A Massive Storm
Just over a month ago, a series of near ‘perfect storm’ weather conditions set up to dump a year’s worth of rainfall on some portions of northern Colorado in a week’s time, with most of it in 4 days. This was during September 11-15, 2013.
Just to give you an idea, we live in the northeast plains, east of the Rocky Mountains, but part of the area that was flooded. Weld County is a top 10 agricultural producing county in the nation. Our neighbor’s rain gauge recorded almost 7 inches of rain in 4 days. That may not sound like a lot so some, but that is half of what we normally receive in a single year. That is a lot of rain, by any standards.
For those of you who have never been here, the flooding and devastation of entire towns or sections of towns, homes, farmland and livestock came about because the heaviest rainfall started in the mountains, where lakes, rivers, stream and reservoirs filled to capacity quickly and had no place to go except to be channeled down the Big Thompson Canyon. Walls of water coming down the canyon met filled-to-capacity rivers, lakes, streams and reservoirs in the foothills and plains (us) which left their banks and caused extensive damage to towns, homes, roads, agricultural crops, and fields. You can see flood images here.
The storm is being called a 1000-year flood by meteorologists. One meteorologist in the hardest hit area even called it ‘biblical’. Of course, that isn’t true, but it does give you a hint at the physical and emotional impact on residents.
A Little Overwhelming to Say the Least
As with any natural disaster, the personal and economic impact will be felt for quite some time. Entire towns were cut off from each other for a week or more, and probably the most astounding thing to deal with is that rivers cut complete new paths. Many, many people in the region have lost homes and businesses. Thank God, the loss of life was very low, although any is very sad.
Loss of life, loss of possessions, even for basic daily needs, loss of livelihood, homelessness…no matter how generous the community, it is all overwhelming. Naturally, emotions are all over the place, and I’m sure they will be for quite some time.
Even for those who didn’t suffer any personal loss, there is still grief and sadness for our friends and neighbors. Every one of us probably knows someone who has been impacted by this flood.
In 2012, this area has dealt with devastating fires and extreme drought, and now floods. I suspect the real-time access to news and social media has changed the face of how people are impacted by these natural disasters.
I’ve heard a few people comment that this must be God’s judgment on the people for their sins. A pastor got quite a bit of high profile media coverage for saying something along those lines. But I’m not willing to say that.
God Isn’t In the Storm
I’m reminded of 1 Kings 19:11-12 where Elijah is running from Jezebel after she puts a death warrant out for him. God shows Elijah that He is not in the wind, the earthquake and the fire. God is in the still small voice.
1 Kings 19:11-12 Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; 12 and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice. (emphasis added)
Though God isn’t in the storm…
He Sometimes Uses Them To Signal His Presence
Exodus 40:38 For the cloud of the Lord was above the tabernacle by day, and fire was over it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel, throughout all their journeys.
Zechariah 14:4-5 And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, Which faces Jerusalem on the east. And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two, from east to west, making a very large valley; half of the mountain shall move toward the north and half of it toward the south. Then you shall flee through My mountain valley, For the mountain valley shall reach to Azal. Yes, you shall flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Thus the Lord my God will come, and all the saints with You.
Acts 2:2-3 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. (emphasis added)
He Sometimes Sends Them
Genesis 6:1 -9:29 Noah and the Flood. Probably the most well known story of a flood destroying people and livestock and livelihoods. God told Noah to build an ark because He was bringing a great flood to destroy the earth and all the inhabitants (Ch6:17).
And behold, I Myself am bringing floodwaters on the earth, to destroy from under heaven all flesh in which is the breath of life; everything that is on the earth shall die.
Exodus 9:23-25 to get Pharaoh to release the children of Israel:
And Moses stretched out his rod toward heaven; and the Lord sent thunder and hail, and fire darted to the ground. And the Lord rained hail on the land of Egypt. So there was hail, and fire mingled with the hail, so very heavy that there was none like it in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation. And the hail struck throughout the whole land of Egypt, all that was in the field, both man and beast; and the hail struck every herb of the field and broke every tree of the field.
Joshua 10:11 to defeat Israel’s enemies:
And it happened, as they fled before Israel and were on the descent of Beth Horon, that the Lord cast down large hailstones from heaven on them as far as Azekah, and they died. There were more who died from the hailstones than the children of Israel killed with the sword.
Jonah 1:4 ultimately to thwart Jonah’s plan to disobey:
But the Lord sent out a great wind on the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship was about to be broken up.
Psalm 107:25-28 to get people to turn to Him
For He commands and raises the stormy wind, Which lifts up the waves of the sea. They mount up to the heavens, They go down again to the depths; Their soul melts because of trouble. They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, And are at their wits’ end. Then they cry out to the Lord in their trouble, And He brings them out of their distresses.
