Friday, June 7, 2013

Storms of Life - Why Does God Allow Them?

"Oh no, You never let go, Through the calm and through the storm. Oh no, You never let go, In every high and every low. Oh no, You never let go Lord, You never let go of me." "You (Jesus) raise me up to more than I can be" are the results of those words when we have survived the storm.

In John 6 Matthew 14:22-33 and Mark 6:45-52 we learn that Jesus knowingly sent His disciples into a storm. We learn that we too have to experience the storms of life. Some storms are more intense than others are but each storm requires us to walk through it. No one can do the walking for us. Our assurance of walking through the storm is that we will never walk alone God is always with us. He is always near when we need Him, to give us strength and support so that we can keep stepping through storm one-step at a time.

Why does God who is a good God allow these storms in our lives?

Below are some of the reasons we discussed in our Bible study.

1. To give us new direction - Psalm 107:23-31 - as we sail through life we come to a point where we as the captain of our ship become prideful. We think we are the masters of our fate. Then suddenly and savagely a storm comes swallowing us in its crashing waves. It is then, when our survival is out of our hands that we call out to the One for whom we had no time for or did not think we had need of personally. Are you in the middle of a storm being tossed about and wondering how you will survive? Call out to One who not only sends the storms but is the Savior of the storm.

2. To give us necessary correction - Jonah 2:2-3 - God had specific plans for Jonah in Nineveh. But guess what? Jonah in disobedience headed in the opposite direction of Nineveh. He wasted no time getting on board a ship heading away from Nineveh. Are you running in the opposite direction of where God is leading you? Learn from Jonah you cannot run from God. Satan may cause you to think otherwise but rest assured that is not the case. Satan as he did with Jonah already has the ship waiting for you to board. He doesn't need to flag someone down and say go find a ship that my friend here can board. No! He's already there waiting for you to run from God and jump onto his ship with engines running and sails ready to be set. Are you running from God? If so, beware, running from God or trying to rationalize that you know what is best for you, a storm is sure to follow. What will it take for you to turn direction and run into arms of the Anchor that keeps us steady throughout our storms of life?

3. To give us needed protection - Matthew 14:22-33 - After the miracle of feeding the multitudes, Jesus sent His disciples immediately away. Why? Because He knew that the multitudes wanted to overtake Him to make Him King. Jesus knew how easy it would be for His disciples to be swept up into the emotions of what that would mean. Finally, their dreams would be fulfilled. They would be free from the rule of Rome. Maybe Judas would become treasurer and Peter Prime Minister. Oh at last, they would be free and Jesus would be King. Jesus knowing all things sent them away for their own protection. He sent them into a storm where they would struggle and wrestle with difficulties. He does the same with us. He knows what things are swaying us away from Him and His purposes for us. As we struggle through our storms, remember, Jesus is watching over you, praying for you and living inside you. It's a struggle you will have to go through in order that your focus can be shifted from the temporal to the eternal. What things does Jesus want you to turn away from? While in the storm listen for His still small voice as He steers you through the storm turning you away from those things that have pulled you in the wrong direction.

4. To nurture perfection - Acts 4:1-4 - After Jesus sent His disciples into a storm He ascended to a mountain to pray (Matt. 14:23). He knowingly sent them alone. He would not be with them. In Acts 4:1-4, there is another crowd of 5,000. This crowd though is not being fed but being saved. After they were saved, there was a storm of persecution that broke out and the disciples were put in custody until the next day. Maybe the storm in John 6 was in preparation for the storm in Acts 4. Jesus as the Captain of our lives sees what our tomorrows hold. He says to each one of us, "As difficult as this storm (whatever that storm may be, physical, emotional or spiritual), it is absolutely necessary to prepare you and perfect you for what is coming." Storms make us who we are, they bring us to a place where we have no choice but to surrender all to God and rely on Him and Him alone. They help us to have compassion, mercy and grace for others, they build our character, they break our hearts, but through our broken hearts and through our tear filled eyes we can see the Light guiding us and giving us the direction we need to stay the course. When we look to the Light, we know that Jesus will be saying, "It is I, do not be afraid" I'll take you through the heart aches, the tears, the storms of life. Our storms will not be wasted. The disciples went through one storm as a time of preparation so that when future storms came they were able to look back and see how their Captain steered them through the storm and brought them safely to their appointed destination. As the storms of life surround you remember the faithfulness of our Captain in the past storms.

It is my pray that as the storms of life overwhelm us, that we use them as an opportunity to grow in our faith and not as an obstacle to run from our faith and God. Run my dear sisters run to the One who is waiting with His arms wide open to bring you the peace that surpasses all understanding. Yes, even in the midst of the storm, His peace awaits you; all you have to do is to receive it. It is there for the asking.

So sister storm survivors, be of good cheer and rejoice for not one of life's storms is out of God's control. Remember, the Sender of the storm is also the Savior of the storm - for without Him, we would all sink.

Holding tight to my Anchor,

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