I was sent a few pictures showing how huge trees have been uprooted with others blown over … falling onto vehicles, squashing them as the winter weather creates havoc in the Western Cape. The winds have been so strong that in some places on the East Coast waves of up to 9 meters high have been recorded. When we were teenagers, an earthquake ravaged the “Boland”, (today, part of the Western Cape). When ministering in Welkom in the Free State, we experienced a tornado passing through. Both of these caused horrific damage to just about every home and street in the near vicinity. The cleanup, especially after the earthquake, took a long time with people working around the clock to bring roads (especially national roads), industry, houses and farms back to normal.
There are many storms that hit one’s life … for some, these storms can be chaotic, devastating and cause long lasting damage! As a follower of the Lord Jesus, I can’t imagine how people, who experience immense storms, handle such outside of the Lord Jesus Christ! As you consider the almost seasonal storms in the Western Cape, and, for that matter, throughout the world, those caught in them are terrified and at times lose everything. But there is another group of storms that could come with devastating destruction upon people. Some are:
- The storms of bankruptcy … This storm might be self-inflicted through mismanaging funds or through being deceived, defrauded or robbed, amongst other reasons.
- The storms of addiction … This storm is generally caused through personally abusing addictive substances, be it alcohol, tobacco or controlled or banned substances.
- The storms of blindness or disease … medically, anything can happen to anyone at any moment in life. It could be a stroke, organ failure, loss of hearing or sight, loss of a limb or any other medical problem.
- The storms of death in the family … this happens to every family, though for some, the death of a husband or wife early in life, leaving children and perhaps very few resources.
- The storms of betrayal … this storm could be between business partners, engaged or married people, between parents and children or children and parents.
- The storms of abuse … this storm, in our country generally happens by men against women and children, though abuse could also be a wife abusing her husband’s generosity, a neighbor abusing another’s kindness, a boyfriend abusing his girlfriend or employers abusing employees.
- The storms of adultery … this storm seems to be so common today. God’s design is for one man, one woman in a monogamous relationship for life … yet too often lust drives men and women into another’s arms.
- The storms of divorce … when you think of betrayal, abuse and adultery in marriage, more often than not the dreaded “D” comes into play. Too often, divorce devastates not only the husband and wife, but the children and extended family and even the close friends.
- The storms of shattered lives and collapsed hopes … these storms could result from any of the above.
Look at the following passage:
Mt 8:23 Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. 24 Without warning, a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. 25 The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” 26 He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. 27 The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”
This dramatic story has two levels of teaching.
Firstly, being out at sea in a storm can be extremely taxing, especially when the waves toss the ship around, then take it to the top of the wave, which then passes under the ship causing the ship to literally drop back into the ocean. I have been out in the deep sea on a fishing trawler without being able to sea land. As the swells carried the trawler, I was very nervous, but that is not nearly as bad as the stories I have heard from fishermen and captains who have encountered extreme weather.
Although the circumstances were different for the disciples and Jesus (they were on the Sea of Galilee), the fear was the same. They were seasoned fishermen. The storm must have been very dangerous for them to wake Jesus! Look at their words: “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” By this stage, they knew that Jesus could do something about their plight. He in turn pointed out their lack of faith … that would be their lack of faith in Him for He was with them. If they drowned, so would He! How can they be afraid when their Lord, the miracle worker, is with them? Look at Jesus’ approach … “Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.” They should not have been surprised, but we read:
Mt 8:27 The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”
Jesus is the God of Creation. He has authority and power to control nature!
But then there is another level of teaching. this account is not just for them and us to see Jesus’ authority over nature … it points to our need to exercise faith in Him as we go through the storms of life, even the most devastating storms! The level of our dependency on Him will reveal His helping us.
Dear God, thank you for saying that “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust’” (Psalm 91). Please protect me and my love ones from the storm of life … and should they come, take us through them safely. Amen.