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What life's storms reveal


I managed to head right into a storm. Like the family vacation that got slammed by a hurricane. Or the record rainstorm that swamped the airport when we took our daughter to college. Oh, and the October "Snowmageddon" one time, and then there was superstorm Sandy in New York.
Being a part of that superstorm "week like no other" in New York and New Jersey? Well, it ended up having God’s fingerprints all over it. It shut down some opportunities, but it opened up others. And, honestly, I got to see in that storm some lessons I think I'll carry with me for years to come.
Like that lady in a store who loudly blurted out, "Ya know, I'm not a religious freak, but you gotta wonder if God's trying to make us stop and think." I turned to her and said, "Hey, I think you're onto something here!"
You know, my definition of a storm has grown — because the storms that affect us most deeply are not on the Weather Channel. They're those deeply personal storms that come with things like a layoff at work, or bad news at the doctor's office, that crisis with your spouse or your child. So, a storm is "a life-altering event, beyond our control." Well, I've lived a few of those: in the surgery waiting room, the times with no money and no groceries, the near-deadly accident. One online news source had a day-after-storm one-word headline that said it all: "Powerless."
Now, the Bible talks about "lightning and hail, snow and clouds, stormy winds that do His bidding" (Psalm 148:8). And it reveals that "the Lord has His way in the whirlwind and the storm" (Nahum 1:3). I'm glad for verses like that. Because they tell me that beyond the mayhem and the pain of a storm, there's some meaning. As hard as it is to see at the moment, storms do serve God's higher purposes. I'm left feeling powerless so I can experience His power as never before, because suddenly there you need to depend on it. I meet God at the end of my rope.
Storms force us to reevaluate everything; get the things that really matter from the margins of our life and get them back in the middle. Storms expose weaknesses in a levee, building materials, emergency systems, or in a marriage, in our priorities, or in a superficial faith. The storm isn't meant to destroy those things. It's to get us to fix them while there's time.
Those "beyond my control" events birth some qualities that might not blossom any other way, like compassion, a tender heart for the hurting, patience, and endurance. And sometimes, the fury of the storm blows away junk I've allowed in my life — like sin, attitudes, and compromises that I would never face any other way.
During superstorm Hurricane Sandy, I read an amazingly timely description of another storm on the Sea of Galilee, and it spun the lives of Jesus' disciples "out of control." Well, their control anyway. A few phrases say it all: "It was dark ... a strong wind was blowing ... the waters grew rough." We've all lived that; if not physically, at least emotionally or spiritually.
But in their dark and dangerous moment, three little words changed everything — from John 6:17, "They saw Jesus." Saying to us as He said to them, "It is I; don't be afraid."
It's in those powerless moments that we realize, "I'm not enough. I can't do this." And we reach for the nail-pierced hand of the Man who took all the storm of all the judgment for all my sin so I could go to His heaven. Jesus is the One who can finally calm that lifelong storm that's been in your soul so long. Because you're safe, you'll have His peace. The storm's bigger than you are, but Jesus is bigger than your storm!
You want to be sure you belong to Him — to the Lord of the storm? Please visit our website, ANewStory.com. This can be the first chapter of your new story.
©Ronald P. Hutchcraft 2023


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