Summary: This is part 3 of a 5 part series on surviving the storms of life. Thunderstorms represent the next level of storms in life. Storms that have some danger but are usually short lived. Themes of refuge and strength are discussed.
Surviving the Storms of Life
Full of Sound and Fury
We have been talking over the last two weeks about surviving and even thriving amidst the storms of life. Last week we looked at the April showers of the storm world. Those storms that make life difficult, that increase the stress of living but don’t really threaten life. We talked about not blowing everyday storms out of proportion. Every day is not really a crisis. We talked about not giving in to fear and not giving up. This week I want to look at a storm of a little bit higher intensity. These are the severe storms of summer. The ones with dangerous lighting and damaging hail. These storms have several identifying features:
These storms are usually of greater intensity but shorter duration than the Spring Showers. With these storms there is a threat of damage in our lives. As long as they are handled properly life is not usually on the line but these storms can blow off the loose shingles and flood the basement.
There is real fear involved with these storms because of their intensity. This is not blowing things out of proportion these storms carry a real if limited threat to our safety and well being.
In these storms there is usually more sound and fury than real danger. In other words their bark is worse than their bite. Lighting strikes and thunder rolls, we jump and startle but remain safe through it all.
Let’s look at a Biblical model for surviving and thriving in the midst of these storms. As we look at Psalm 46 we find the nation of Israel in the midst of storm. Many believe that this Psalm was written during the invasion of Sennecharib King of Assyria still others believe it was penned after the victories of David and his return to Jerusalem. It really doesn’t matter what event surrounded it¡¦s writing. It is a song that inspires us in the time of storm.
In this passage we find the heart of dealing with these intensifying storms of life.
1) Find a place of refuge (v.1-4) If you remember last week when we talked about spring showers there was no retreat to a shelter or refuge - the strategy for getting through the spring shower is to keep rowing till you get there; weather the storm and keep at the oars. Here the strategy changes - when these larger storms approach you need to find shelter till the storm blows over. I am not talking about a hunker down, bunker mentality that quits life and living when the storm comes. I am talking about finding a safe vantage point from which to work and ride out the storm. The psalmist draws a picture of the majestic mountains standing steadfast and immovable. 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. Empires, nations, and political manifesto’s come and go, but the mountains seem never to change. Planted there firmly rooted in the foundations of the earth they boast of permanence and security as the world changes around them. Yet the psalmist says even if they shake and fall into the midst of the sea there is still a refuge which cannot be shaken. Our God is that refuge. This is what I want you to think about -all the things that we trust in and put our faith in to help us through the storm are vulnerable and impermanent. They change with storm and tide. But God never changes. When the storm comes there is but one refuge that has the permanence to keep us through- and that is God. For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob are not consumed.¡¨ Malachi 3:6 Story or Horatio Spafford It is Well With My Soul
2) Find the source of strength to bring you through (v.4-9) The 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 provides strength when our strength is gone. 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 strength. What I am trying to tell you this morning is that there is a source of strength and peace in the storm that is available whether we know it or not - whether we use it or not. There is the power to be truly happy - and it doesn’t come from what you have it comes from who God is.