3. Storms

All of us have been through storms in our lives. These can be emotional, financial, spiritual, health and relationship storms. We notice in the Bible that many of those whom God greatly used or blessed went through some sort of storm or crisis. There are many storms mentioned in the Bible. As we read about these storms we find a number of important principles that could affect our Christian lives and bring us into a higher level of blessing and fruitfulness.  A storm can either destroy us or be an opportunity for promotion in the Kingdom of God. 

There are a reasons why we go through storms. 

Firstly, we can go through a storm because of disobedience.

We have the example of Jonah. He  disobeyed God’s call to preach in Nineveh, so God used a storm to bring him back into his will.  In the same way, God can use a storm to bring us back into His will. God can use a crisis or a storm to bring us to repentance and into obedience. This also happened to Joseph in the Old Testament. A storm brought him into his calling. If he had not gone through this storm, this would never had happened.

One of the best examples in the New Testament, was Paul’s storm in Acts chapter 27. A storm and a shipwreck propelled him to the island of Malta where he was used in a great revival. This would have never happened if he did not go through this storm. If we are open to the Holy Spirit, then God can use storms and crisis to open amazing doors for us. There are many other examples in the Bible. The Bible says in Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” 

Furthermore, disobedience can remove God’s protection over us and gives the enemy a legal right to attack us, which could be the reason why we do go through storms. Not all storms are the will of God for us!

Secondly, a storm can be a direct attack of Satan. 

We often go through storms because the devil ties to stop us doing God’s will. This is especially true when we lead people to Christ, heal the sick and cast out demons. We are challenging the powers of darkness, and as a result, the devil tries to stop us or he attacks us. 

The reason for the storm in Luke 8, was because they were going to pray for a man who had many demons. Therefore,  devil tried to stop them and kill them. Often when we do things for God, the devil will by cause people to persecute us. We see this throughout the book of Actsin the life of Paul. He challenged the deeply entrenched demonic strongholds. 

Some important things we need to do when we go through storms:

Firstly, if we are in a storm, we must use our authority and deal with the storm.

We will look at some important lessons from the two storms that are mentioned in the Gospels. 

WE read in Luke chapter 8:21-25, “Now it came to pass on a certain day, that he went into a ship with his disciples: and he said unto them, Let us go over unto the other side of the lake. And they launched forth.” We have the same account in Matthew 8where it says, “And when he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him.” The disciples followed Him willingly because they did know about the soon coming storm!

We all know about Jesus and His disciples in the storm mentioned in Matthew 8. He made His disciples get into a boat to go to the other side of the lake. He then fell asleep, a storm arose on the lake. We read in verse 24,  “And they came to him, and awoke him, saying, Master, master, we perish. Then he arose, and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water: and they ceased, and there was a calm. (25)  And he said unto them, Where is your faith…”

He was actually expecting them to stop the storm!  This is what many of us are doing today. We are crying out to God in the storm, instead of using our faith to stop our storms. It is often  our responsibility to use our authority, based on the word of God, and stop our own storms. If we do so, nothing will happen. Jesus already gave His disciples the following word, “Let us go to the other side of the lake.” They should have used this promise and rebuked the storm. God will never allow us to go through a storm and not give us the “tools” to stop or conquer our storms.

So if we are in some sort of storm today, we need to find the promises in the word of God and command the storm to stop. 

For example: If we are going through a health storm, we can make the following declaration: “Jesus Christ carried all my sickness and pains two thousand years ago on the cross and by His stripes I was healed. (1 Peter 2:24). Therefore sickness and pain, you are an illegal intruder in my body. I will not tolerate you any longer and command all symptoms of sickness and pain to leave me right now. In the name of Jesus, I declare myself healed.” It is our responsibility to resist the devil, and if we do do, he will flee from us. Often it seems that “Jesus is asleep” in our boats and there is no evidence that God is with us.  If this is do we must use the word of God and us. the authority that He has given us.

Secondly, we must keep our eyes upon Jesus in the storm.

We have the example of Peter walking on the water. As he kept his focus on Jesus, he could walk on water in the midst of the storm. But we read in Matthew 14:30, “But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.” It is important that we do not focus on the storm and think about our problems and our negative situations all the time. We need to focus on the Lord and on His word.  One of the best things we can do in the middle of a storm is to praise and worshipthe Lord Jesus. The Bible says that Jesus is our peace. (Ephesians 2:14) As we begin to focus on Him we will begin to experience His peace. 

