It’s hurricane season and forecasters are adjusting their estimates for storms and hurricanes. With Nov. 30th being the end of hurricane season people around the coastal country will be prompted to make greater preparations.
So many aspects of these storms grab our full attention. Some storms are Category 4 or 5, 950 miles wide, pack gusts up to 170 MPH, and dumps tons of rain. We often pray that the storms will pass with minimal loss, especially losses of life. The Bible says “The LORD is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble” (Psalm 9:9).
Mosie Lister wrote a song about enduring a storm — “’Til the Storm Passes By.” In each of the three verses Lister paints images of a storm of monumental proportions. Images are painted of a roaring storm that rages though the dark of the midnight, a storm that howls, a storm where there is no place to hide, a storm with crashing thunder, darkened skies, a looming long night, and a roaring tempest. A storm of this magnitude leaves the hearts of men searching for deliverance. He imagines hearts crying, people tempted to give up and quit, a time when there seems to be no end to sorrow, and a time when hope dwindles. Thankfully, however, the song does not end there! Lister gives several aids to help till the storm passes by. Let’s consider them in light of the scriptures.
First, we ought always to pray and not to lose heart (Luke 18:1).Isaiah 41:10 reads “fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” As the intensity of the storm presses on, losing heart and fainting are real risks. Patience and endurance are a must. Massive storms must be endured like a marathon and less like a sprint. Be watchful and sober. Slumber and insensitivity can leave one stranded. Pray often and remember that the prayer of a righteous man “has great power” (James 5:16).
Second, remember when we serve God faithfully we are not alone in the midst of the raging of the storm. In intense trials there is a temptation to be totally self-reliant. As we prepare and foresee certain risks, we get wrapped up in concerns of mere self-preservation. Surely preparation is necessary, but the faithful must remember they do not weather these storms alone. Our great savior has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Heb. 13:5). The Lord knows. The Lord hears. The Lord understands. The Lord sympathizes with our weaknesses. Lister in the songs pleas “hold me fast; let me stand in the hollow of Thy Hand. Keep me safe ‘til the storm passes by.”
Third, in intense moments of distress, endure but remember the big picture and by faith look with great anticipation for the time of deliverance. Consider Peter when he walked on the water (Matt. 14:22-33).
28 And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” 29 He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” 31 Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33 And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” (Matthew 14:28-33).
We must by faith keep our eyes on Jesus. When we look down, when we pause with hesitation, or when doubt overcomes us, we can begin to sink. In times of intense distress remember that this present situation is one dot on the radar and not the whole radar of our lives. Don’t let trials or temptations define you. Use them as stepping stones and opportunities to be refined for the Master’s good use. He’s walked these steps long before us. Keep your head up and on him. Remember that we are but feeble vessels made of clay. He is the potter (Is. 64:8). Let him refine you. As long we keep our eyes and mind on the savior, never wavering or doubting, he is sure to deliver us. God urges us “be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain” (1 Cor. 15:58).