In an earlier entry, I told the story of Jesus and His disciples and the storm they encountered.
Listen, storms will come in life. It’s not a matter of if but when. Quite frankly, you are either pulling out of one or eventually headed toward another.
Now I hope that does not cause you to be disillusioned, because as I said in my earlier entry, “Better to be in a storm with Jesus then anywhere else without Him.”
One of the readers of this blog commented on that post and wrote:
Dear Pastor Greg,
A series of misfortunes have chased me down over the last week or so. I got so down. The one thing that keeps me going is knowing that I’m called for a purpose in Christ. When I decided to log in after not reading your blog in a while, I read your words: “It’s better to be in a storm with Jesus than anywhere else without Him . . . ” I nearly fell off my chair.
Yes, Lori, you do have a purpose in Christ. And God is working in your life.
That is one of the reasons the storms and trials come. To make us stronger spiritually. Because in a storm, a trial, or a hardship, you will learn things you could really learn nowhere else.
It has been said, “Fruit does not grow on mountaintops, but in valleys.”
Paul and his storm
Toward the end of the Book of Acts, Paul was making his final journey to Rome because he had appealed to Caesar. As they journeyed, a horrific storm overtook them and everyone despaired for their lives.
Dr. Luke describes it this way: “When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days and the storm continued raging, we finally gave up all hope of being saved” (Acts 27:20 NIV).
The Lord came to Paul
But the Lord sent His angel to speak to Paul, giving the apostle the ability to encourage the others on board:
But take courage! None of you will lose your lives, even though the ship will go down. For last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me, and he said, ‘Don’t be afraid, Paul, for you will surely stand trial before Caesar! What’s more, God in his goodness has granted safety to everyone sailing with you.’ So take courage! For I believe God. It will be just as he said.” (Acts 27:22-25 NLT)
There will be smooth sailing
That is not to say we will not have beautiful moments, and even seasons of relative calmness. Not all the winds that blow in life are devastating. In one instance, the log of the journey before the big storm hit says, “The south wind blew softly” (v.13 NKJV).
Thank God for those times when the “south wind blows softly.” Those times when you can feel the warmth of the sun on your shoulders and all is well.
But it is important to remember that there is always a storm ‘a comin!
People think that when you are in the will of God, you will always have “smooth sailing.” That is certainly not true of Paul. He seemed to face every kind of adversity imaginable. He had enemies who tried to undermine and even destroy him out of jealousy.
God never abandons us
He had numerable setbacks in life that included beatings and physical harm. He also had a personal physical disability he prayed to be healed of that never left.
Still, he was able to say, “We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed and broken. We are perplexed, but we don’t give up and quit. We are hunted down, but God never abandons us. We get knocked down, but we get up again and keep going” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9 NLT).
In my next blog entry, I will point out a few takeaway truths for each of us as we face our storms in life so we can “get up again and keep going!”
Pray for the family of Ralph Arthur
I mentioned in my last blog entry that Ralph Arthur, one of our pastors at Harvest Christian Fellowship, went to be with the Lord this last Saturday.
Please be praying for his family, especially his dear wife Cheri. His memorial service will be at Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside this coming Thursday. For more information on that, click here.