I have seen this many times. I remember, a while ago, Frances and I were going through a storm because of certain things that were happening to us. We prayed, did spiritual warfare and still there was no relief from the storm. We then decided just to focus on Jesus and worship Him. After a while a great peace came on us and the storm stopped. Just as Jesuscould sleep in the storm, because He had peace in His heart. If we have His peace in our hearts, we too will be able to sleep in our storms. Our storms will not affect us. We have the example of Peter in the book of Acts. He was arrested put in prison and chained to two guards, to be executed the following day.  He had such peace in his heart, that he fell asleep between the two guards. (Acts 12:6)

Thirdly, we need to get rid of things that distract us from God and His will for us.

We read about Paul’s storm in Acts 27:28, “And when they had eaten enough, they lightened the ship, and cast out the wheat into the sea.” In the storm, they “lightened the ship.” Sometimes, we too have to ‘lighten our ships’ and get rid of things that distract us from our relationship with God be from the will of God. The Bible says in Hebrews 12:2that we must “lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily besets us.” Sometimes it is difficult to go through storms because we are too busy, we have too many commitments and we are wasting too much time on worthless activities. We need to ‘lighten our ships!’ These could also be relationships and habits or even the electronic media!

We read about Mary and Martha in Luke 10:41-42. Martha was in a storm so Jesus said to her, “Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things… but one thing is needful, and Mary has chosen the better part.”Martha was focused on so many things that she became very agitated. Mary on the other hand was sitting at Jesus’ feet listening to His word. She was focused on Jesus and was in perfect peace. 

Fourthly, we must obey God in the storm:

 Jesus said in Matthew 7:24-25, “Therefore whosoever hears these sayings of mine, and does them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.” If we are in a storm, we must ask ourselves the question: 

– Are we are obeying God’s will or His word? 

-Are we obeying God with our finances?

– Are our relationships in order. Do we love and forgiveness people? 

– Are we telling others about Jesus?

– Are we careful with what we watch or read?

If our lives are in order, and we are doing what God has told us to do, then no storm will destroy us. 

In Psalm 16:8, “I have set the Lord always before me; Because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved.” The right hand is a place of highest honour. When we honour and obey the Lord, nothing can move us. We will conquer every storm!

There are some other wonderful truths about storms: 

– Storms are opportunities for miracles. It was in a storm that Peter walked on the water. We can therefore expect more miracles when we go through storms. Miracles usually happen in storms and not in the comfort zones of our boats. In our most desperate situations, we have experienced our greatest miracles. 

– Storms can give us wonderful opportunities to meet with God and have wonderful encounters with Him.It was in a storm, that an angel appeared to Paul on the ship. It was in  the furnace, that the three friends of Daniel met with Jesus. It is often in a storm, that we meet with God. God gives us a wonderful promise in the book of Isaiah. “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you: when thou walk through the fire, you shall not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon you.”  (Isaiah 43:2)  Jesus came walking on the water to His disciples in the middle of a storm.

– Jesus is bigger than our storms: Jesus walked on water in the middle of a storm. The storm was under His feet. No matter what we go through in life, God is always bigger than our storms and our problems. All things are under His feet, His name is about all names. If God is for us, no-one can be against us! Jesus said in John 16:33, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”

– When Jesus is Lord of everything in our lives, we will have peace in the storms: In Matthew 14:32we notice that when Jesus stepped into the boat the wind ceased. One of the ways to stop our storms, is to bring Jesus into our ‘boats.’ We must trust Him in the storm! Jesus said, “I will be with you, even unto the end of the age.” If we are preaching the gospel and doing His will, He will always be with us in the storm. 

-Finally, there is always an ‘other side’ of the storm.In John 6:21, we read that when Jesus stepped into the boat, they were immediately at the other side of the sea. Jesus said in Luke 8:22, ” Let us go over unto the other side of the lake.” The “other side can mean two things. Firstly,it means that God has something exciting that He wants to do for us and through us. For example, Joseph’s other side was his promotion. Paul’s other side was a revival at Malta. For Jesus and the disciples, the ‘other side’ meant a great deliverance and a great revival. Secondly, the other side means that the storm is only for a period of time. It will not last forever, it will come to an end!

Therefore, as we go through storms today, let us not give up, let us continue to believe the word of God, keep our eyes on Jesus and obey the word of God. God always has a good ending, no matter what we go through. Amen