storm of their life. But, as I sat there watching most of these people running around in a frenzy, a passage of scripture came to me,
“Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.
“But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.” Mt. 7:24-27 NJKV www.biblegateway.com
Facing the storm is not always a easy thing to do; this was a monster storm bearing down on a large section of the eastern seaboard which would bring plenty of wind and rain and result in much damage along its path. After all, I too was gathering things which we might have a need for. But, as that passage went through my mind, a peace came over me and I realized I was being prompted by the Holy Spirit to simply trust in the Lord and don’t get excited. Great advice; I am generally a very calm person anyway, so, I paid extra attention to this message and felt the Lord wouldn’t be telling me this for no purpose. I then realized He wasn’t prompting me to stay calm because I was in a frenzy but stay calm for the purpose of those around me. Fear is a very contagious thing and can spread like gasoline on a fire. When someone who is easily excited or scared, sees the calmness, that only the Lord can bring, in another person, it can have a very easing effect on that individual. I was reassured by the Lord that He was still in control and He could calm it in an instant if He wanted to. It was a reassuring message which reminded me that my house was standing on the “Rock”, Jesus Christ. My prayer through all this is that the Lord would allow me to be used to let others see how I was facing the storm and that it would be a witness to Jesus. So, how should we act when we are facing the storm?
Facing The Storm in Your Life
I know I am a spoiled human being; I don’t like loosing electric in my home and the other inconveniences that come with that. I like to be able to shower with hot water and have cold drinks from the refrigerator. I like cooked hot meals instead of cold sandwiches and coffee in the morning instead of lukewarm water. I admit that I am spoiled! But, when these inconveniences come along, how do we handle those situations? Do we complain, criticize others, throw tantrums? It is one thing to want the comforts of all these things but a much bigger thing on how we deal with it. It is like the story which speaks about being convicted in court of being a Christian; is there enough evidence to prove it? That is how we must consider these situations; when we are facing the storm in our life, regardless of what kind of storm, how do we respond? Now, right up front, I will tell you that I have blown it (no pun intended) more than once and have reacted in a not so Christian like manner. How did the disciples react to the storm while Jesus was fast asleep?
And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?”
Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. 40 But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” Mark 4:37-40
Notice what Jesus said, why so fearful and no faith. Is this the way we react immediately? Now, I know we have all heard in sermons and Bible messages that we need to trust in God immediately and that is true. So, I am just repeating what we all have heard, trust the Lord immediately. This is nothing new, we just need to practice it. It comes with prayer, reading the word and in general, spending time with Jesus. If we spend enough time with Jesus, He will rub off on us. Try it and see for yourself, don’t just take my word for it. I think the best scripture Jesus gave to us for facing the storm is,
Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.Jn. 14:27 NKJV
The one thing we must remember is we are not facing the storm alone. As a follower of Jesus, we have Him to walk us through it and sometimes even carry us through the storms of life. We should never lose sight of Jesus, never take our eyes off of Him, storm or not! I could, but I won’t, give testimony after testimony of how He has walked me through and carried me through many storms. I can also tell of those times He wrestled me through those storms. The biggest storm I faced, and it was a seriously huge storm, He gave me the peace He describes in Jn. 14:27. We don’t have to face the storm alone.
I spoke with a woman not long ago who was experiencing a second cancer after a period of initial recovery. I felt so awful about this situation; she had went through the chemo treatment with her initial cancer and trusted the Lord to restore her health and take the cancer from her body. She had went through this with a great spiritual attitude. When I spoke with her after the second diagnoses, I thought it would really have taken a toll on her spiritually but I was underestimating her faith in Jesus! Her faith was stronger than ever and she was spiritually strong. She told me she was using this as a way to tell people about Jesus; she tells the other patients and the nurses in the chemo clinic about Jesus every chance she has! She encouraged me! She blessed me when I thought I was going to have to encourage her. That is faith! That is how we should be facing the storm.
At the 2011 Harvest Crusade in Anaheim, CA., Greg Laurie interviewed a man by the name of Louis Zamperini. He was a member of the 1936 Olympic team in Berlin, Germany. After attending USC, he joined the Army Air Corp and was a master bombardier on a B-24. His plane went down over the South Pacific; he spent 47 days on a life raft and floated 2000 miles before he and another man were captured, not rescued. He spent two years as a POW, tortured and humiliated before returning home. These were haunting events in his life but he later turned his life over to Jesus and became a strong influence on those who would come to hear him speak. What a story! A man facing the storm, afloat for 47 days and then only to survive to face another storm, captured and POW for 2 years! How did he survive this storm when he returned home? It was only by his eventual faith in Jesus. The interview can be seen at the following link. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uGUtFRe8Hvk
His story has been written and published, Devil at My Heels, Louis Zamperini and David Resin, Perennial, an imprint of Harper Collins Publisher, 2003
Sometimes we get the idea that nobody else could be suffering as much as we are. But, when we hear or read about people such as Louis Zamperini, we realize how good the Lord has been to us. We face the storm with Jesus, not just the monster storms but all storms. As long as we are alive in this flesh and blood body, we will be facing the storm and the easiest way to get through is with Jesus.
How the World is Facing The Storm
So, as I sat there and watched the people running in and out of that store, I had to ask myself, “How many are lost or not saved? How many are saved and are not looking at Jesus? And how many are depending on their own wisdom?” The last one is scary; I know if I was to depend on my wisdom and not God’s, it’s game over, right away. I work around a lot of people who are not Christians but they know I am. (I am employed in a secular position) So, when these type of situations arise, they sometimes will ignore me because they don’t want to hear the obvious. They know I will tell them the only answer is in Jesus. They allow the storm to become bigger than Jesus, only in their eyes of course. They don’t believe that Jesus can solve any of their problems and at a time like this, they refuse to try. It is after the storm when they will be looking for answers; they will want to know what can be done for them and where was Jesus when this storm blew through? You see, the bottom line for the world is this: We know God could turn this storm away from the shoreline and blow it out to sea. Or, He could calm it with a simple command as Jesus did from the boat with His disciples. If He choose to do this, He would get no credit from the world. The world would call it a phenomenon, a meteorological phenomenon. Then, after the storm, Jesus gets all the blame for the damage. Questions such as, “Where was your Jesus when the storm hit?” That is the world’s attitude toward God. He gets no credit for the good He does and gets all the blame for the bad!The world is lost and they have no place for Jesus in their hearts,
There is none righteous, no, not one;
There is none who understands;
There is none who seeks after God. Rom. 3:10-11 NKJV
But that is why we are here; we are here for them in the power of the Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ. We are ready to tell them about Jesus and how He will get them through the next storm. We can’t force Jesus on people before the storm but we can be there for them after the storm. Sometimes the unsaved will see the storm and know they have to turn to Jesus to get them through. Others refuse to allow Him to help, before or after. As we sit and observe, we must be ready to act when the Lord prompts us to. As we face the storm, we must have the peace which Jesus has given to us and allow those in the world to see that peace. Remember, there is only one way to live as we are facing the storm and that is with our eyes on Jesus.