It seems that many people are feeling like their life is in the midst of a storm. I know many who are out of work, many who are fearful of the future, worried about the new president and a number of other concerns. For me I felt a storm hit when I had lost my job. In a matter of moments, I was caught up in a storm that rivaled the one Noah was in. The floodgates of heaven opened up and the rain poured down…at least in my mind. The past year has taught me new ways of surviving the storms of life.
This last year has allowed me to spend a whole bunch of time with Papa God. I have spent time on my knees crying out to the Father. Over the course of the year, I have gone through the ups and downs that comes from being a finalist in a job only to find out I am once again the bridesmaid. I am glad for the journey I have been on up to this point, because I am now in a place where I turn to the Father for comfort and for advice on how to deal with this storm. In seeking the embrace of The Father and looking for His help, I was taught some valuable lessons on weathering this storm. God used men like Noah and Paul to find some practical actions that I was able to take to help me through my storm.
Surprisingly, there are many storms highlighted in the bible. Over the next few posts, I will focus on the storm Paul goes through, and both Noah and Jonah. Today we will begin with Paul’s storm in Act 27.
Paul’s storm is most interesting to me because of the details it provides on what Paul and the crew did to actually survived the storm. It is also interesting to me because it was a storm they faced because of the decisions they made. Even though Paul warned them in
27:10 “Men, I can see that our voyage is going to be disastrous and bring great loss to ship and cargo and to our own lives also.”
You see, they were delayed in their travels so ended up being in the wrong part of the Mediterranean during hurricane season. No one listened to Paul’s advice. They took in all the available information and made the decision to proceed. Lets pick up the voyage at the point where the hurricane hits them.
13When a gentle south wind began to blow, they thought they had obtained what they wanted; so they weighed anchor and sailed along the shore of Crete. 14Before very long, a wind of hurricane force, called the “northeaster,” swept down from the island. 15The ship was caught by the storm and could not head into the wind; so we gave way to it and were driven along.
How many times do we feel like our lives are at the whim of wind and current when the storm first hits us? I can tell you when my boss told me that I was loosing my job, I felt completely a drift. I could hardly think. It was like my mind was in a fog. I don’t remember much of the conversation after those first couple of minutes. The realization that a storm is upon us can freeze us in our tracks. It is important thought, to keep moving. Don’t let the storm sink you before you even get a chance to get through it.
18We took such a violent battering from the storm that the next day they began to throw the cargo overboard. 19On the third day, they threw the ship’s tackle overboard with their own hands. 20When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days and the storm continued raging, we finally gave up all hope of being saved.
What sailors know is when a storm hits, one of the first things to do is to lighten the load. They began to throw the cargo overboard. They did the same thing in Jonah 1:5 when God brought a storm upon the ship that Jonah was on when he was running from God. All the sailors were afraid and each cried out to his own god. And they threw the cargo into the sea to lighten the ship.
In both of these instances, we are shown that we need to get rid of any excess baggage that will prevent us from weathering the storm. In Jonah’s and Paul’s case, it was cargo on the ship. For us, it might be letting go of our expectations, doubts, entitlements, or preconceived notions. In the case of job loss, it could be it could be getting rid of any unnecessary expenses so you can weather the loss of income.
I had to both lighten my emotional load and my financial load. The thoughts that went through my head and emotions that I felt, were certainly not from the Father. I wondered what I had done wrong or what I should have done differently. I wondered why I deserved this. I wondered what politics were being played. I kept replaying in my mind, what I could or should have done differently to have saved my job. All of these thoughts and emotions needed to be dealt with and thrown overboard. I had to put these thoughts out of my mind.
It was through crying out to God, that allowed me to get the thoughts and emotions out of my system. In Jonah’s storm, the crew were afraid and cried out to their gods. I believe the natural reaction during this time is to cry out to God, curse God, or turn your back on God. Some people may do all three. It is critical to cry out to God, immediately. In my situation, I was able to talk to my best friend, my wife. We called out to God and He helped me jettison the extra baggage. I got on my knees and we prayed. For me, I kept asking the Father to reveal the truth to me. I kept giving the thoughts of failure, fear, anger, disappointment over to God. I kept laying them down and picking them back up, until they finally stayed over board. In the first few hours of this storm, God gave me the courage to continue.
When you get into the storm, call out to God and get rid of the excess baggage that will prevent you from weathering it successfully. Tomorrow we will discuss what the next step should be.