As this year draws to a close, our country located in the Southeast region was devastated by two Hurricane storms. In the South and North Carolina states the people were impacted by Hurricane Florence. In the state of Florida in particularly the Florida panhandle area the people in that area were impacted by Hurricane Michael. Also, in 2017 we saw the news reports from CNN on how the city of Houston, Texas and the US territory of Puerto Rico were leveled by the Hurricane storms of Harvey and Maria. In each of these storms, we watch how each of these places did their best to prepare for these storms. They encouraged the people living to evaluate for their safety and to leave their homes and belongs which could not be taken behind. However, though many appeals were made by those in authority for residents to live their homes for their safety there was still a large percentage of stay behind hoping to ride the hurricane out. As the storms made landfall, the winds, rain and the eye of the storm destroyed homes and cause major power outages to those who had survived through category four or five storms.
The next morning after the storm residents of these areas impacted by the storms woke up to see their neighborhoods turned upside down, roads impassable and down power lines. The need for food, water, and medical supplies are slowly brought in by volunteers to those affected by storms. Men and women come from near and far to remove down trees and restore power so that the people in the affected area can have their daily lives restored as it once was before the storm. Several federal, state and non-profit organizations like the Red Cross and FEMA scramble to help people who no longer have a place to live and have to find them shelter in nearby hotels and vacation resorts. However, while all this is going on the news reporters all turn off their cameras and the ongoing hardship of people trying to recover are no longer reported as headlines by our major cable networks. Now three important things we must hold onto when we are recovering either from an actual or spiritual storm in our lives. The first important thing we must remember is no matter what our economic status, race, or education, we will all at some point go through a storm. The second important thing we must remember is that a storm will always reveal the foundation our lives are built upon. Finally, the third thing we must hold onto is knowing that our God is able to help us to recover from our storms.
Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall (Matthew 7:24-27).
We all go through storms
The first important thing we must remember is no matter what our economic status, race, or education, we will all at some point go through a storm. In the word of God, the word storm is reference seventeen times. In the Old Testament it is reference fifteen times and in the New Testament, it is reference two times. When the word storm is referenced in New Testament it is spoken about in the two synoptic gospels of Mark and Luke where a storm arose and Jesus spoke to it and said: “Peace, be still” (Mark 4:39). However, when the word storm is referenced in the Old Testament in most cases it is described as a force which causes things to be carried away. It also has the power to cause fear in the hearts of men and destroy the man-made things of this earth. The force of the storm can prevent the men and their operations from moving forward depending upon the direction the storm comes from. It does not matter if you are rich or poor, young or old or male or female. If you are educated or uneducated, we can all be impacted by a storm.
A storm in the life of a person rather they are saved or yet to be saved represents crisis we face in our lives. These storms can be a loss of a person job, a mother and father learn that their daughter is attracted to girls, or a wife learns that her husband has been killed. A storm can also be a woman being diagnosed with breast cancer and the overwhelming fear that she may not survive the progress of going through it. A storm can also be a Pastor has learned that his son has been arrested for bringing a gun to school because he was tired of all the kids bullying him and he felt that his cries of help went unheard. However, I here today to encourage you, my brother and sister, that Isaiah 25:4 says that “God is our refuge from the storm”. This scripture does not mean that God will just keep us from a storm but He is able to bring us through the darkest and coldest storm we go through. Our God is able to calm the storms that are around us and He is able to calm the storms that rage within us. Whatever storm you are facing rather it has been the deadly wildfire of California or a storm on a personal level, the Master is in the boat with you and He wants you to speak the word to your storm (Mark 4:37-39).
Who or What is your foundation?
The second important thing we must remember is that a storm will always reveal the foundation our lives are built upon. According to dictionary.com, the word foundation means “the natural or prepared ground or base on which a structure rests”. There are some people homes which were built will a very strong foundation while there are other occupant homes were the foundation is not strong. When a natural storm has come and impacted the homes in that area, the storm will reveal which homes could sustain the force of the rain, wind, and floods of the storm. What a foundation is made up will depend on if a family of five home can endure having minimal damage or not being destroyed completely. If a homeowner’s home was built upon the wrong foundation that structure may not possibly survive the storm due to having a large tree crash either through the windows or the roof of the home. However, if the foundation is built and right the home will not be moved off its foundation because of the rising flood waters overflow against it.
The question that I ask you my brother or my sister is who or what is the foundation of your life is established upon? Jesus told the multitude during the sermon of the mount that “everyone who hears his words and acts on them would be compared to a wise man who built his house on a rock” When the severe elements of the weather collided with the person house because the word of God was their foundation, their house which represents their life would not fall. However, Jesus also told the people that “the person who chose not to hear his words and not act upon would be compared to a foolish man”. When the severe elements of the weather collided with the person house because the word of God was not their foundation, their house which represents their life would not endure the storm. When our lives are built upon the wrong foundation such as this world system, the love of money and people we idolized, just winds of life will cause us to have a great fall. However, if our lives are built upon the right foundation such as our relationship with Jesus, the promises of God and who we are in the Kingdom of Heaven will help us to recover from the storm and not collapse (Matthew 7:24-27). This day my brother and sister make Jesus your firm foundation because everything else in this world is sinking sand.
Recovering from your storm
Finally, the third thing we must hold onto is knowing that our God is able to help us to recover from our storms. Back on October 29th, 2012 a Monday morning, Hurricane Katrina impacted the Long Island New York and Tri-state area. When the storm had passed the next day I remember going outside that were no cell service for our cell phones and thousands of people were without power. As the days followed people were without power and had little to no fuel for their generators and their vehicles. In other parts of Long Island where the flooding was the worst, the national guard was called in to block off the areas that were devastated which did not permit people to go back to their homes which had been destroyed by flood waters and the storm. To get gas for me and my wife vehicles, I had to wait in line for over two hours before making it to a gas station that had a line that was over three blocks long. It took over ten days before all power and light were restored in my neighborhood while other parts of Long Island had to wait over an entire month. There would be various landmarks, buildings and places in the city that it would take years to be rebuilt before it could be made available to the public again. However, over a period of time, all of Long Island and the tristate area of New York recovered from Hurricane Sandy.
You wake up to a new day my sister and your marriage on the brink of divorce. My brother, your grandson has been locked up in prison for eight years and the criminal system making it more evident that will never allow him to have his freedom. However, the Lord wants you to know my brother that the years that the enemy has stolen from him because his bad decisions, He is able to restore to him the vision and purpose He still has for him. In Joel 2:25 the word of God says that the Lord will “restore the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpillar, and the palmerworm have eaten from us”. The financial storm which has broken down all communication in your marriage my sister, the Lord can bring restoration to both your hearts but it requires submitting your marriage to Him. In Jeremiah 30:17 the word of God says “For I will restore health unto thee, and I will heal thee of thy wounds, saith the Lord”. Though the willingness to forgive someone can be instant, the repairing of trust between two people can only be done over time. Yes, storms can bring damage and loss in different parts of our lives, however, we still must always remember by the grace of God we can still recover from our storms.