The storms of life. We all have them—whether they are literal storms like hurricanes, or figurative storms like relationship difficulties, or health crises, or financial woes. The Bible warns us that the storms, the trials, will come. No one is exempt. But, it’s good to be reminded that God can use even our storms for good.

Lessons from the story of Jonah

As I’ve been pondering our journey through life’s storms, the Lord gave me some new insights recently through the story of Jonah.

“The LORD gave this message to Jonah son of Amittai: “Get up and go to the great city of Nineveh. Announce my judgment against it because I have seen how wicked its people are.

“But Jonah got up and went in the opposite direction to get away from the LORD. He went down to the port of Joppa, where he found a ship leaving for Tarshish. He bought a ticket and went on board, hoping to escape from the LORD by sailing to Tarshish.” (Jonah 1:1-3)

How often do I run the other way, in my rebellion, trying to escape from the Lord? I know that I’m ultimately always going to end up having to go in the direction that He wants me to go, but so often I delay being obedient because of fear or anger.

“But the LORD hurled a powerful wind over the sea, causing a violent storm that threatened to break the ship apart.” (Jonah 1:4)

Having survived a hurricane before, I imagine the storm that Jonah and the sailors faced was much like those we’ve experienced here in the United States.

“Fearing for their lives, the desperate sailors shouted to their gods for help and threw the cargo overboard to lighten the ship.

But all this time Jonah was sound asleep down in the hold. So the captain went down after him. “How can you sleep at a time like this?” he shouted. “Get up and pray to your god! Maybe he will pay attention to us and spare our lives.”

Then the crew cast lots to see which of them had offended the gods and caused the terrible storm. When they did this, the lots identified Jonah as the culprit. “Why has this awful storm come down on us?” they demanded. “Who are you? What is your line of work? What country are you from? What is your nationality?”

Jonah answered, “I am a Hebrew, and I worship the LORD, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the land.”

The sailors were terrified when they heard this, for he had already told them he was running away from the LORD. “Oh, why did you do it?” they groaned. And since the storm was getting worse all the time, they asked him, “What should we do to you to stop this storm?”

“Throw me into the sea,” Jonah said, “and it will become calm again. I know that this terrible storm is all my fault.”

Instead, the sailors rowed even harder to get the ship to the land. But the stormy sea was too violent for them, and they couldn’t make it. Then they cried out to the LORD, Jonah’s God. “O LORD,” they pleaded, “don’t make us die for this man’s sin. And don’t hold us responsible for his death. O LORD, you have sent this storm upon him for your own good reasons.”

God calms the storm

Then the sailors picked Jonah up and threw him into the raging sea. The storm stopped at once! The sailors were awestruck by the LORD’s great power, and they offered him a sacrifice and vowed to serve him.” (Jonah 1:5-16)

Much like the sailors in this story, when bad things happen, we are always so quick to look for someone to blame. But we live in a fallen world. When a bad storm like a hurricane hits, we’ll quickly see comments posted on social media saying it was God’s wrath on us because of our sins. Some have theorized it was the devil causing them. Others have hypothesized that the storms were due to global warming. Theories are always plentiful. Actually, only God knows the reason.

But whether it is physical storms like hurricanes or earthquakes or wildfires, or it’s the storms we are going through in life like health crises, or financial hardship, or relationship difficulties, the truth of the matter is that Jesus told us that we would face trials.

 

Jesus told us that in this life, we would face storms. But, He also encouraged us that we can take heart because He overcame the world. Read more for how God can use even the storms of life for our good.

 

We are always so quick to look for someone or something to blame. When we do that, it takes our eyes off God and it takes our eyes off looking to Him to be the solution for our storm. It wastes our energy.

That’s what the enemy wants. He wants us to waste our energy casting blame rather than looking to God to be our refuge.

Another thing that I found so interesting was that Jonah had already told the sailors that he was running from the Lord, yet they forgot that little piece of information. They threw all of their cargo overboard except their dice. They resorted to rolling dice to try to determine the reason for their hardship and who to blame. They weren’t looking to the one true God for their answer. They were looking to their false gods and coming up empty.

I wonder how often we do that.
How often do we look to the media for our answers?
How often do we look to books, preachers, or friends for our answers instead of going to the true source for our answers?

Jesus said our Christian walk wouldn’t be easy, and that we would face storms, but He said we can take heart because He has overcome it all.

The last thing that caught my attention was that at the very end of the story, it says that the sailors vowed to serve God! God used even their storm for good. What the enemy intends for harm, and for evil, God will use for good. And God will do that in our storms as well.

I don’t know what you are facing today, but I pray that this gives you hope that through your storm, whatever it is, that you will turn to the one true God and that through it God will use it for good! And when He does, I’d love to hear about it!

Because of Him,

#HopePrevails!

 

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Author, Shotgun Rider: Restoring Your Passion for the Ministry Trail

 

We all have storms in life—whether they are literal storms like hurricanes, or figurative storms like relationship difficulties, or health crises, or financial woes. But, do we face them as Jonah did in the Bible story by running from God or do we focus on Him and see how He can use the storm for good?

 

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