The dark clouds roll in, and the sky goes black. The clouds begin to glow with sporadic flashes of light. Then comes the rumble in the distance.
When I see these storms roll in, I love to go sit on the front porch and watch. As the storm gets closer, the thunder booms louder. It echos and rattles off of the concrete buildings around me. Sometimes it explodes so loudly I can feel the impact on my chest and my ears cringe. I feel so small as I sit, watch, and listen to this parade of cannons in the sky. I feel helpless and surrounded. I don't mind these physical storm displays as long as I am somewhere safe. Spiritual storms, however, sometimes leave me feeling vulnerable. Just like physical storms sometimes keep me awake at night, spiritual storms roar and rumble in a barrage of thoughts. Sometimes I feel unsheltered. Forsaken. Alone. The rain cascades down my cheeks.
And I call out.
Just like the Psalmist in Psalm 77, storms can make us feel exposed and vulnerable. They can make us question God. Unlike when I sit on the porch sheltered from the rain while watching the storm roll in, sometimes we get caught out in the middle of the storm. We feel drenched by the rain as it covers us and soaks us.
And we call out.
There are five areas that it is easy to begin to question God when we endure a storm. These five areas can make us feel alone and vulnerable.
Psalm 77:7 "Will the Lord cast off for ever? and will he be favourable no more? Is his mercy clean gone for ever? doth his promise fail for evermore? Hath God forgotten to be gracious? hath he in anger shut up his tender mercies? Selah."
When we pray to the Lord in a storm, what exactly are we looking for? When we are in a dark time and calling out to God, what are we hoping for?
to be pleased with, set affection, to approve, delight, enjoy
In a storm, we quickly question if God is still please with us. We question His love and His delight. But did you know that even in a storm of chastisement, the storm demonstrates God's love?
Hebrews 12:6-7 "For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?"
Other storms are meant to refine us because He loves us and wants us to grow.
1 Peter 1:7 "That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:"
1 Peter 4:12-13 "Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy."
In a storm, it's easy to question God's kindness. In our pride sometimes we think, "What did I do to deserve this?"
Lamentations 3:22a "It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed..."
God has given us many promises, but when a storm comes along, sometimes we forget those promises. There are promises that He will be with us. There are promises that each trial has a purpose. There are promises that we have the hope of eternal life... the Biblical definition of hope... confident expectation!
2 Peter 3:9 "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."
Sometimes we question God's graciousness. Does He hear me? Is He listening? Can I come to Him and intreat/humbly beg? Does He give ear to my cries? He hears us!
Psalm 116:2 "Because he hath inclined his ear unto me, therefore will I call upon him as long as I live."
Lamentations 3:21-23 "This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness."
God has not changed no matter how difficult our storms may be. He still loves His children, works in our lives, and cares deeply. This God... our Father... loves us so much that He sent His Son to die for us. It would make no since that He would love us that much to then think He doesn't hear us or care about our problems. Quite the contrary! He loves. He hears. He keeps His promises. And He cares more than our human minds can comprehend.
So how do we combat those feelings that question God's very nature and character while we are going through storms?
(To Be Continued...)