Summary: Laerning to sense Him in the Storm.
SENSING GOD DURING THE STORM
Archibald Rutledge tells the story of looking out his window and watching a bird build a nest. He spent the better part of a day watching the scene. During the night, a bad storm came. Rutledge went to the window the next morning to see how the bird’s nest had survived the storm, and it hadn’t. It was down on the ground, torn apart and shattered. But then his eyes saw the bird. And it wasn’t mourning or standing beside that devastated home. Instead, the bird was back in the tree, laboring, building another nest.
I want to talk to you about the storms of life today. Scott Peck in his book, The Road Less Traveled, opens it up with these three words: "Life is hard." I think my favorite passage of Scripture in the Gospels is John 13-17. Five chapters in that great Gospel, the account of Jesus spending some intimate time with his disciples right before the garden and the trial and the crucifixion. It’s the most intimate part, I think, of all the Gospels.
In John 13, Jesus washed the disciples’ feet. It’s in that same chapter that Judas left the room to betray him. It’s where Peter says, "Lord, if all the other disciples leave you and run away from you, I want you to know you can count on me. I’ll stand beside you." John 14 is where our Lord talks to them about going to prepare a place for them. He talks about how important it is for him to go away so that the Holy Spirit can come and minister to us as the children of God. John 15 is the account of the vine and the branches. I think it’s such a beautiful story of relationships and how we are to abide in Him. If we live in Him, our fruitfulness is not of ourselves but what He provides. He provides the nourishment that we need to blossom as people. And John 16 is what we’re going to study in just a moment, where Jesus prepares his disciples for His death and departure, for the storm. John 17 is where Jesus prays for the church. It’s truly the Lord’s Prayer, although it’s not called that. It’s where he comes before the Father and intercedes for us as His children.
Now, I want you to turn to John 16. To be honest with you, as I knew I was going to be preaching two sermons on "Sensing God in the Storm," I already had my second message prepared the same day as the first. But in the morning, I awakened early, and it was one of those moments where I knew God had awakened me. In my mind were the words of Jesus when He said, "In this world, you will have tribulation." Immediately I recognized where that was and got up at the house and opened up my Bible.
I got into John 16 and for the next couple of hours; the Spirit of God began to pour thoughts out of this passage into my heart. I just got on the computer and typed as quickly as I could. This is a message that God gave me, and I learned a long time ago that when God gives me a message, I share it.
His are a lot better than mine.
He has some real truths for us. It hit me that Jesus prepared his disciples for an incredible storm in their life
How Jesus prepares us for the storm:
1. He lets us see the clouds.
The first thing Jesus does for his children when there is a storm approaching is let us see the gathering of the storm. He doesn’t allow the storm to just catch us unaware, where all of a sudden we’re out in the midst of it, getting battered and blown, with no clue what happened. He begins to prepare His people when they’re entering into what I call the "storm stage" of life.
You’re open to John 16. Get your pens out. I want you to underline verse 1. Jesus said, "I am telling you this to keep you from being afraid." Verse 2, "You will be chased out of the Jewish meeting places. The time will come when people will kill you and think they are doing God a favor. They will do all these things because they don’t know either the Father or Me." Underline the next verse. "I am saying this to you now, so when the time comes (when the storm comes), you will remember what I have said." Underline the next phrase. "I was with you at the first, and so I didn’t tell you these things. But now I am going back to the Father who sent me and none of you asked me where I’m going."