A Storm, a place of fear, a place of despair, a place of anxiety…but, also a place of purpose and growth.
Have you ever been stuck in a storm? In the book of Acts, Paul and his men found themselves in a terrible storm where they didn’t see the stars or the sun for days. They went without food for days. Fear arouse within these men; they were losing courage.
Have you ever been in a storm of life? Or are you currently experiencing one right now? It could be in the form of a bad financial situation, a relationship break up, a divorce, the loss of your job, the loss of your child or your parent/s, a miscarriage, the loss of your house… whatever it was, it was the storm in your life. It was that season, that your days seemed hopeless as you saw no ray of sunshine; where your nights were cold and dim because there was no light to sparkle your dark place. Have you been there? I have, many a times. But for the first time I found myself in a natural storm; allow me to narrate my experience and then share what the Holy Spirit gave me after this adventurous but scary encounter I had.
It was a beautiful late afternoon, the children and I accompanied my husband for his afternoon jog. We drove slowly behind my husband as he jogged before us. It was Namibia’s rainy season. We were driving on a remote road amidst nature. The grass and trees were green. Birds were chirping. The sky was beautifully coloured with colours of sunset but also with beautiful misty blues as rain clouds floated in the air. It was a beautiful afternoon. The children and I blasted praise and worship music in the car as we drove through this beauty, and we praised the Lord as we journeyed behind my husband at a speed of 20kms per hour. At intervals, we would stop the car and dance as we praised the Lord; exalting the name of the Lord but also allowing my husband a head start from us. It was such fun, so liberating.
In the twinkle of a moment rain clouds started formulating into thunder clouds, and it started getting darker quickly. I suggested to my husband for us to turn around. So, he got into the car and thought of taking us to the point that he usually jogs to. Although not keen, I drove to that point and on the way back, it starts raining and within seconds it was completely dark and it was pouring! The children and I exclaiming that we should have just driven home and not driven ahead; much like what Paul exclaimed when the storm grew tough and he said “Men, you should have taken my advice not to sail from Crete, then you would have spared yourselves this damage and loss.” And so, by the grace of God, we reached home after an hour when it was really just a 20-minute drive. As soon as we reached home, I realized that we were anxious during the drive back home. Zenith, my youngest daughter remarks that the only reason why we were home safely is because she was praying the whole way. And then Zimkita, my eldest daughter remarks that she too was praying the whole way. And so, we all started sharing our feelings. It was interesting to say the least to hear the sound of the expression of the silence that occurred during the drive back home.
Prior to leaving the house, I was preparing dinner; so I had turned off the pots to go on this “quick drive and jog.” When we entered the house, I detected the smell of burning food – I opened the pot and realized that the gas stove, which I am still becoming accustomed too (as we recently moved into our new home) does not switch off at the switch like an electric stove, but actually needs the nob to be turned off aswell. So, the one pot had burnt completely black; and I could not help to think what sort of scenario we could have walked into if we had come home a little later..phewww..talk about God’s perfect timing.
After dinner, I went it to my prayer room to spend time with the Lord. I laid down on my chaise and gazed out of the window into the night sky; and the Holy Spirit says to me “let’s talk about the drive.” I said “ Drive, what drive?” And I responded that way, because I really did not know what drive the Holy Spirit was talking about, it could have not been the drive through the storm. But, it was exactly this that the Holy Spirit wanted to talk about. And He brought to my remembrance my thoughts and feelings as I drove through the storm and shared with me important life lessons:
- I could remember wanting to ask my husband if I can pull over to the side of the road just until the storm settles and then continue with the road.
- That is the mistake we make when going through a storm – we want to wait for the storm to pass before making the next move. Don’t hit the pause button! Don’t stay idle, don’t stop moving – DON’T STOP LIVING! You will never get to the promised land by being stationed and stagnant.
Wow! And from this point, it just started flowing. The Holy Spirit was just downloading:
- I remembered that when the lightning struck, for those few seconds of light I could see how far ahead the road was still straight or when it was going to take a curve, or whether I was still on the road! As frightening as the lightening was, it was a blessing.
- In the midst of your storm, critics will raise up, things may get worse, the situation may appear more dreadful, but those critics and those situations come to confirm that you are on your way and that indeed you are on the right path – just keep going!
- The Holy Spirit made me appreciate the presence of my family with me during the storm. I cannot imagine being alone during that drive. I really do not want to think about how much scarier it was going to be without my family.
- The Bible narrates that God graciously gave Paul lives of those who will sail with him. In others words, He graciously gave him people to sail with him through the storm. God graciously surrounds you with people during a storm that love, support and believe in you. Don’t push back the love, don’t disregard the encouragements! Don’t ignore the phone calls, the lunch requests. Isolation is the enemy’s best strategy in breeding loneliness and defeat.
- The appreciation of being in a closed and secure car came over me. The lights of the car was working, there was fuel in the car, the tyres were functional. If any of these elements failed, the journey would have not been pleasant, at all.
- God will always give you a vehicle to go through the storm. God will ensure that you have the necessary means, the tools and resources for the storm. He will make sure that you are protected. He will give you the means to go through the storm. And just like Paul encouraged his men “But now I urge you to keep your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed” God will ensure that you are covered and protected – that nothing will by no means harm.
- And the last point, which was my first point of reference: Before the storm, you will recall my energizing praise and worship experience with my children. Not knowing at all what awaits us less than 20 minutes away!
- Worship and Prayer is essential in your everyday life – why? Because you never know when you will be hit by the storm of life. No one knows when the day of calamity will confront you, so it is important to strengthen yourself in worship and pray, fortify yourself with the Word of God, strengthen your spirit man. Your faith will navigate you through the Storm. Keep your eyes on Jesus. Stay anchored in your Faith. Paul encouraged his men by saying “So keep your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me.”
In closing, you will notice that through the Storm, Paul was commanding his men to be courageous. He kept saying “keep your courage.” In the same way, no matter what your storm is right now, I can hear the Holy Spirit whisper to you “Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9). “The Lord your God is giving you rest” (Joshua 1:13).
Enter the rest of God concerning your Storm, this means exercise your Faith and believe in God – believe in His Word and promises. Believe that He will never leave you nor forsake you. Believe that He will cause all things to work together for your good. Believe that He is fighting for you. Believe that He has given you victory. Enter God’s Rest.
Yours in Faith,
Inspiration drawn from the Holy Spirit, taken from “The Family Drive”; Scripture reference Acts 27: The Storm (NIV version).