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Weathering the Divine


The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of distress; and He knows those who take refuge in Him. Nahum 1:7

I like thunderstorms. Here where I live, I get my fill of them - in the summer at least. Unlike my grandmother, I open the curtains when I hear the rumble and stand in awe of those flashes of light. I stop what I am busy with and marvel. My young daughter didn’t always share in my enthusiasm. I had to explain to her why I love storms so much. The God we love makes those storms. I had to show her verses like...well, the whole of Job 37.


Hear attentively the thunder of His voice, and the sound that goes out of His mouth. He lets it loose under the whole heaven, and His lightning unto the ends of the earth... He does great things that we cannot comprehend... For He says to the snow, ‘Come on the earth,’ likewise to the gentle rain and to the heavy rain of His strength... and they are turned about by His guidance, that they may do whatever He commands them upon the face of the inhabited earth. He causes it to come, whether for correction, or for His land or for mercy.”


God uses the storms


We can get lost in the beauty of the poetry of Job, but did you catch that last verse? He not only makes the storms He also uses them. Yes, they are awe-inspiring, but they are also practical. We all know the earth needs rain, so there is that use, but also for correction? For mercy?

 

For correction 


Matthew 28:23-27 gives us an example: “Suddenly a great storm arose on the sea, so that the boat was covered with the waves. But (Jesus) was asleep. His disciples went to Him and awoke Him, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!” He replied, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” Then He rose and rebuked the winds and the sea. And there was a great calm.”


God planned that storm on the sea of Galilee, He set its course, and He used it - just as we were told in Job. In this case, He made the storm to rebuke it and correct the disciples standing in fear of it. 


For mercy 


In Psalm 89:9 it says, “You rule the raging of the sea; when the waves arise, You still them.” But He doesn't always. Sometimes He intends them for mercy.


Acts 27 sets the scene: “We were violently tossed by the storm. The next day they threw cargo overboard. On the third day we threw the tackle of the ship overboard with our own hands. When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small storm was upon us, all hope that we should be saved was lost... After they had long abstained from food, Paul stood in their midst and said, “Men, you should have listened to me and not have set sail from Crete, incurring this injury and loss. But now I advise you to take courage, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. For there stood by me this night the angel of God to whom I belong and whom I serve, saying, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand before Caesar. And, look! God has given you all those who sail with you.’ Therefore, men, take courage, for I believe God that it will be exactly as it was told to me. Nevertheless, we must be shipwrecked on a certain island.”


God had mercy on his servants Paul and Luke in that they survived, but He also wanted to show mercy to the Roman captain and crew, as well as on the inhabitants of that “certain island”. All of them witnessed many miracles and heard the Good News of Jesus Christ for three months! All because of God’s "merciful" storm.


Our skies


It’s not hard to make the jump from storms of rain to storms of life. Just like He uses one in His all-knowing plans He uses the other. None are coincidental, collateral or without purpose. That includes the ones in your life and mine.


Sometimes it is in the ceasing, in the quieting of the storm, that His purposes are best accomplished. “He made the storm calm, and the sea waves were still. They were glad because the waters were quiet, so He brought them to their desired harbour.” Psalm 107:29-30


Sometimes it is in its relentlessness that He executes His plan. “Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me! For my soul seeks refuge in You; in the shadow of Your wings, I will make my refuge, until the ruinous storm passes by.” Psalm 57:1


Sometimes it is for correction and sometimes for mercy, but it is always for your good and for His glory. All the storms He has declared and prepared for you, every decree and path He made for these to build up and pour down, has been, is now, and will be used. Believe this. Internalise it. It will lift your head above the water. It will lead you to a Rock that is higher than you (Ps 61:2).


From where then does wisdom come? And where is the place of understanding?... God understands its way, and He knows its place... When He made a decree for the rain, and a path for the lightning of the thunder, then He saw it and declared it; He prepared it, yes, and searched it out.” Job 28:20-27



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