Summary: Surviving a hurricane reminds us that God speaks to us out of the storms of life.
GOD SPEAKS OUT OF A STORM
Dr. Tom Doubt, Senior Pastor
Four Mile Creek Baptist Church
[Sunday after Hurricane Isabel]
A. Illustration: When I was a youngster, I thought my aunt Isabel was an exciting and interesting character.
1. The adults in our family described her in other terms, like “unpredictable” or “uncontrollable.”
2. In all likelihood there were elements of my perception and the adult view in Aunt Isabel’s personality.
B. Three days ago Hurricane Isabel blew through our community.
1. The personification of that storm may well have been exciting for some. Many would agree that it was unpredictable & uncontrollable.
2. Falling trees, loss of electricity, damaged homes, and uprooted lives were everywhere in our community. What happened to you, though, was probably a little different than what happened to Kathie and me.
3. In the back of all of our minds were questions like “why did that happen to them and not to me?” We had 15 trees uprooted in our yard; 3 fell against the edge of the garage. A neighbor up the street had only two trees fall, but both penetrated the room into their bedroom.
4. The inevitable comparisons began. Someone in the church even joked that the amount of damage was inversely proportional to how good you were. Such humor would not have been a joke to an old fellow in the Bible named Job.
C. The book of Job was written in the patriarchal period.
1. God permitted Job to be tested by Satan. God allowed bad things to happen to Job.
2. The Lord also allowed a hurricane to come through Richmond. We could watch portions on TV as if it were a surreal movie. But when it affected us directly, it was very real.
3. Like Job, the devastation was personal when it happened to us. We bear our human suffering with a mixture of human frailty and justification. Well-meaning friends and voices from the media offer words that compound our anxiety.
4. Comfort & understanding come only when we hear God speaks out of the storm.
D. Notice the progression of events that occurred in Job’s storm.
1. Raiding parties killed his servants and livestock (1:15)
2. A house collapses on 7 sons & 3 daughters (1:19)
3. Job is afflicted with boils (2:7)
4. Three friends come to Job (2:11). Initially, they practice good pastoral care by remaining silent for 7 days.
5. Then each speaks and challenges Job’s integrity on several fronts.
6. Job replies, but they cannot answer Job because he was righteous in his own eyes (32:1).
7. Elihu, a young man, gets angry at Job for justifying himself.
8. At last, God finally speaks and Job comes to his senses. When the Lord does speak, it is not in the quiet of prayer time. Rather, God speaks right out of the storm.
Read Job 38:1
A. Living through a hurricane offers a progression similar to that of Job
1. Personal experience tempts us to think we are worse off than we really are. In the midst of the storm we are isolated from friends & neighbors. So when a tree falls on our house we tend to forget that trees are falling on other homes.
2. As we begin to hear others tell of their experiences we are a bit confused as to why something happened to us. How can the radio state that the worst of the storm has passed when there is a gapping hole in our roof?
3. Days and weeks pass that further test us. Why didn’t the utility company do more? Why is there electricity across the street, but none in our house? Why is the guy in front of us buying the last 3 bags of ice?
B. This morning in the midst of our thanksgiving of having a church to be in after the storm, we need to reflect on what we could learn from being like Job.
1. Job was brave in distress.
2. He was valiant in enduring his afflictions.
3. He was a notable example of passive fortitude in the midst of crises.
4. Most importantly, Job came to realize that he could not justify himself, his faith, or his actions on his understanding. Rather, He had to completely trust in God and His wisdom.
THEME: Even in the most desperate circumstances of our life God speaks to us. God employs unique ways to get our attention, often speaking right out of the middle of our storm. Yet, when He speaks, we can trust Him fully. Be aware of the who, when, how, why, and what of that communication.
A. WHO speaks out of the storm is the Lord Himself.
1. God speaks to us in one way or another. Often it is so unique that man may not initially perceive that God is trying to tell them something.