Sermons

Summary: The Divine Purpose For The Storms Of Life

Throughout the years of my life as a Christian I have experienced an ever deepening holy dissatisfaction with spiritual mediocrity and have continued in desire to draw closer to God’s majesty - yearning for more of His glory. But it hasn’t exactly been a ‘walk in the park’!

Along with every other human on Earth I have experienced much suffering and sorrow in my life. Tragic events, the effects of sickness and disease and the death of loved ones had brought a terrible sense of loneliness that cut to the very core of my being. Doubts came, flooding my heart and mind like a raging storm that caused me to question my beliefs and faith in God. My daily walk was treading water and going nowhere. The call of God on my life seemed like an ancient echo. It created intense pain from the feelings of rejection, betrayal, fear, insecurity and abandonment. God seemed hidden and felt a billion miles away.

Even when things appeared to be going well there were times of puzzling darkness. Throughout my life it has often seemed as if a dark cloud hovered overhead and blocked out the warmth and light of God’s beauty. The Bible felt dry and the heavens were as brass. I had become disillusioned, discouraged, depressed and frustrated. The prophet Amos spoke of this very thing: “Is not the day of the LORD darkness, and not light? Is it not very dark, with no brightness in it?” (Amos 5:20 NKJV)

The Psalmist also experienced this when he wrote “How long, O Lord ? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart?” (Psalm 13) These questions have perplexed the human heart for centuries. God can often seem hidden in times of trouble and pain.

The Cloud Of Darkness

When a person finds their self in clouds of darkness, they shouldn’t be dismayed. They should rejoice! For they are nearing "the secret place of the Most High” (Psalms 91:1 KJV). Jesus said, "Seek and you will find" (Matt 7:7). God has promised that when a person seeks Him with “all” their “heart” they will find Him! (Jer 29:13) The only way to miss finding Him is if they’re not looking for Him!

Where God dwells, “Clouds and darkness surround Him; Righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne.” (Ps 97:2 NKJV) The prophet Ezekiel described the glory as coming from within a storm “from the north, a great cloud with fire flashing forth continually and a bright light around it, and in it’s midst something like glowing metal in the midst of the fire" (Ez 1:4 NIV).

The storms of life that twist and turn through the wilderness will lead a person to His secret place so that they can behold His beauty. God will draw near and His glory will completely overwhelm them just as the priests who “could not continue ministering because of the cloud; for the glory of the LORD filled the house of the LORD.” (1 Kings 8:10-11 NKJV)

The Wilderness

Prior to Jesus beginning His ministry He went to the river Jordan to be baptized. As Holy Spirit descended on Him, the Father said, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased”. (Lk 3:22). THEN, the Father led Him into the wilderness! Too often desert experiences are thought of as punishment because of disobedience or personal sin. Yet the Father sent Jesus into the desert because He was pleased with Him! And so, at times, He will do the same with a Christian because He is also pleased with them!

Jesus went 40 days without food for His flesh but He was satisfied with “living water” to drink. He spent His time in deep communion with the Father in preparation for His ministry. In the wilderness one finds that the true food which brings nourishment and satisfies the soul is the Word and His promises. Times spent in the desert are to bring a person to a deeper reliance and trust in Jesus because there are no distractions. The time spent in the wilderness may be for 40 days or 40 years! God wants every Believer there because it is a place where deep romance - a holy honeymoon - exists between bride and Groom; "Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her. (Hos 2:14 NIV)

The nourishment and strength for preparation always comes in the desert. John the beloved, while He was exiled to the prison island of Patmos received His revelation. Revelation always comes in exile. When Jesus releases a person from the wilderness they will be filled to minister with the power of the resurrection and the might of His majesty.

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