While I was in Australia awhile ago I had an amazing vision. I was just about to go to sleep when suddenly I saw a man in a boat in a storm. This was no Coast Guard Ship made for traversing Oceanic Storms. This was a small 12 to 14-foot aluminum boat that one might expect to see on a river in North America being used for casting lines into the water to fish.
The waves were merciless. They dominated the man and his boat. They were 30 to 40 feet high and they pounded all around him. There were also dark clouds and water was falling from the sky. It wasn’t the kind of storm that you wanted to be outside in.
As you can imagine when I saw this man I wanted to rescue him, but that is when I started to hear him screaming. He wasn’t calling for me to rescue him from the high seas. I heard him faintly at first, but then it grew louder, he was screaming, “This is my storm. Don’t rescue me from it. Leave me alone. I need this storm.”
Well to be truthful I was astounded by this man’s words. I have been next to the North Atlantic during crazy storms and everything inside of me would want to be rescued if I should happen to find myself there. But this man was crying out to be left, and not because he was suicidal. He didn’t believe that this storm was meant to destroy him, but he knew it was sent by God for a greater purpose. Yes, it was the Lord Himself that had sent this storm.
Many of us do not want to hear that God sends storms but He does. He sent a storm to Jonah when he was on the ship going to Tarshish. Jonah 1:4 says, “But the Lord sent 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.”
This passage in Jonah says that God sent the storm. Jonah was a man who didn’t want to be obedient to God. To direct Jonah into His will, God sent such a big storm that everyone knew that it was from the hand of God. To make things right Jonah was thrown overboard and the waves ceased. During that storm Jonah heard the voice of God and submitted to His will. He learned that the storm was not sent to destroy but to get his attention. He then committed his course to doing the will of God.
Matthew 14:22-27 recounts the story of Jesus walking on the water.
22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead of him to the other side, while he dispersed the crowds. 23 And after he sent the crowds away, he went up the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone. 24 Meanwhile the boat, already far from land, was taking a beating from the waves because the wind was against it. 25 As the night was ending, Jesus came to them walking on the sea. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the water they were terrified and said, “It’s a ghost!” and cried out with fear. 27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them: “Have courage! It is I. Do not be afraid.”
Jesus sends the disciples out onto the waters and a great storm begins while He is in the mountain praying to God. He takes his time to pray and then decides to walk onto the water in the middle of the storm to meet the disciples in the boat. They thought they were going to be destroyed but Jesus didn’t concern himself with this storm. He had power over it because he walked on it.
That storm came into the disciples paths to teach them about the nature of Christ. When we have His spirit inside of us we are more than conquerors. Storms may come but we will walk upon them when we see Jesus inside of them.
If you have not seen the hand of God during your storm, then it is time to seek Him more. God is there. He wants to direct you. He wants to give you peace. When the storm put your eyes on Jesus. He is the author and finisher of your faith. When your eyes are on Him the storm will look small.
What I loved about the vision that I had in Australia was that the man didn’t want to be rescued by a man. He was aware that the storm was sent by God to teach Him something. Are all storms from God? I wouldn’t think so, but I also think some storms are from God. God looks at our lives much differently than we do. He knows that storms will not destroy us even if they produce fear within us. He understands that storms direct people back to Him. He understands that the storm is sometimes the best tool to bring you to your knees in prayer seeking Him for direction.
Don’t be in a hurry to leave your storm. Don’t be in a hurry to find a way out. Ask God to help you and to show you the way. Ask Him to reveal His nature to you during your trials. God is good, and His mercy endures forever. Storms can be God’s hand of mercy on your life bringing you to the place of submission to His will. God’s understands that it is only in the place of His will that you are going to live the greatest life.
A momentary trouble may seem eternal, but it isn’t. God sees eternity. He sees that trouble produces the character of His presence in the lives of those He loves. Romans 5:3-5 says, “3 And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; 4 and perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”
Your trial your tribulation is producing is the character of Christ inside of you. Don’t hurry from the storm, but let it produce what God wants it to produce in your life. You will not be destroyed. That is a lie of the devil. In Christ you are eternal. You will suffer, and it may seem long but God’s grace inside of you is producing something far greater – a hope of Glory.
I declare that you are strong, even though you may feel weak. I declare that you are becoming like this man in the boat. Your joy shall be full even in the face of the greatest obstacles that come your way.
Dr. Darren Canning