The Storm’s Purpose

picssYou might be in pain. You might be battling sickness. You may be suffering a loss. You may feel insecure. Lost about the future. Worried about your child or your friend. You may suffer from anxiety or depression or helplessness. You may feel dragged down with guilt or struggles you can’t seem to overcome.

You might be in the middle of the storm.

But remember three words that Jesus once spoke that still apply today: “Peace. Be still!”

Your pain is not too big for God. And your pain will not be pointless. The storm may not end how you want it to, but it will end, and God will bring beauty out of the pain.

How often do you feel you need to be in control of life? In control of what happens tomorrow, in control of what grade you make, in control of your job, in control of your relationships, in control of your weight, in control of how the world sees you.

But life with Jesus means having no control… and trusting anyway. Trusting him even as the sea becomes unpredictable and we fear we may die.

IMG_4874I wrote this not long ago, about the story in Matthew 8 when the disciples are on the boat during a storm and Jesus continues to sleep. I wrote about how my family felt like we were stuck in a storm with my dad being in the hospital, that we road waves of something positive happening followed almost instantly by something negative. We continued to get scared, even though each time God calmed a wave and was faithful. In that storm, God taught us of his Kingdom and His faithfulness. Though it was terrifying in the midst, the things in which He has done because of it are impossible to count.

Jesus did not waste that storm. He NEVER wastes pain. Jesus will take every storm that may seem pointless and He will make it productive.

Jesus has never once promised us smooth waters, comfort, or convenience. In fact, He promises there will be pain and persecution in this life. We can bank on the fact that we will face storms, struggles, and loss. But we can also bank on God’s faithfulness and His peace.

I’ve been reading Acts, a book I highly recommend that includes many stories of believers, Peter included, being persecuted for the sake of the Lord. Peter believed in what he was doing and promised to continue preaching the good news and testifying.

So Peter was kept in prison, but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church.

Now when Herod was about to bring him out, on that very night, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries before the door were guarding the prison. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood next to him, and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him, saying, “Get up quickly.” And the chains fell off his hands.

-Acts 12:5-7

Peter was in PRISON awaiting trial for simply talking about what Jesus had done.

And what did he do?

He fell ASLEEP.

Remember that story in Matthew 8? Or, in case of this blog post, Mark 4? It is believed that Peter was on the boat when that happened. He freaked out with the other disciples.What was Jesus doing when the storm was threatening the lives of the disciples? He wasn’t trying to calm them down, he wasn’t panicking with them, he wasn’t trying to make sense of the situation or figure out why the storm hit. He was sleeping. And Peter saw that. Peter saw Jesus sleep through the storm and then calm it effortlessly.

And Peter, ever trying to be like our Savior, slept during his storm. So I guess what we can get out of this is that when you’re in the midst of a storm… sleep?

Or be still. Find peace. Trust in our savior, who even the waves and the winds obey.

In the midst of storms, Jesus cultivates intimacy. He uses the storms to lead people to freedom from fear. Peter knew that Jesus was with him while he was in Prison, just as Jesus was with him in the boat that day.

When you have no where else to turn, you turn to Jesus. When my family had no where else to turn, we leaned on the Kingdom and God. We relied on Jesus’s peace to get through the storm that landed my dad in a coma. And I do not know of any moment in my life when I felt closer to Jesus than those few weeks at the beginning of the summer. I was terrified every day, but I felt so intimate with the Lord, I would not give up those moments for anything.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
    for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.

-Psalm 23:1-4

You probably know those verses. Have you noticed that the tense changes? The verses starts off in third person: “He makes me lie down,” “He leads me” and then it changes to second person, a more intimate point of view: “You are with me,” “Your rod and your staff comforts me.”

David doesn’t say that Jesus delivers him from the shadow of death. He says that Jesus is WITH him, comforting him. And that switch to third person shows that he has become closer to God.

The storm in his life life became a breeding ground for intimacy with God.

God used David’s storm for good, for intimacy. He made his storm productive. He always has and He always will.

Guys, I’m going to be really really honest with you. Life is not easy. We are not riding a gentle sea. We are riding a chaotic, unpredictable storm. Life has not been easy for me recently. Most of my storms in the recent weeks have been internal struggles that I may or may not write about soon, and they are really difficult storms to find rest in the middle of.

But that is not the end. Jesus is in the boat with us, and he is not worried. In fact, that storm has the power to breed intimacy with the Savior like we have never known.

So find peace, be still. The storms obey our King.

Peace be still
Say the word and I will
Set my feet upon the sea
Till I’m dancing in the deep
Oh peace be still
You are here so it is well
Even when my eyes can’t see
I will trust the voice that speaks
I’m not gonna be afraid
‘Cause these waves are only waves
I’m not gonna be afraid
I’m not gonna be afraid
I’m not gonna fear the storm
You are greater than it’s roar
I’m not gonna fear the storm
I’m not gonna fear at all
A lot of the ideas and words from this blog post are curtesy of Timothy Ateek during Breakaway Ministries. I HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend listening to the podcast about this subject here.

On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”

-Mark 4:35-41

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One thought on “The Storm’s Purpose

  1. Madison Lawson,

    Great message! It reminds of a song called Nothing is Wasted by Jason Gray. If you haven’t heard it, then I recommend it.

    I love how you write. Your blog post makes the reader feel like they know you quite well.

    J. M. Gill

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