Storms come and go all the time especially living along the Gulf Coast. We get them in all kinds of different ways, some small, with barely enough rain to wet the ground, some massive as in a hurricanes that requires you to pack your loved ones and prized possessions and evacuate inland. Where once there we sit and wait, wait to see if storm will hit our city, and what effect it may have; only some wind damage or wind damage along with flooding, a lot of uncertainties remain as we sit and wait. With questions running through our mind, worries, concerns, what will this storm bring? Will anything remain? What will be left when I go back home?
Theres always one thing that remains after a storm…
You ever walked outside not long after a bad storm and looked at all the debris left behind? Various sticks, limbs, and leaves; as there are still some still attached to the trees they belong to. Last weekend I went out to cut my back yard and there was limbs from my palm trees everywhere; we got hit by a tropical depression the previous weekend. As I was gathering them, and looking up into the trees and noticing there were still some attached, were alive and green. Where as the ones I was gathering were dead, and had been for a while, yet the palm tree was still holding on till the storm came and broke it free.
Look back on the storms you have gone through, over the years, did they not cause you to let go of those things in our life that are dead and hold onto the One who is alive? No matter what it was that we were holding on to because we thought we needed it, we thought it satisfied, and we had to have it, when all the while it was dead, and not allowing us to hold on to Him. The storms in our lives move us to run to the One who is able to comfort us, sustain us, and grow us. Sometimes it’s not easy to sit and wait and wonder what will the results of the storm be, what will be left? Will I survive? Will I be ok? Why is this happening? What can I do? Cant I go back?
It’s in these times when I find my self running to Christ, the creator and sustainer. The One who came to redeem me, and as much as I wish following Christ meant a life of ease, and smooth sailing; He never promised that, but said that in Him there is hope (John 16:33) because He has overcome this world. In the Gospels we see an instance where Jesus climbs into a boat and tells His Disciples He wanted to go across to the other side, so they set sail. Most of His Disciples were fishermen by trade, they had made a living on these waters, grown up on these waters, most likely had encountered numerous storms, and survived them. Basically saying that these guys knew how to control a boat in a storm, but in this instance the storm was so intense that they feared for their lives, and moved past trying on their own and ran to Jesus. And this whole time He had been asleep. But the storm caused them to run to the One alive in their life for help, and He simply gets up and tells the storm to “Shut Up!” and it ceased (Matthew 8). No matter what storms we face or go through, whether small or massive, He has already overcame them. In that we find peace, in that we find rest, in that we find hope, and His Name is declared out in our life. Then those around us begin to notice our hope and question us about it, and we are able to speak the Gospel into their lives and give a defense for our hope (1 Peter 3:15), and He is glorified. We get the Hope, He gets the Glory!
Could it be that the storms in our life are used as a means of drawing us to Him! I know many of us have talked about how intense and purposeful worship was after Hurricane Ike, how we HAD to be with our local church body for fellowship and to worship, how our quiet times were awesome, and how we grew, matured, and fell more in love with Him. I’ve read stories of Followers of Christ overseas that were in prison and had been set free, and mentioned that at times they wish they were back in prison, because their relationship with Christ was so intense in prison that wish they could go back to experience that closeness again.
Are we willing to endure a storm, if it means a greater closeness with Christ? Willing to let go of things that keep us from pursing Him with all that we have?
Storms in our lives, shake free from us things that are dead and weighing us down, and allow us to hold onto what is Alive.
As I gathered the debris in my yard, I threw it out, I didn’t try to climb the tree and put them back in it. Sometimes we have to allow God to set us free, so we can do what we were created for and that’s to pursue Him.