What do you do when stormy weather comes into your life ?
In this poem I explore the idea of life becoming stormy within and without. How are we going to cope when life gets difficult and our emotions are thrown hither and thither by the things that have come into ours lives and disturbed the once gentle rhythm of our life? I believe the best answer is to turn to Jesus who made us and all things and knows what is the best plan for our lives.
When storms blow up,
What will you do?
Have you prepared.
Is everything battened down?
For storms will come
You may depend on it.
No life is without its tempest.
Life does not take place on a mill pond.
Whether it be a hurricane, tornado,
Or a gentle breeze that builds into a gale.
You need the Maker of the winds on board
In your little ship of life.
If He's sleeping on a cushion
On board your barque,
You will be fine.
You can forget your worries.
He may be asleep
But He is also in charge
You will be safe.
If you panic
You may wake him,
Or you may just trust.
So why did I write this poem about stormy weather?
One Sunday the Bible reading set for the day was the story of Jesus stilling the storm. It's in Mark's gospel chapter 4 v 35 -41. I am training to be a local preacher with the Methodist church in th UK. This was the story set of how Jesus and the disciples were crossing Lake Galilee in a boat. Jesus was tired and slept. Then a terrific storm blew up and the disciples were so frightened that they woke Jesus up and he made the storm abate. I then spent some time thinking about other storms in the lives of Bible characters and then in our lives today.
When I'm thinking of a service I often like to write a poem that encapsulates the thoughts involved. Sometimes it is difficult for someone in the congregation to grasp on to what is being said in the sermon, but they may find a poem easier to grasp, or it may remind them of what was said in the sermon. So usually I will write a poem for a service. I have also written for my possible audience on the internet, hoping that something I have written will reach out and touch someone who is struggling with life. Or reach out and challenge someone that their life is going the wrong way and they are heading for disaster.
"Stormy Weather" The Poem Explained
The opening stanza warns that "storms" are inevitable in this life, and warns us to make preparations for those times. Just as the captain of a ship at sea needs to prepare for stormy times and make sure his ship is ready for them, so we would be wise to prepare. However it is also most important to enjoy the good times and not live under a continuous sense of foreboding. Fear is a debilitating thing and we have been told to "Fear not" But sensible preparation is necessary to see us through the bad times. If we have our mind and soul set on doing God's will we can weather anything. When we realize that God is sovereign and in full control we know we are safe. What He wants for us is the best possible. Of course for him to be looking after us we have to ask him on board. If you have asked him aboard he may be very unobtrusive and you may not feel him to be with you, but if you have asked he is most definitely there and in complete control.
As you read the stories of people here on squidoo you have to see that storms do indeed come into many lives.
Looking at the second half of the poem we see that we need to trust the "maker of the winds" This is God Almighty and Jesus shows us that this is exactly who He is in the story in Mark's gospel. Those disciples didn't need to worry Jesus was completely in control even when He was asleep. He is in control of the path our lives take. We may be terrified but He has everything under control and will bring us through.
"You can forget you worries." I find it very helpful to say these words from the Lord's Prayer, "Your will be done." I find they take the panic out of every situation because His will is best. Even if we have to go through a painful illness, which of course, we hope we don't, even then He knows what is best, even when it seems to us that it cannot be for the best. If we are trusting Jesus even death is the gateway to victory and final complete healing.
Of course being human we will panic and wake him. He will not be angry with us and he will even allow us to vent our anger on him.
Lena Horne - Stormy Weather
Five in Stormy Weather
In my sermon I spoke about five people involved in storms. Job, Jonah, Paul, John Newton and Jesus and the disciples.
Job had a storm from the desert that killed his children by flattening the house they were in, but his real storm came after that as he puzzled over why he was suffering and why God had brought this upon him. At the beginning of the book of Job in the Bible we discover that all the angels go to see God, including Satan. God says to him " Have you seen my servant Job that he is a good man and worships me ?" Satan says,"That's only because you have given him so much. If you take it away he will curse you." god says that Satan is allowed to take everything away from Job but he must not touch Job himself. But later Satan is allowed to affect Job's health but he cannot take his life. so Job begins to suffer. His "friends" tell him he is suffering because of sin but Job knows that this is not true and eventually God says this too but also shows His power and majesty, and shows Job that he is just a small human being. After all the suffering God gives Job more children and wealth.
Job was not suffering because of sin, he was being an example of someone who trusted God through thick and thin. You may be in a storm like this. The Lord will bring you through.
