I wrote this reflection on storms in September, 2004.
The Truth is the same this September, 2017. No one but God can calm the storms.
Often He speaks out of the middle of the whirlwind. No matter how fierce your storm is, be still and know that He alone is God.
It is September, 2004. Major hurricanes have been in the news for several weeks now. We are on our third major storm that has lashed out in fury at the beautiful islands of the Caribbean and the sun splashed cities and towns of Florida.
Lives have been lost. Lives have been shaken. Lives have been changed. Forever after, some lives will be defined as “before” the storms and “after” the storms.
Why are there storms? A friend asked this recently. I had no answer. I only remembered a time when there was a thunderstorm and I was brought to my knees by its awesome Power.
There was none like He Who was in charge of that storm. I stood in the window and looked for hours, not frightened, but in awe of His Majesty and Power.
When I was thinking about the questions and also my experience, I “chanced” (nothing is really chance) to read Job 37 in which Elihu, Job’s friend, speaks.
“My heart trembles at this. Listen.
Listen to the thunder of His Voice. It rolls across the heavens and His Lightening flashes out in every direction.
Afterwards comes the roaring of the thunder – the tremendous voice of His Majesty. His Voice is glorious in the thunder.
We cannot comprehend the greatness of His Power.
For He directs the snow, the showers and storm to fall upon the earth. Man’s work stops at such a time so that all men everywhere may recognize His Power. The wild animals hide in the rocks or in their dens.
From the south comes the rain; from the north, the cold. God blows upon the rivers, and even the wildest torrents freeze.
He loads the clouds with moisture and then sends forth the lightning. The lightning bolts are directed by His Hand and do whatever He commands throughout the earth.
He sends the storms as punishment or, in His loving kindness, to encourage.
Listen, oh Job, stop and consider the wonderful miracles of God.
Do you know how God controls all nature and causes the lightning to flash forth from the clouds?
Do you understand the balancing of the clouds with wonderful perfection and skill?
Do you know why you become warm when the south wind is blowing and everything is still?
Can you spread out the gigantic mirror of the skies as He does?
You who think you know so much, teach the rest of us how we should approach God. For we are too dull to know!
With your wisdom, would we then dare to approach Him? Well, does a man wish to be swallowed alive? For as we cannot look at the sun for its brightness when the winds have cleared away the clouds, neither can we gaze at the terrible majesty of God breaking forth upon us from heaven, clothed in dazzling splendor.
We cannot imagine the Power of the Almighty and yet He is so just and merciful that He does not destroy us. No wonder men everywhere fear Him! For He is not impressed by the world’s wisest men!”
Following this discourse by his friend, “Then the Lord answered Job from the whirlwind.”
Could it be that finally the Lord heard some truth from one of His earth people? Someone who had recognized that He, the Lord God Almighty is indeed Mighty? That He, the Lord God, is Author of the storm, Controller of the storm, Director of the storm, and the One Who decides when the storm is ended.
God did not speak to Job from the place of silence. No, He spoke to Job from the center of the storm … the whirlwind itself!
If I heard someone speaking French, I would not spend a lot of time pondering why they were speaking French. I would know that they were French and did not speak the same language I spoke. I would therefore concentrate, not on why they were speaking French, but rather on getting the meaning of what they were saying. Should it be any other way with God?
He is God. His Ways are not our ways. In some ways, He speaks a different language than mere humans. What is important is understanding what He is saying.
When storms come, whether they be weather events or life events, we should seek to understand what He is saying to us.
We should be still and know that He is God and we are not. We can be confident He will speak … and often, from the very center of the storm, not at its end.
What followed the introduction that God spoke to Job from the whirlwind was a long series of questions from God to Job, questions whose obvious answers put God squarely on the throne and Job on his knees in worship. At last, in the center of that storm, Job knew Who was God and who was not.
Job aptly stated the cry of one for whom the storm clouds have parted and revealed not only the message, but the Messenger Himself.
Job said, “I know that You can do anything and that no one can stop You. You ask who it is who has so foolishly denied Your Providence. It is I. I was talking about things I knew nothing about and did not understand, things far too wonderful for me.”
You said, “Listen and I will speak! Let me put the questions to you! See if you can answer them!”
But now I say, “I had heard about You before, but now I have seen You!”
We pray for the safety of all who are in the midst of storms. But we also pray that they may know The One Who is The Master of every storm … The One Who says, “Peace, be still!”