I love a good storm. I love watching the clouds roll in from a distance and seeing the lightning flashing, and waiting for the thunder to roll. I love seeing them build as they move closer, higher and higher. I love the pre-rain smell that fills the air when a thunderstorm gets near. And then they are here, and the air is filled with rain and lightning and thunder – a magnificent display of God’s power. It is one of the most awesome things in all of nature.
When I look at clouds, I think about the storms that can come into our lives. They come in all shapes and sizes and can affect us in so many different ways. Sometimes, we can see the storm directly ahead of us, heading our way, but we cannot see a different road to take:
As we listen to the voice of God in these situations, He may tell us to stay on the straight road, and not turn to the right or to the left. The Israelites were told this as they went through the desert (Num 20:7), or by Jesus in the New Testament (Matt 7:14). There are times that God knows the battle is before you and He wants you to have faith in Him to see you through. These times are precious because they really test our faith. Our inclination is to avoid the storm at all costs. It looks dangerous. But if we listen to God’s voice and trust in His strength to get us through, the blessing that is one the other side is well worth it.
Then there are times that storm looms over us. It is big, and ominous, and scary. The clouds surrounding the storm hide its intensity, but you can see danger in their formation. You do not know exactly what is going to happen, you just know this storm, this trial, is going to hit at any time:
You face it with courage and an unmoving faith in God, like a tree planted by the water (Psalm 1:3). A tree relies on the water for its sustenance and strength. It sends those roots down deep to gather the water and feed the rest of the tree. When it is close to the water. It does not worry where that supply will come from, and it will not be moved from that spot. We need to be like that tree, relying on God to give us the strength to go through the storm, not to avoid it. The storm is right there, ready to burst, and we praise Him regardless, because we know by faith He will see is through. He knows what the storm will bring, and He is more than able to help us get to the other side, where the blessings flow.
There are storms that make a lot of noise way off in the distance. They look like a danger, and we start to worry long before they get near us. And we hear the thunder rumble, and people tell us we are in for a battle when the storm gets here. The storm, or trial, looks frightening, and could be devastating when it arrives:
We are told not to fear, or worry about tomorrow (Matt 6:34). God holds all our tomorrows. Only He knows what the next hour will bring. The storm could dissipate and never reach you. I have watched thunder storms stop on a dime and give out. I have also seen them part and go around on all sides. We never know. So, when that storm is approaching, pray. Ask God to stop the storm, or to move the storm, that is coming toward your life. He stilled the waves and the wind (Mark 5:35-41), and He can calm your storm before it even gets to you. Just ask.
Then there are the storms of life that affect your friends, your family, your neighbors, and, yes, your enemies. They loom off in the distance and all you can see is the looming clouds. You are not sure who they are affecting, or what the intensity is, but you know there is a storm over their lives, ether because they told you, or you see the signs of a storms:
This is a time to pray. We are called to be intercessors (Ezek 22:30-31. Eph 6:18). This is the highest calling I believe. To be a prayer warrior for God is a blessing to so many people often those we do not know. If we are listening to the Spirit, He will tell us people who need prayer throughout our day. Do you ever have names pop in your head in the middle of the day? This is the Holy Spirt prompting you to pray for them. Never, ever doubt that. How should you pray? The bible tells us the Holy Spirit will give us the words as groanings that cannot be uttered (Rom 8:26). Allow God to work through you, and just open yourself up to pray. He will help you.
And on the other side of that storm is always a blessing. When we go through trials of faith, we grow in our walk with the Lord. We become stronger, ready to face bigger trials. But we also are ready to help others face theirs. We are more prepared to help someone else who is going through the same storm in their lives. These storms are meant for our growth, not out harm. But if we try to get through them on our own, they will probably cause harm. Either that or we will not make it through, and give up. If that happens, we will most likely have to face the same storm again. It is so important we rely on God’s strength to help us through. He will never fail us. And we will see the blessing when the storm passes.