BY HARLAN S. MORGAN
“Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you; but rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy” (I Peter 4:12:13).
We are on a journey from here to eternity. On this journey, we encounter many mountaintop experiences–times when the bills are paid, everybody is healthy, and it seems as if the presence of God hovers around us. On the other hand, there are many days spent in the valley– days when there are more financial obligations than money, everybody is sick, and simply feeling the presence of God seems like an
impossibility. We can consider these times as storms.
On the surface, it appears that serving God would be so much easier if the sun shone brightly every day, the bird sang sweetly, and we happily skipped our way along to heaven. But a vintage song proclaims a profound truth: “The Lord knows I can’t live on the mountain, so He picked out a valley for me.” As children of God, we must realize that our steps are “ordered of the Lord,” and the storms we encounter are not strange things, but they fulfill a very important role and perform a very specific purpose in our lives.
God sends storms to get our attention. God instructed Jonah to cry against the city of Nineveh. Instead of obeying the voice of God, Jonah ignored His instruction and boarded a ship to Tarshish.
“But the LORD sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken” (Jonah 1:4). No coincidence brought on this storm; God sent the storm
to get Jonah’s attention. The storm performed its purpose in Jonah’s life, and the people of Nineveh repented.
People are not always persuaded by the goodness and gentleness of God. Sometimes it takes a storm. Romans 11:22 instructs us to “behold therefore the goodness and severity of God.”
Jesus obtained the attention of some people because of the miracles He performed. On the other hand, for the centurion at the foot of the cross, it took darkness and an earthquake before he proclaimed, “Surely this was the Son of God!”
God sends storms to cause us to acknowledge His presence and our need of Him. Luke 8:22-24 relates that Jesus and His disciples entered a ship and sailed for the other side of the lake. Several of the disciples were fishermen and had great knowledge in sailing.
Perhaps as they sailed, Jesus asked, “What do you need me to do?” I can imagine Peter saying, “What do you know about sailing? You are just a carpenter!”
I imagine Jesus replying, “Well, I’ll just take a nap.”
A storm then arose, and the boat became filled with water. The disciples certainly bailed water and did all they could to save themselves, but they soon reached a place where they were in jeopardy. They then awoke Jesus with the cry, “Master, Master, we perish!”
The storm caused the disciples to acknowledge the presence of Jesus and their need of Him.
As Apostolics, we can become professional in our services and well trained in our methods. We know how to have church. We may preach a pretty three-point sermon, feel goose bumps, and think we have
everything under control. At this place in our lives, God often sends a storm so that we will acknowledge His presence and our need of Him in our preaching, singing, services, and in every other aspect of our
“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto shine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6).
God sends storms to increase our faith. Another day found the disciples again in the midst of a storm (Matthew 14:24-31). In this instance, Jesus came walking toward them on the water. When He saw the
disciples quaking with fear, He called out, “Be not afraid. It is I.”
Peter answered, “If it is you, Lord, bid me to come to you.”
Jesus said, “Come!”
If Peter had not been on that boat in the midst of the storm that day, he would have never had his “sea walking” experience. God sends storms at times to strengthen and increase our faith.
God sends storms to prove His keeping power. In Acts 27 Paul was a prisoner on a ship in a storm. The boat actually broke apart, but because God sent a message that “no man will perish,” all escaped alive
to the land, proving the keeping power of God.
“Nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day” (II Timothy 1:12).
“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).
God sends storms to prove our loyalty to Him. Job lived an upright life, perfect before God–praying often for his family. In Job 1:8, after Satan came before the Lord, “The LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job?”
Job was a bragging point for God. He feared God and hated evil.
Satan then issued a challenge. “But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hash, and he will curse thee to thy face.”
God then allowed the storm to come, and in a day’s time, Job lost everything he had. The storm did not come because Job had done something wrong. Job experienced the storm because he had done
Although he lost everything he owned, his friends mocked him, and his wife attempted to discourage him, Job proved his loyalty to God through the storm.
There is a purpose for the storms we face. Storms are sent to get our attention, to cause us to acknowledge the presence of Jesus and our need of Him, to increase our faith, to prove the keeping power of God,
or to prove to Satan that we will be loyal to God. A storm is not sent to destroy a child of God. Those who are built on the rock can withstand the storm (Matthew 7:2427).
We must learn to not resist a storm sent by God. Rather, we should allow the storm to accomplish in our lives what God intends for it to perform.
There is a purpose for the storm.
Harlan S. Morgan is the assistant pastor of the First United Pentecostal Church of DeQuincy, Louisiana.
THE ABOVE MATERIAL WAS PUBLISHED BY FORWARD, SPRING 2001, PAGES 8 AND 9. THIS MATERIAL IS COPYRIGHTED AND MAY BE USED FOR STUDY & RESEARCH PURPOSES ONLY.