By Scott Stake
So today I ran out of gas. Ever had that happen? I wish I could say this was my first time or that I had a gas can in the trunk because I tend to play the game of how below "Empty" I can go, but alas, I was totally unprepared for this storm. Thankfully, God was not! In His kindness, He planned that I would run out of gas at just the right spot where a friendly Four Oaks person would pick me up and take me to the gas station. Isn't He amazing? And thank you, Janet Hutchison!!
Now I wish I could tell you that all of my problems are solved that quickly and easily or that I always knew what God was up to or that I was ready for and trusted in His plan completely. But sometimes when the storms of life come, it's tough, isn't it?
Well, if you're like me, last Sunday's sermon was a real comfort for my soul (thank you, Pastor Josh!). As I meditated more on this passage this week, there are 3 truths related to God and our storms that really stuck out to me and that can help us to trust and endure when they come.
God is over the storm. He is sovereign and has complete authority over all things, including the sometimes chaotic circumstances of our lives. He stirs up the waters, walks on the waters, and calms the waters at His command. God is the powerful ruler, and all things are subject to His authority. He is not surprised or impotent but is over all things, including our storms! He has a plan that will not change, and He will accomplish all His purposes. While we might be confused as to what's going on, we can take comfort that God is over everything in our lives.
God works through the storm. He is not only over the storm, but works through the storms of life to accomplish His good purposes in our lives. Paul Tripp provides a helpful reminder: "God sometimes employees the difficulties of life as tools of grace to produce character in you that would not grow any other way. So your trials are not a sign that God has forgotten you or is being unfaithful to his promises. Rather, they stand as a reminder that he is committed to his grace in your life until it has completed its work." Or as Pastor Josh reminded us, "All storms are father-filtered." While it may sometimes be difficult, we're invited to trust in our Father who lovingly and graciously uses our storms to make us more like Jesus. Or as the hymnist William Cowper writes, "Behind a frowning providence, He hides a smiling face."
God is with us in the storm. God is not far off but is near to the broken-hearted and saves the crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18)! He is Immanuel, God with us, and invites us into communion with Him when we're afraid, confused, angry, or alone. He comforts, cares, listens, and draws near. Even when the storms continue to hit us, He promises He will never leave us or forsake us. So, Four Oaks, run to Him and cling to Him. He loves you and is with you!
While all our storms look different, may we together look to God as the one over the storms, working through the storms, and with us in the storms for our good and His glory!
By Scott Stake