We all have storms in our lives. Life brings rain and floods, and even typhoons. So what are they about? King David the Psalmist had a lot of storms and tried to escape often. In Psalm 55 he cries out to God for a hiding place. “My heart is severely pained within me, and the terrors of death have fallen upon me. Fearfulness and trembling have fallen on me. So I said, 'Oh if I had wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest' (vvs. 4-5). David was fleeing from Saul who wanted to kill him. Proverbs 1:27 tells us that terror comes like a storm. We look for a refuge from the storms in our lives. Sometimes we cause them, sometimes they just come or others cause them. In fact, God allows consequences of our sin that may be a storm.
In my life, the consequences of sin meant joblessness and fear. For the Apostle Paul, storms came as he was on a ship headed for Rome and possibly his execution. “A tempestuous headwind arose…and they were exceedingly tempest-tossed…all hope that we would be saved was given up.” (Acts 27:13,14,15).
I recall a pastor in Great Falls, MT telling “Storm Stories” of the violent West on the Rocky Mountain Front Range. They were stuck in a blinding blizzard and howling winds, the snow above the horses’ knees as they struggled to find shelter in the storm on a big game hunting trip. Somehow they were led to safety.
It was spring of 2005 when Katrina hit New Orleans. Our small Presbyterian church there was battered, but stood. No trees were standing. The gulf city was totally engulfed under water and debris. Our mission party spent the first week after the storm just removing garbage, trees, mud and anything in the way so that people could be rescued. Nearly 2000 died and nearly 1 million lost their homes.
Why are there storms? Why does God allow storms in our lives? I think He has a few reasons. However, for believers, Romans 8:28 applies, that God causes all things to work together for the good of those who love the Lord and are called by his purpose.
Cleansing is perhaps the first reason. God purifies through pain and suffering.
Companionship with Christ is often brought through trials. He is always with us, but do we find or seek him, until tempests blow?
Conformity with God’s image is Romans 8:29. He wants us to be holy for He is holy, Christlikeness. Sometimes trials and storms bring about a change towards God’s walk for us. For me it was an audible voice of God during a crisis of faith telling me, “This is the way, walk in it.” (Isaiah 30:21).
Conviction of sin, should cause us to repent and turn around.
Comfort comes through storms. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, The Father of mercies and the God of all compassion who comforts us all in our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble with the same comfort we have received from God.” (2Cor 1:2-4). He wants to produce in us patient endurance. He wants us to find rest in him alone ((Psalm 62).
Paul’s tempest torn voyage brought shipwreck, but in the end came shoreline and safety. Not one man was lost. I don’t know about you, but I have found comfort in and through the storms of life by seeking God. “God is our refuge and strength, an ever present strength in time of trouble” (Psalm 46:1).