Summary: God allows storms in our life so that we can experience the power and the presence of Christ.
One of my favorite stories is about Chippie the parakeet. Chippie was a happy little bird, content every day to sit on his perch, swinging and singing to his little heart’s content. One day Chippie’s owner took the initiative to clean out his cage. She took off the attachment from the end of the vacuum hose and stuck it in the cage to remove the sediment from the bottom. Just then the phone rang. She turned to pick it up and had barely said hello when "ssopp!" Chippie got sucked in!
As you can imagine, the bird owner gasped, dropped the phone, turned off the vacuum and ripped open the bag. Inside, there lay Chippie, still alive but stunned by the trauma. The bird was covered with all the terrible grit and grime that fills vacuum bags, so the owner did the only thing she could think to do. She grabbed him up, raced to the bathroom, turned on the faucet, and held Chippie under running water. Then realizing poor little Chippie was soaked and shivering, she did what any good bird owner would do, she reached for the hair dryer and blasted the little guy with hot air. Poor Chippie never knew what hit him.
A couple of days after the experience the reporter who first wrote about the event talked to Chippie’s owner. He asked how the bird was doing. She said, "Well Chippie doesn’t sing much anymore-he just sits and stares." It’s no wonder. One minute the little guy was swinging and singing, and before he knew it, he was sucked in, washed up and blown over. If that doesn’t turn your song into a blank stare, nothing will. (From Max Lucado, In The Eye Of The Storm, p. 11)
My guess is, most of us can relate to Chippie. There are times when life treats us more harshly than we expect. It might be something as small as a cutting remark from someone we consider a friend, or it could be something as major as the death of a spouse. It might be hearing the word "malignant" from the lips of a doctor, or it could be the collapse of a business that you’ve invested your life in. It’s possible to get battered, bruised and blown away by rough times and difficult circumstances. When those things happen often the best we can muster is a blank stare, and our song sometimes seems like a distant memory.
Last week we looked at the parable of the wise and foolish builders, both of them were trying to build a good life for themselves. But the story went on to tell us that the life they were building was threatened by the storms. Hard times and difficult circumstances threatened their well-being, and only the one anchored on the solid rock of a relationship with Christ was able to withstand the pressure of the storm. This morning we are going to look at another passage about a storm, and we are going to learn even more about handling the storms of life.
Text: Matthew 8:23-27
You know, when I read through a passage like that, I can’t help but ask a question. "Why does God allow storms in our life?" I mean, think about it a minute. If He is all-powerful, couldn’t God make our life smooth sailing if He wanted to? Wouldn’t it be nice if He cut out all the storms and simply made the seas that we sail on as smooth as glass? It seems like life would be much better if we didn’t have to go through rough times, but I’m guessing God has His reasons.
I learned a little about storms this week. Did you know that hurricanes are important to maintaining the balance of the earth’s ecosystem? You’ve no doubt seen on TV the devastation that hurricanes cause especially along the coasts. But did you realize that those storms serve a very important purpose? They dissipate a large percentage of the tremendous heat that builds up at the equator across the globe. Not only that, but they are indirectly responsible for much of the rainfall in North and South America. For a while meteorologists experimented with cloud-seeding techniques to prevent hurricanes from forming, but they quit because they came to recognize that in the big picture hurricanes actually do more good than harm.
Lightning storms are sometimes devastating. They can kill a person instantly. They knock down trees, destroy buildings, start huge fires when the ground is dry, and just the noise can scare a person to death. But do you realize that lightning is essential for plant life to exist on earth? The atmosphere contains nitrogen, but it doesn’t easily combine with other gasses. If it did, we would all be poisoned by different forms of nitrous gasses. However, by a charge of electricity coursing through the atmosphere, nitrogen is transferred from the atmosphere to the soil. Every day one hundred thousand bolts of lightning strike the earth. This process creates usable nitrogen in the soil to nourish the plant. We may not like the lightning storms, but they are a necessary part of life on earth.