Sometimes we expect storms. We see them, dark on the horizon, and watch them build and brew with great concern in our hearts. But at other times, storms seem to slam into us out of the clear blue, with no warning at all.
Maybe your storm was a heart attack, a rebellious child or a pink slip at work. These kinds of storms can alter the landscape of our lives.
Much of life’s storms are uncertain, but one thing you know for sure is that you will experience them eventually. We can’t control whether storms will come into our lives; all we can control is how we respond to them.
Throughout the Gospels, Jesus calls His disciples to follow Him. In the original language, those words implied both the beginning and the ending of something.
The disciples’ choice to follow Jesus daily led them directly into a storm. It happened like this:
Jesus said to His disciples, “Let’s cross to the other side of the lake.” So, they got into a boat and started out. As they sailed across, Jesus settled down for a nap. But soon a fierce storm came down on the lake. The boat was filling with water, and they were in real danger.
The disciples went and woke Him up, shouting, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!”
When Jesus woke up, He rebuked the wind and the raging waves. The storm stopped and all was calm! Then he asked them, “Where is your faith?” (Luke 8:22-25).
This was a serious storm, so frightening that these seasoned sailors feared for their lives. In the original language the word used to describe it is also used to speak of an earthquake. One translation says that “high waves began to break into the boat until it was nearly full of water and about to sink” (Mark 4:37).
Yet, Jesus was asleep.
Does it ever seem to you as though God is asleep, or not paying attention to what’s going on in your life?
They cried out, “Lord, save us!” And I don’t think they whispered those words.
You will never offend God by raising your voice. Tell Him just how you’re feeling. He already knows!
“God, where are You?”
“Lord, I don’t get this.”
“Lord, I don’t like this.”
“Jesus, this doesn’t make any sense to me.”
Those expressions are perfectly legitimate. You can read prayers of even greater intensity in the book of Psalms.
Often, we feel the need to sanitize our prayers, dress them up or water them down. But God wants to hear you speak from the heart. He wants honest prayer, even if it’s shouted or cried out through tears. Even Jesus, hanging on the cross, said, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matt. 27:46).
Like the disciples, call out to God about your storm. Though the shrieking of the storm did not wake Jesus, the cry of His people did.
The disciples must have tried everything possible to escape that mess on their own. But after exhausting their efforts, they knew Jesus was their only hope. Sometimes, God lets us get to the very end of our rope, the end of ourselves, so that we might finally cry out to Him.
But what if you’ve turned your back on God before? Will He hear a person like that crying out to Him in desperation? Yes, He will. We might imagine God saying something like, “Forget it! You made your bed, and now you can lie in it.” But He’s not that kind of god.
In Psalm 91:14-15, the Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue them and honor them.”
Maybe you are in a storm right now, and it feels like God is asleep to your prayers. There are no easy answers to why God is allowing this, but strangely enough, God often brings surprise benefits to our lives in the midst of our hardships. It is in the difficult places of life, the dark valleys and the steep paths, where we discover truths we couldn’t learn anywhere else.
The secret to making it through life’s highs and lows is knowing that you are not alone and God will get you everything you face. That is the promise and hope. God is with you in everything no matter what. You can’t stop the storm. But you can reach for God’s hand and find it. Every time.
Greg Laurie is the pastor and founder of the Harvest churches in California and Hawaii and Harvest Crusades. He is an evangelist, best-selling author and movie producer. “Jesus Revolution,” a feature film about Laurie’s life from Lionsgate and Kingdom Story Company, releases in theaters February 24, 2023.