Did you know that even the most severe storms sometimes have profound positive effects? I read this meteorological article not too long ago that described this reality. Devastating thunderstorms often bring much needed rain to some of the most drought stricken areas. At times, forest fires breathe fresh life into decaying wooded areas. Some hurricanes are known to break drought patterns that have plagued regions of the world. Even lighting converts nitrogen in the air to a usable form called ‘fixed’ nitrogen.
If these things are true (and they have to be, I found them on the internet) then could it be possible that in the midst of the storms of our lives God could still work for our good. Could it be that in the middle of your relational, financial, emotional, crisis that God himself is still in control and still can be found to be good and faithful?
Matthew 14:22-33 tells the popular Bible story of Jesus & Peter walking on water, then Peter sinking in the water, and then Jesus rescuing Peter from the stormy water. We see a couple of different responses from Peter that seem to impact the course of these events. Peter has the choice whether to focus on the circumstances around him, ie howling winds & monstrous waves, or focus on Jesus as the Lord demonstrating his mastery over the storm by stomping out its power. When Peter focused on the storm, he started sinking, when he focused on Jesus he was helped.
We like Peter often fall into the trap of focusing on our circumstances to the avoidance of fully focusing on Christ. This pattern of life works decently until we are faced with a storm and then our focus becomes as chaotic as the situation we find ourselves in. When we focus on our circumstances our faith will only be as strong as our emotional state, status in life, and ability to understand our situation! Consequently, storms even small ones can easily lead to worry, frustration, and even panic.
On the other hand, if we learn what it means to focus on Christ like Peter did (for the few seconds before he turned his attention back to the wave) then we will discover the secret of what it means to live by faith. In this episode we quickly learn that while we are in the middle of our storms Jesus prays for us, Jesus comes to us right where we are, and Jesus rescues us as we turn to him. If we can just see Jesus, our faith is strengthened, our hope renewed, and our courage stirred up. If we remain focused on him, eyes set, then even though the storm assaults us, we don’t have to fear. Instead, we can faithfully trust Jesus, walking step by step in the strength God supplies, and knowing that God is at work behind the scenes doing more than we could ever imagine!