Wednesday, January 16, 2013

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Well, I did it again; managed to head right into a storm. Like the family vacation that got slammed by a hurricane. Yeah. The record rainstorm that swamped the airport when we took our daughter to college. Yeah. Oh, and the Halloween "Snowmageddon" I think they called it that we met me in Connecticut when we were there, and then Hurricane Sandy in New York.

Being a part of that "week like no other" in New York and New Jersey? Well, it ended up having God-marks all over it. Oh, it shut down some ministry opportunities, but it clearly opened up others. And, honestly, I got to see in the storm some lessons I think I'll carry with me for years to come.

Like that lady in a store who loudly and kind of Jersey-style brazenly blurted, "Ya know, I'm not a religious freak, but you gotta wonder if God's trying to make us stop and think." And I turned to her and I said, "Hey, let's go with that idea, ma'am. I think you're onto something there!"

You know, my definition of a storm has grown - because the storms that affect us most deeply are not on the Weather Channel. They're those deeply personal storms that come with things like a layoff at work, or bad news at the doctor's office, that crisis with your spouse or your child, the death that changes everything. So, a storm is "a life-altering event, beyond your control." Well, I've lived a few of those: In the surgery waiting room, the funeral home, the times with no money and no groceries, the near-deadly accident. One online news source had a day-after-storm one-word headline that said it all: "Powerless."

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "What The Storm Left Behind."

Now, the Bible talks about "lightning and hail, snow and clouds, stormy winds that do His bidding" (Psalm 148:8). And it reveals that "the Lord has His way in the whirlwind and the storm" (Nahum 1:3). I'm glad for verses like that. Because they tell me that beyond the mayhem and the pain of a storm, there's some meaning; there's some purpose. As hard as it is to see at the moment, storms serve God's higher purposes. I'm left feeling powerless so I can experience His power as never before, because suddenly there's no "me" to depend on. I meet God at the end of my rope.

Storms force us to reevaluate everything; get the things that really matter from the margins of our life and back to the middle. And they expose weaknesses in a levee or building materials or emergency systems, or in a marriage, a family, priorities, a superficial faith. The storm isn't meant to destroy those things. It's to get us to fix them while there's time.

And those "beyond my control" events birth some qualities that might not blossom any other way, like compassion, a tender heart for the hurting, patience and endurance. And sometimes, the fury of the storm blows away junk I've allowed in my life - sin, attitudes, and compromises that I would never face any other way.

During Hurricane Sandy, I read an amazingly timely description of another storm on the Sea of Galilee, and it spun the lives of Jesus' disciples "out of control." Well, their control anyway. A few phrases say it all: "It was dark...a strong wind was blowing...the waters grew rough." We've all lived that; if not physically, at least emotionally or spiritually, dark, wind blowing, waters rough.

But in their dark and dangerous moment, three little words changed everything - our word today from the Word of God in John 6 beginning in verse 17, "They saw Jesus." That's exactly when you do see Jesus coming to you. Saying to us as He said to them, "It is I; don't be afraid."

It's in those powerless moments that we realize, "I'm not enough. I can't do this." And we reach for the nail-pierced hand of the Man who took all the storm of all the judgment for my sin so I could go to His heaven. Jesus is the One who can finally calm that lifelong storm in your restless soul with His storm-proof peace. Because you're safe, no matter what the wind and waves may do. Yes, the storm is bigger than you are, but your Jesus is bigger than your storm!

You want to be sure you belong to Him - to the Lord of the storm? Would you visit our website at YoursForLife.net. There's life-changing news there!

            

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Ron Hutchcraft Ministries
P.O. Box 400
Harrison, AR 72602-0400

(870) 741-3300
(877) 741-1200 (toll-free)
(870) 741-3400 (fax)

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