Many will talk about why storms and crises occur. It is human nature (unfortunately) to point fingers at those who think and act differently than we do, and to even suppose it is because of their sins that tragedies occur. It’s human nature to want to know WHY something occurs, and I believe it is most likely so that we can keep it from happening again. That is pride; believing that we have some control over circumstances. Jesus told us that we would have troubles, but then He reminded us that He has already overcome the evil of the world. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
No matter the circumstances, God is always in charge and we are not. His hand never leaves us (Deut. 31:6). The storms in our lives get us out of our comfort zones. And when we are out of our comfort zones, we can look at our lives and what we are doing, giving us an opportunity to make better and more impactful changes for the world around us. “Sometimes it takes a painful experience to make us change our ways.” (Prov. 20:30 GN) While we cannot always choose what happens, we can always choose our response.
In the storms of your life, know that God allows them to occur for both the righteous and the unrighteous. “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Matt. 5:45b)
When our world is turned upside down, we remember that we need God’s help, both personally and in order to do His will, to “…walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; being strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy.” (Col. 1:10-11)
When we are in our normal hustle and bustle lives, it’s easy to focus on ourselves and our family and normal activities. I’ve watched so many in selfless acts of love come to aid of their neighbors, enemies and people they don’t even know–true disciples of Jesus. “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35)
As communities and individuals, we’ve been reminded of what is truly important. “life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” (Luke 12:15b) Relationships are what is truly important: first our relationship with God and then with others. In the parable of the rich fool (Luke 12:13-21) we are reminded not to store up possessions on earth, but instead to be rich with the Lord. We have the opportunity now to continue to be the hands and feet of Jesus — to share His love, His hope, and His peace with others. “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” (Galations 6:9-10) What will you do today to share the love, hope and peace of Jesus Christ with others?
I encourage you to listen to the following video of the sermon my pastor, Tim Liston, gave us on Sunday. What I shared above is based on the notes I took from this sermon.