By: Sade Nicholson
Summer afternoons in North Carolina, where I grew up, always had a way of sneaking in a thunder storm. A once picturesque day, with blue sky as far as the eye could see would suddenly seem to turn into an old black and white film accompanied by a symphonic collaboration of thunder, wind, lighting and rain. Though I didn’t understand it then, a storm was the perfect disturbance to a day. As a child, storms were such a mystery. I never understood how they came about or why. And I believe that we as children of God have the same questions. Why do we experience storms in our lives? Where do they come from? What’s the purpose behind them? And the most honest question I’ve ever heard, what is God doing?
Well, the first step to fully understanding something is defining it. A storm is a disturbance of the normal condition of an atmosphere that originates when a low pressure system is surrounded by a high pressure system. It’s the trials and afflictions of our lives, the testing of our will, the growing of our faith, and the making of our character. It’s the low pressure, complacent lifestyle and spiritually under-grown atmosphere we choose to live in, surrounded by the standard of the Kingdom of God. This confirms the fact that God sometimes uses or allows storms in our lives to refine and characterize us! For Romans 5:3-4 (AMP) says:
“Moreover let us exult and triumph in our troubles and rejoice in our suffering, knowing that pressure and affliction and hardship produce patient and unswerving endurance.
And endurance develops maturity of character (approved faith and tried integrity). And character of this sort produces [the habit of] joyful and confident hope…”
There are many types of storms. Sand storms, snow storms, tornadoes, ice storms, wind storms and even dust storms. However, I find that hurricanes are the most intriguing type of storm. Hurricanes are intense low pressure areas that merely form over warm ocean waters. For us, it’s the leading of a spiritually low key lifestyle, the “warm water Christian”. And we know how God feels about “warm” water Christians. It says in Revelation 3:16 “So then because thou art neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.” Now, I know what some of you are thinking, I don’t live a compromising or double lifestyle, and I’m committed to my church, so this must not include me. But, if you are not making a conscious effort to become more like Christ, even in the areas you feel you have down to a science, you’re warm. But don’t worry, this makes us no less saved. God knows that our nature is self-preserving and more resistant than resilient, and therefore makes us unyielding to the stretching of our own faith. So, sometimes He uses or allows storms to do the stretching for us. And if we dare to be completely honest, many of the storms in our lives weren’t even ours to go through. But we welcomed them as a result of our decision making. But no matter how you ended up in the storm, remember that all things work together for the good of them who love the Lord and who are called according to His purpose.
The most interesting fact about a hurricane is that in the very center of the storm, called the “eye”, there is a place of absolute peace. And this is where every believer needs to find themselves, centered. Centered means having a central axis, a fixed reference or determining point. And for us, that point of reference is the power of the cross! It should the determining faith factor for every situation or storm we encounter. Because Jesus Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, all else results in victory! Because Jesus died and rose, you are freed from worry, fear, anxiety and shame. Because He died and rose you are entitled to peace of mind!
Jesus Himself, said in John 14:27 (AMP):
“Peace I leave with you; My [own] peace I now give you…Do not let your hearts be troubled neither let them be afraid. [ Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly unsettled].” This is a warning of sorts, of difficult times. However, it is even more so, a declaration of peace, in those times! In Philippians 4:7 (AMP) it says:
“ And God’s peace shall be yours, [that tranquil state of soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
In this passage of scripture, Paul reassures the Philippian church that no matter what happens in life, the distinguishing factor of a believer from a non-believer is the peace and protection of God that is granted to us. This should determine our reaction to and perception of, our trials, affliction and storms. And what an awesome example Paul is as a believer steadfast in his faith even in a storm. Remember in Acts 27? It starts in verse 14 saying:
“But soon afterward a violent wind [of the character of a typhoon] came bursting down the island.”
(vs.18) “ As we were being dangerously tossed about by the violence of the storm…” (vs.20) “And when neither sun nor stars were visible for many days…all hope of our being saved was finally abandoned.” (vs. 22) “ But [even] now I beg you to be in good spirits and take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you but only of the ship.” (vs. 23) “For this [very night there stood by my side an angel of the God of Whom I belong and Whom I serve and worship.” (vs. 24) “And he said, Do not be frightened, Paul! It is necessary for you to stand before Caesar; and behold, God has given you all those who are sailing with you.”
Here, Paul and his crew are in the worst storm of their lives. But in their darkest hour, when all hope was gone, Paul challenged the crew to be of good spirit and take courage in the word that was sent from the Lord saying, no life would be loss. The angel also told Paul that God had plans for him after the storm! So, even if you find yourself in the storm of your life, remember your point of reference. Rest and be assured that in this storm He will preserve your mind with His peace and your life with His hand. You still have purpose to fulfill! So I charge you with 2 Timothy 4:5 (AMP) “As for you, be calm and cool and steady, accept and suffer unflinchingly every hardship…” In other words, stay centered.