John 6:16-21 (NKJV)
16 Now when evening came, His disciples went down to the sea,
17 got into the boat, and went over the sea toward Capernaum. And it was already dark, and Jesus had not come to them.
18 Then the sea arose because a great wind was blowing.
19 So when they had rowed about three or four miles,[b]they saw Jesus walking on the sea and drawing near the boat; and they were afraid.
20 But He said to them, "It is I; do not be afraid."
21 Then they willingly received Him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land where they were going.
As I am going through this predicted monster storm Sandy on the East Coast, I continue to pray for the Lord to pour out his Holy Spirit on me afresh abundantly just like the rain keeps pouring now and the wind keeps howling.
A few important things the Lord has showed me about the necessity of the storm in one's life is need to renew strength. In the storm, the Lord pours out his strength afresh, His Holy Spirit afresh, and He gives peace because only assurance in His deliverance can provide one with peace surpassing understanding.
It is important to note that nobody likes storms because they bring uncertainty and even trivial things changing one's life forever; nevertheless, they are important in our Spiritual growth and maturity. It is so many times that we ask God to take away trials and storms in our lives, but Jesus keeps testing our trust in Him. Just like He's done to His disciples, He does that to all of His followers. This is the gage that He's using to measure our level of growth.
Sometimes these storms serve as refreshment and sometimes as a trial to exercise hope, but in either case it requires faith, knowledge of the Lord personally, and belief that He is capable to deliver us and to provide the necessary strength to ride out any storm.
I think this is interesting the way Jesus` disciples never wanted to wait out the storm just for the heck of curiosity whether Jesus would save them or not if they were so afraid, but they always complained to the Lord that He either didn't care about them or didn't think of delivering them. In the Gospel of Matthew 8:24-27 (NKJV):
3 Now when He got into a boat, His disciples followed Him. 24 And suddenly a great tempest arose on the sea, so that the boat was covered with the waves. But He was asleep. 25 Then His disciples came to Him and awoke Him, saying, "Lord, save us! We are perishing!" 26 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.27 So the men marveled, saying, "Who can this be, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?"
Jesus accused His disciples in having little faith; the storm they were riding out, while Jesus was sleeping without any hesitation, they failed. Disciples doubted that God had plans to deliver them, and they didn`t know Jesus personally to know that if He was at peace and sleeping, so they should have been at peace as well. We have to keep our eyes on Jesus to know the direction, the destination, and to have the personal revelation to keep moving.
The main points to remember when we are in the appointed storm:
- It is always for our benefit; God has a plan for my life and for your life, so whatever happens, whatever storm you are in whether that`s physical or emotional, or financial, it is for our benefit. Sometimes we don`t feel that way, like I don`t feel that way right now, but I trust the Lord anyway because I know He is faithful when I am faithless.
- God uses the storms (physical and life situations/trials) to gage our faith level, so He knows the direction to take us for further growth. Tests produce patience, hope, and more faith (Romans 5:3-5).
- God always stays in control regardless of the storm; regardless of the strength or uniqueness of the storm. If Jesus is at peace and can sleep while the water rises beyond the sea level and while the wind is howling, so we too should take the example knowing Jesus is with us. Who can be against us if He is for us? Nobody because God is still in control.
- We have to walk with the Lord to make sure that whatever storm comes our way it's either to fill us afresh and to take us to the next faith level, or to correct and teach us something. For that we must walk with the Lord closely to understand His plans and know Him personally.
- God using storms to for His warfare. Whenever I look at the weather conditions, I see God`s greatness and might. We know that our battle is not against the flesh and blood but against the spiritual principalities (Ephesians 6:12), and we also know that God has special storage rooms in His Kingdom that He`s storing for the spiritual battles.
22 "Have you entered the treasury of snow,Or have you seen the treasury of hail, 23 Which I have reserved for the time of trouble, For the day of battle and war? (Job 38:22-23 NKJV).
This is so great to see this storm and realize that this is God`s battle and not mine to fight. If I know that this is God`s battle, than I have nothing to worry about, and my job is nothing else other than to pray.
I don't ever want to be in situation when I quench the Holy Spirit by asking Jesus to stop the storm, but I want for all that rain to feel me up afresh with His presence, with His strength, and with His direction. I don`t want Him to stop His warfare knowing that He is fighting for me.
I am currently waiting for one of the worst storms to hit the Eastern Coast, and that storm was announced right after my hearing last Friday. God doesn't have coincidences, and He doesn't take chances. God has a plan for everything, and although I don't know what kind of trial this brings to others, I know that this storm brings a test for my faith to trust the Lord can protect my daughter who is currently with my husband, and I have no control over what may happen to them, but I can continue to pray for God's protection on their lives.
I just finished listening to one very strong and helpful sermon by Jon Courson (one of the very good Bible teachers that I like). I placed the YouTube link below for those who would like to watch it. It's called Part 5 "The Issue of Suffering and Pain".
He brought up a very important aspect of pain and suffering, and that's sympathy over Godly peace. I knew it so well, but I just never knew how to react to such statements like: "I'm so sorry this happened, etc." God knows why whatever happened and the goal is to make me stronger in the Lord. The goal is to take me to the next level, so I could withstand this storm and move on bringing glory to His name.
You see, we are in no position to question the Creator, so the best we can do is accept and know that He knows better. Only now, a week later, I can see the reason why certain things went the way they did at my final hearing, and I can now see what is the potential benefit God had in mind when He allowed certain things to happen. He knows better than me, but I have to trust Him to see me through this storm: not just the current physical Sandy storm, but my circumstances.
My wind keeps howling, and the waves keep thrashing against the rocks producing the deadly painful emotional wounds, but I say to the Lord: bring it on, and please don't stop the storm; please teach me what you have in plans to teach me through this; please feel me afresh with your Holy Spirit, so I could come out as a winner in Christ rather than a defeated beat down outcast.
The world would never understand why certain things happen, and they may even accuse us in carrying some kind of a punishment as a result of what one may have done, but that's not God's character. God's character is not to beat us down and to punish us with every potential blow He can produce from our circumstances, but His character is to make us stronger, so we could become better equipped to serve Him.
I like how Jon Courson said that you cannot have peace beyond the understanding and sympathy at the same time because God is bigger than sympathy. When we accept sympathy we accept that God has failed us, and He would never fail those who trust in Him. This was a huge consolation for me to hear as a reminder. I heard so many times people just pitying me, but I don't want that. I don't want another pity party; I want to have God's peace that although I may walk through the valley of death, His rod comforts me and He is going to lead me out on the other side of the green one day.
I don't know what this storm Sandywould produce as a result, but I pray for the major shift in my circumstances, that whatever happens God turns only for His glory. Please note, that in both instances of the storms that the disciples withstood, Jesus was with them both times. That's all I need to know: that Jesus is with me through this storm because He will deliver me like He's done it to His disciples.
Jesus is capable to bring the "quiet in the sea", but that would mean you would be stalled in the current level. If you will not allow Him to ride out the storm especially knowing that He is with you, you would never find out what awaits you on the other side of the shore. Note that as soon as Jesus got in the boat, they arrived on the shore. That's our Deliverer, our Savior- Jesus, Who always takes us to the right destination when we allow Him to do that.
I urge you today not to reject the storms but to look at them as the opportunity for the Lord to fill you up afresh with the Holy Spirit and to take you to the next level of Spiritual maturity. Adventures could be scary, could be fun, but when we know that the Lord is with us, what can we be afraid of? May God bless you and give you peace beyond your understanding, like He did that to me.