broken but not crushed

Helping each other live successfully and abundantly in the face of brokenness.

Location: Columbus, Central Ohio, United States

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

STORMS !!! part one

WOW!!! I am glad I don’t live just north and northeast of Columbus. Yesterday, in Mount Vernon and surrounding areas the storms came and left behind up to 6 inches of rain. In a little town called Jelloway the little creek in town rose six FEET in just a half hour. That puts new meaning to the term “flash flood”. The evening news showed herds of cows swimming for their lives, people being carried to safety, and lots of destruction.

I’m reminded of a story found in the Bible. Jesus and the disciples had just completed a really rough day of ministry – thousands of people and almost as many needs met – and they were really tired. In the PDV I can imagine Jesus saying, “Hey, guys, I’m bushed. Take us to the other side while I go catch 40 winks.” Then he went down to the forward cabin, climbed into the hammock, and fell fast asleep.

Then the storm came. The disciples were, by and large, experienced boatmen. Most of them were professional fishermen who spent the biggest part of every day on the water, so a storm was no big deal. But this storm was a big one. In some ways, it might have been THE big one if Jesus hadn’t been in the boat. Try as they might, they simply couldn’t make it right. They lightened the load, threw out the anchors, trimmed the sails and rowed for their lives, but the storm was bigger than they were and they honestly expected to die.

Most of you know the rest of the story. Peter woke Jesus who came on deck, told the storm to be quiet and it did, and then he scolded the disciples for their lack of faith. Amazing story of an amazing man.

But the part of the story that speaks to me is this: the disciples had done everything right! They obeyed to the letter every single thing Jesus told them to do. They sailed, rowed, and steered the boat right. They were in the right place at the right time, and they were going exactly where Jesus told them to go. They were completely surrendered to the ministry of Jesus, who they firmly and rightly believed was God’s Son. They hadn’t done anything to make God mad - and they had not sinned to take away the blessing of God on their lives.

But the storm still came. Oh, fellow travelers, it not only came, it came with a vengeance. This was a seriously life threatening storm. It came fast and hard and deadly – the boat was nearly swamped and these professional boatmen were at a loss as to how to save their own lives. I can imagine in the middle of taking care of boating business they were praying for their souls that they fully expected would be standing before the Almighty within the hour.

It’s at this moment the story becomes my own. I can’t think of anything I was doing wrong - I could recite the details but I’ll refrain. Instead I’ll just say this: the storm came anyhow. Just like the Bible story, in the middle of doing exactly what I still believe was the center of God’s will, the storm came that nearly took my life, and at the very least left me changed and broken – at least physically - forever.

And it is at this moment this story becomes yours. Some of you can’t think of a single reason why your storm came. The simple fact is that storms come. Storms are no respecter of persons. They don’t care if you are good or kind or faithful or even fruitful in your profession or ministry – storms just come. And sometimes they come in hard and fast and deadly.

And just like the storms in central Ohio yesterday, they often leave behind a path of destruction and devastation that takes a long time to clean up. In our lives, sometimes the storm leaves behind damage that will take the rest of our lives to clean up. And unfortunately, sometimes we will never get it done. Just like in New Orleans after Katrina, there is some devastation that will simply be left alone as a silent and permanent reminder of the storm.

Tomorrow we’ll discuss what we do next. But for today I want you to know that you can be doing everything right, you can be in the right place at the right time, you can be living in obedience to the Lord and every Divine command you can think of, and sometimes the storm will still come. We can try to do everything in our power to prepare for the storm, but most of the time they come in hard and fast and deadly - and there absolutely nothing we could have done to prevent the damage. And if you find yourself in that place, don’t allow anyone to try to turn you into a criminal or say you did something wrong or even worse, that God’s mad at you and it’s all your own fault …

… because sometimes, storms just come.

Know you are loved,


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