Storms are part of normal everyday life but how we manage them determines the positive or negative long-term impact they have on us. Often, it is these storms of life that reshape and refuel us for the next season in our lives. While the winds and the waves can be destructive and frightening, God is there with us in the midst of the storm beckoning us forward to something greater, something more effective, something more aligned with his purposes.
In both the Old and New Testaments, the scriptures record how God uses physical storms to bring judgment on the wicked, to deliver the righteous, and to defeat the enemies; but he also uses storms to change the course of our direction, to show His authority, to encourage our faith, and to propel us forward with the good news.
So what is God doing in the midst of the storm?
God uses storms to correct us and to change the direction of our lives and ministries. This may seem harsh, but it is actually a great expression of God’s love and concern for us and for the lost who He ultimately wants to come to repentance. Jonah found himself in this situation. He was called to Nineveh, but going the opposite direction. In the midst of the storm God recalibrated Jonah’s direction and brought Nineveh to repentance even through his reluctant preaching.
“But the LORD sent out a great wind on the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship was about to be broken up….And he said to them, “Pick me up and throw me into the sea; then the sea will become calm for you. For I know that this great tempest is because of me.’” -Jonah 1:4, 12 NKJV
God also wants to show us His authority and our authority through Christ in the midst of the storm. The storm may be terrifying and even overwhelming, but the truth is God is bigger! The same God that created the totality of the universe is with us in the midst of the storm. He is there rebuking the wind and waves, comforting us, and teaching us to speak peace in the midst of the turmoil of our world.
“Then His disciples came to Him and awoke Him, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!” But He said to them, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. So the men marveled, saying, “Who can this be, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?’” – Matthew 8:25-27 NKJV
Surprisingly, God also uses the storm as a training facility to increase our faith and prepare us for the next season. Jesus came to His disciples in the midst of the storm and beckoned Peter to get out of the boat and walk on the water with Him. Undoubtably, this experience was branded into Peter’s memory and served as a reminder of Christ’s authority and our authority to do the impossible through Him.
“But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary. And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.” And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus.” – Matthew 14:24, 26-29 NKJV
Storms of life can be difficult and challenging, and no one would willingly choose the circumstances they create. However, when you find yourself in the midst of the relentless winds and battering waves, ask yourself, “What is God trying to say or trying to teach me in the midst of the storm?” And when we emerge on the other side, let the lessons we have learned become the fuel to carry us into a greater, more impactful season.
Image provided by Nate Gomez.