He Sometimes Stops Them
Mark 4:39 Then He (Jesus) arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. (emphasis added)
Matt 8:26 But He (Jesus) said to them, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. (emphasis added)
Psalm 65:7 You who still the noise of the seas, the noise of their waves, and the tumult of the peoples.
Psalm 89:9 You rule the raging of the sea; when its waves rise, You still them.
Psalm 107:29 He calms the storm, so that its waves are still.
Did you catch in the above Matthew and Mark verses that Jesus rebuked the storm? An important point about that to consider – Jesus only came to do the will of His Father (see John 5:30, 6:38 and Matthew 26:39). If God was in the storm, Jesus wouldn’t have rebuked the storm because it would have gone against His Father’s will.
He Always Uses Them for His Purpose
Referring to the above verses:
Exodus – God showed His power and might over Egypt and their false gods through the 10 plagues and got His people released from Pharaoh’s captivity (see Exodus 12:31).
Joshua- protected His children in battle (see Joshua 10:8-14 for the full battle description).
Jonah– the storm caused Jonah to be thrown overboard, where a big fish ultimately delivered him (after he repented) onto dry land, where Jonah preached to the people of Nineveh, where the people believed. (see Jonah 1:17 to 3:5)
Paul and the storm – Acts 27:1 – 28:11 Sailed in winter (Ch 27:12) and had to deal with stormy seas (contrary winds v4, tempestuous head wind v14). Paul was shipwrecked on island of Malta (v41, Ch28:1), which was inhabited by natives (v2, non-believers). Paul was there 3 months (v11) and many were healed (v9).
Throughout Paul’s whole ministry, his mission was to share the good news of Jesus Christ wherever he went. From reading Paul’s writings, he knew it was only the power of the Holy Spirit working through him that enabled him to heal people. Paul took no credit for this himself.
So, knowing Paul’s character, while it doesn’t specifically say in these passages that Paul told them of Jesus, and that they became believers, it is more than likely possible that some did after being healed or seeing others being healed.
God’s Desire Is Always the Same
He doesn’t always do things the same way every time. He is unpredictable in the way that He works, but His desire is always the same…That we would believe on His Son, Jesus Christ, and have eternal life.
Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
Where to Turn
This flood reminded me that we all experience many different kinds of loss: health, finances, people we love and who love us, and material possessions like our clothes, house, car and food. And the grief of multiple losses can ‘stack up’ over time, making it very hard to move on.
It’s ok to be angry at God, to question what’s going on. He created each and every one of us, He knows what we are thinking. Talk to Him. He’s a big God, He can handle it. But, in our darkest times, He will never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).
He Provides Rest for the Weary
Matthew 11:28-30 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
Psalm 37: 7 Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him; do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass.
Isaiah 40:28-31 Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, The Creator of the ends of the earth, Neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, And the young men shall utterly fall, But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.
He Is Our Refuge
Psalm 142:5 I cried out to You, O Lord: I said, “You are my refuge, My portion in the land of the living.
Psalm 9:9-10 The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, A refuge in times of trouble. And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; For You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.
Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
Jeremiah 16:19 O Lord, my strength and my fortress, My refuge in the day of affliction, The Gentiles shall come to You From the ends of the earth and say, “Surely our fathers have inherited lies, Worthlessness and unprofitable things.”
He Is Our Helper
John 14:16-21 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.
John 15:26-27 “But when the Helper comes, whom I (Jesus) shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me. And you also will bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning.”
John 16:7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you.
Do You Have This?
If you are a born again, child of God, all this is already available to you – all you have to do is ask for it.
Who is a born again, child of God? Anyone who has asked Jesus Christ to come and live in their heart. At that moment you are sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise. (Ephesians 1:13)
Maybe you gave your life to Christ once and then slipped back into your old way of living. Let me reassure you, it doesn’t matter how far away you’ve gotten from God, all it takes is one step back.
If you have never made Jesus Christ the Lord of your life, I encourage you to do that now. If you want to re-dedicate your life to Christ, I also encourage you to do that now. Say this little prayer, or something like it:
Father, I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. Father, I can’t do this on my own. I repent of my sins and ask Your Son, Jesus Christ to come and live in my heart, and be my Lord and Savior. Father, help me to live every day pleasing to you. In Jesus name. Amen.
If you’ve prayed this prayer for the very first time, I want to welcome you to the family! I pray that Holy Spirit will surround you with other believers, and that you find a good, Bible-based church where you can grow in your faith. Please feel free to let me know of your decision…I would love to hear from you!
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