Summary: Learning from the psalmist we find stategies to weather the storms of life.
A Shelter in the Time of Storm
Think we¡¦ll make it? Those were the words of my brother Alan as we loaded up a grill and some other odds and ends on Friday night before we left the beach earlier this month. He asked that as we both looked at the rolling mass of black clouds that surrounded us. The wind had picked up, a few drops of rain already falling and thunder rumbled overhead. I have to admit that I am one of those strange people who love to watch storms but I also have to admit that standing out in that driveway watching that storm roll in wasn¡¦t much fun. I was scared ¡V and I¡¦m not ashamed to tell you that ¡V I have a healthy respect for storms ¡V I danced out and back always looking at the clouds as if by some miracle of willpower I could hold them back for just a few more minutes.
Storms come in many shapes and sizes. In the weather world we have everything from spring showers to class five hurricanes. Life¡¦s storms are just as varied and just as unpredictable.
How many of you today are experiencing the storms of life? If you are not in the midst of a storm today ¡V listen anyway because storm clouds are on the horizon. No one lives in this life for long without weathering a storm.
Let¡¦s look together at a psalm written to help us find answers for the storms of life.
1) Seek the shelter of a permanent building ¡V On Wednesday Fred and I were playing golf and I noticed a new sign on the windshield of the golf cart ¡V it had a picture of a lighting bolt and under it instructions for what to do if a storm should hit ¡V the first instruction ¡V seek the shelter of a permanent building. That in a nutshell is the first thing the psalmist shares with us about storms. The psalmist draws a picture of the majestic mountains standing steadfast and immovable upon their foundations of stone. Of all earth¡¦s landmarks the mountains seem the most unchangeable. The sands of the seashore change with the tides. The seasons bring life, death, and rebirth to the grass and trees. Even the moon changes its light through a cycle of its nightly appearances. But the mountains seem never to change. Planted there firmly rooted in the foundations of the earth they boast of permanence and security. Yet the psalmist says even they shake and fall into the midst of the sea there is still a refuge which cannot be shaken. Our God is that refuge. That night in Nags Head NC, I went into the house and opened the blinds and watched as the storm hit. The wind blew, the rain fell, and the lightning crashed but I wasn¡¦t afraid anymore because I knew it couldn¡¦t touch me. I was warm and safe and dry. The refuge of God is built on several things¡K
„« His Unchanging Nature ¡V ¡§For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob are not consumed.¡¨ Malachi 3:6 By His very nature He cannot change. To change would to imply that something could be added that isn¡¦t already there or something taken away to improve who He is. The truth is that from everlasting to everlasting He is God.
„« His Unchanging Purpose ¡V Therefore you, O sons of Jacob are not consumed¡K Lets look at the context. Here was Israel ¡V disobedient, unfaithful, staring in the face of Judgment found guilty of robbing God and questioning His power. In fact they went so far as to say that it was vain to serve God. Why didn¡¦t He destroy them? Why didn¡¦t God just get rid of this ungrateful, stubborn, prideful nation? I would have. Let me tell you why, God is unchanging in His purpose and plan for people.
Never changing, never changed the permanence of God ¡V provides for us a refuge we can trust.
2) Seek the Power of one who is in control ¡VThe psalmist says that in the storm there is a river whose streams make glad the city of God. Flowing water has always been a symbol of the purity, and the life sustaining power of God. Water in the desert regions is life itself. There is a river, a spiritual force flowing in the life of a believer, that pours into the soul a peace that is beyond comprehension. Phil 4:6Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. There is a river that flows into the life of a believer that allows us to have peace when peace doesn¡¦t make sense. The apostle Paul said I have learned the secret of being content no matter what circumstances surround me. Paul found a source, a river flowing, that was constant and deep. It¡¦s flow bringing life, and joy and peace. What I am trying to tell you this morning is that there is a source of peace in the storm that is available whether we know it or not ¡V whether we use it or not. There is the power to be truly happy ¡V and it doesn¡¦t come from what you have it comes from who God is.