Summary: This message prepared & preached after the "TORNADOES" of April 27, 2011, of which our community was impacted. My prayer is that this will help us understand the tragedies.
Understanding the Storm
* This past Wednesday our world was rocked. As the forces of nature wreaked havoc on this state, our lives were forever altered. While we might like to believe that ‘we’ll get over it’ or that ‘we’ll simply get on it’, the truth is, these events are now a part of our lives and have become a part of the fabric of who we presently are &, in some measure, who we will become. Candidly, every time there is an event like this, many want to characterize it in unbiblical ways. After Katrina, I recall the extreme views made public. On the one hand, some were getting on TV speaking of how God could have nothing to do with events like this while others came on to say that the storm was the JUDGMENT OF GOD. The results seem to be a polarized people who were confused about ‘who’ God is and ‘what’ God wants. In the aftermath of the disaster let’s hear from God.
* (READ TEXT.) In 1969, Hurricane Camille impacted the Mississippi Gulf Coast. At age 15 and living less than 100 miles from the Coast, I clearly remember those days and the impact. In 2005, some 36 years later, Hurricane Katrina struck. This time at age 51, I was living on the Gulf Coast and still have those images burned into my mind. This past week (2011), we have experienced the day of TORNADOES (or what one TV station is terming “April’s Fury) & fresh in each of our mind is the loss property, loss of health, and loss of life.
* As we have read about Job, I think it safe to say that Job experienced a day in HIS life which was every bit as devastating as Camille, Katrina, and last Wednesday combined. We read about 2 attacks of man and 2 attacks of nature, the end of which was that Job was left broke & broken-hearted. He had experienced loss of property, possessions, & people. Might I suggest that we can learn from HIS heartache? (4 thoughts)
1. Reality of the storm – While in the story of Job we get a ‘behind the scenes” view of what went on in heaven to cause this, we don’t have that luxury for the storms we face. However, WE WILL FACE STORMS! It is a fact! Storms are coming. Some ask “why” and we’ll get to that but first it is important to know, understand, and even admit that storms will come into our lives. Whether it is a hurricane, a tornado, an attack of Satan, or all of the above; the storm is headed your way. In fact, I will go so far as to say that every person in this room is either, ‘just coming out of a storm, in the middle of a storm, or about to enter a storm. Last Sunday, as we sang and celebrated resurrection day, none of us had any idea that we would be face with nature’s fury this week.
Understanding the Storm – Pg 2
* You may consider almost anyone in scripture & you will discover that they all faced a storm of one kind or another. Adam, Noah, Moses, & David faced storms of heartache, rebellion, opposition, & perceived failure. Job, Jonah & even the disciples faced the forces of nature on the order of what we have witnessed. Candidly, life is full of storms. The list goes on and on. Every person mentioned in the Bible faced one storm after another. Oddly enough, some people are surprised when difficulties or storms come their way. It is these people who seem to be destroyed by the storms.
2. Reasons for the storm – This question permeate everyone who has ever experienced a storm. Why? Let apply some Biblical perspective to this question. We can find at least 3 specific reasons for the storms and then recognize that there is ONE over-riding truth about storms.
* To examine & evaluate – it is obvious from the dialogue between God & Satan in Job 1, that Job was the kind of person who God was ‘bragging’ on. O, to be that kind of person. We need to glean from this truth that ‘if God doesn’t send the storm, He does have to give it HIS permission. God is still sovereign and nothing escapes His notice or His purview. Some storms are sent to see how we will react. Are these for God’s benefit? They are for OUR GOOD and HIS GLORY. He lets these things reveal to us what we truly are. (James 1:2)
* To discipline & direct – When Katrina hit the coast, one of the most popular opinions was that God was punishing the coast for the Casinos business. Is that true? I don’t know. But I do find in God’s word that when God’s people go astray, God will send a storm to bring them into line. Scripture says, “Those God loves, He disciplines.” For emphasis, God has included the story of Jonah. For those who believe God is a cross between a ‘gentle grand-daddy and Santa Claus’ and you just “know” that God would never do anything like this. You may not like this part of God’s character, but that doesn’t change a thing. Jonah 1:4 says, “The Lord hurled a violent win on the sea, and such a violent storm arose that the ship threatened to break apart.” The very reason this storm came was to bring Jonah to his sense & get him to obey God’s will. As hard & difficult as the storm is, the true child of God see God’s hand & God’s handiwork in it. Jonah did. (Words of Eddie & Kelly). Already some are taking these words & will misrepresent what I have said. I did not say that God sent this trial to the Gordon’s to discipline & correct them, what I said was that God uses storms in this way and the child of God (Kelly & Eddie) understand that God was & is in the storm.