Every New York station that you turned to had the same bold graphic, Blizzard of '96. It was barely '96; we were only six days in when anywhere between 20-30 inches of snow unloaded on our Metropolitan New York area. It was like a mega-ton snow bomb hit New York City, and it literally drove the Big Apple to its knees. This is a city that doesn't shut down for anything except this monster storm. The schools were closed for an almost unprecedented two days. City workers were told not to come in and bridges to the city were closed. Some of the busiest streets in the world were bare except for an occasional plow or emergency vehicle that went by. The trains couldn't make it because of snow choked tracks. Major sporting events were impossible. I've never seen New York like that. The city that never stops had been stopped.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft, and I want to have A Word With You today about "Stopped by a Storm."
Our word for today from the Word of God comes from Acts chapter 9. It's really from the life of a goal oriented high-achiever on his way to a major conquest. His name is Saul. This is a man, well sort of like New York, who couldn't be stopped. The brightest young religious leader of his time, but deeply angered by the heresy of the new followers of a man named Jesus Christ. He is on his way to eliminate the problem. The man who never stopped was stopped by a sudden storm you might say. Verse 3 begins by saying this, "As Saul neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, 'Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?' 'Who are you, Lord?' Saul asked. 'I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting' he replied."
Well suddenly this hard driver could drive no farther. He was knocked from his horse, he's down on the ground, he's unable to see - maybe you're kind of a Saul or a Saulina (whatever the female version is). You've been running full speed. You've gotten a lot done. You're competent, you're gifted, you're doing pretty well, and you're moving too fast to think about getting right with your Creator very much. Oh you got some religious credentials maybe but there's no doubt who's really God in your life - the one who's running it - that would be you. But suddenly there's been a heavy storm.
Maybe you've been hit with something medical or financial. Maybe your family is in a crisis or someone you love is gone or you found yourself out of work, out of money even out of hope. Sometimes a struggling son or daughter knocks us off our horse. Whatever the storm would you allow me to suggest why it might be happening. For the same reason it happened to Saul, so you would finally be able to hear the voice of Jesus. Jesus who created you. Jesus against whom we've rebelled as we've run our life our way, not His way. Jesus who is the only one who loved you enough to die for you. To pay the death penalty for sin that you deserved to pay. Jesus, the one who has been knocking gently on the door of your heart for a long time.
But you have always been on your way somewhere until now. And the storm has stopped you so you could meet your Savior. He's calling your name today just like He did Saul's. And He says, "I am Jesus." That day Saul surrendered his life to the Son of God. Maybe this day you will. Maybe it's time to say, "Lord, I've run it long enough. I need a Savior from my sin. I'm yours Jesus." This storm that seemed to be blowing you off course is really bringing you home.