August 2, 2021

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Well every once in a while, that remote in my hand will take me to an educational place on television. I remember one night that I saw something with a very curious title. It was about "good things hurricanes do." Yeah. Now, we've seen plenty of the bad things hurricanes do, I was intrigued to hear about the good ones. This feature told about these Australian pine trees that somehow had taken root in a place in Florida. It hosted attractive plants which attracted a lot of beautiful birds and small animals. And the pines grew and got tall (which is something I don't know much about personally!), but they created this canopy over the plants they got so tall, and that blocked out the sun. And what had been this thriving gorgeous plant and animal life area became a stretch of sterile underbrush...until the hurricane hit. The storm literally snapped those trees in two. And the sun is back. The area is now a beautiful park with pools, greenery, flowers, herons, and lots of interesting wildlife. But it took a hurricane.

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Good Thing About Bad Storms."

The storm blew in and removed what didn't belong there. I understand that. God has sent or allowed storms to come roaring into my life over the years, and they've often had that same effect. It's true in nature, it's true in our lives - what devastates can also be God's tool to cleanse, improve and beautify!

There's a picture of that in Acts 27, beginning with verse 14. It's our word for today from the Word of God. The Apostle Paul is being transported to Rome for trial on this large cargo ship that's carrying 276 passengers. They suddenly get hit by this massive storm system that batters them and threatens to destroy them, and that's going on for two weeks.

The Bible says, "A wind of hurricane force...swept down from the island. The ship was caught up by the storm...we were driven along...We took such a violent battering from the storm that the next day they began to throw the cargo overboard. On the third day, they threw the ship's tackle overboard with their own hands."

Eventually, Paul is visited by an angelic messenger. Here's how Paul reported that visit to his fellow passengers: "Keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed. Last night an angel of the God whose I am and whom I serve stood beside me and said, 'Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar, and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.'"

Storms clarify the things that really matter and the things that really don't. In this case, they threw overboard cargo that they thought they needed but they didn't really need. Maybe that's what God is trying to get you to do as the storm's battering you; set some new priorities, get rid of some cargo you've accumulated - even some sin you've taken on - your stuff that just needs to go. Just as God clarified for Paul what really mattered - his life mission and the people on the ship - it could be that God wants to use your personal hurricane to get you to focus on the things that really, really matter. The ship may not make it, but it's the people who matter anyway! Maybe people you've been neglecting because you've been all about the ship and you've been all about the cargo, you've been all about the voyage. And your life's mission is what matters - the things God has given you to do that also may have been marginalized recently. That, too - your mission - will survive the storm.

The hurricanes of God seem devastating sometimes and they hurt. But He also sends them to accomplish things that might not happen any other way...the cleansing that your life needs. The new priorities that your life needs. He's removing what's been blocking the sun. You know why? So something beautiful can grow there.