Jonah and the whale
Do you know the story of Jonah. He was a prophet and God told him to go to the city of Nineveh and tell them to repent because their lives were bad. Jonah didn't want to go. He knew if they repented God would forgive them. He didn't want them to repent, he wanted them to be punished. So he decided to take a sea trip in the opposite direction. He was going the wrong way so God sent a storm to bring him back. The captain of the ship was really worried by the storm. He knew Jonah was a prophet so he went to ask him why the storm had brewed. Jonah was peacefully asleep down below. When the captain awoke him he freely admitted the storm was because of him. He told the captain to throw him overboard and all would be well. Reluctantly the captain did this. Jonah didn't drown instead he was swallowed by a whale and three days later the whale took him to dry land where he was spewed up. I rather wonder if the whale got beached. I hope not. After this lesson Jonah decided he had better do as he had been told, so he went to Nineveh. He preached to the people and they repented. He said," I told you so" and sulked. God told him he should have more pity for a big city full of adults and children. So Jonah had a storm because he was going the wrong way. Are you in a storm? Are you going the wrong way?
Paul made a habit of getting ship wrecked
At the end of the book of Acts you can find out about Paul getting ship wrecked. He was a prisoner being taken from Jerusalem to Rome. He had been in a court case and had done nothing wrong but during its course he had appealed to Caesar as was his right as a Roman citizen. It was all part of God's plan to get him to the heart of the Roman empire to spread the christian faith still further in the world. So Paul was going in the right direction, following God.
It was getting late in the year and they should have stayed on the island of Crete for the winter. Paul warned Julius the centurion that he Paul for saw great loss to the ship and cargo if they went on to continue the voyage at this time. The harbour was not the best to winter in and I expect they wondered what a traveling tent maker new about anything, so the majority decided to continue the voyage.
A gentle south wind began to blow and they thought all was well but very soon a hurricane began to blow. Soon the ship was battered by stormy weather and they had to throw out the cargo. The hurricane raged for two weeks and they all gave up hope of being saved, Paul then said,"You should have taken my advice. But do not lose heart not one of you will be lost, only the ship will be destroyed. Last night an angel told me not to be afraid because I will stand before Caesar. Also I will keep all the lives of you others on board safe. I have faith in God that this will happen." That indeed took some faith with the storm still raging.
After a while the sailors sensed they were near land and took soundings and found that the water was a hundred and twenty feet deep, then later ninety. Afraid they would be dashed against the rocks they dropped four anchors. They prayed for daylight. In an attempt to escape from the ship and leave the others behind the sailors put down the lifeboat. Paul said to the centurion that this must not be allowed to happen or the rest could not be saved. Paul was now looked up to as the man with authority. The soldiers cut the ropes and let the life boat fall away. Paul then urged everyone to have something to eat to give them strength. Paul took some bread and gave thanks to God and broke it and ate. This encouraged the others you then ate also.There were 276 on board.
When daylight came they could see a sandy beach. They ran the ship aground. The soldiers planned to kill the prisoners to stop them escaping. But Julius wanted to spare Paul's life and stopped them. He ordered those who could swim to jump overboard and swim for shore, the rest used planks of wood to get ashore. They discovered they were on Malta. What an amazing story. Read it in Acts 27. Paul was not going the wrong way but he was used to show many people that it is possible to be in touch with God even in great danger. You may be going through a rough storm as a christian to be an example of how God looks after us in these times. Take heart He will bring you through in triumph.
God's loud haler
Now we come out of the Bible times and into the 1700's to a sailor called John Newton. when John was a little child his gentle mother brought him up to know his Bible and the doctrines of the Christian faith. But sadly when he was seven she died. He grew up and became a sailor. He became bawdy, dissolute and blasphemous. Most of us would have been most embarrassed to be in his company. He lived like this for many years and became a slave trader. Later he was actually a slave of a slave in Africa. Eventually his father sent the captain of the Greyhound to rescue him. If ever there was a sinner it was John Newton.
The Greyhound was a dreadful old ship in very poor condition, all patched up with make do and mend. In the Atlantic a really bad storm blew up and knowing how unseaworthy the Greyhound was the crew were in fear of their lives. It was then that John began to think about himself and where he would go if he did not survive the storm. It was then that many things his mother had taught him began to come back to him and he realized that he needed the salvation that was in Jesus alone. And so an Atlantic storm had brought him to realize his frightening position before God because of his terrible way of living. He put his faith in Christ at this time and the Greyhound limped into port.He went on to later to become a vicar.
Sometimes God will use storms in our lives like a loud haler to get our attention, to draw us to himself. What better than to get close to God. It's worth going through a storm for that.
Life Is A Serious Business But We Need Some Light Relief Sometimes
Stormy Weather photos
The ruler of the sea
One day Jesus had been very busy teaching the people and healing them. Jesus was truly a human being and so by the end of the day He was very tired. He said to the disciples, "Let's take the boat across the lake. There are other places to visit." So they set off in good heart rowing over the calm sea of Galilee. Naturally Jesus lay down on a cushion and went to sleep. Galilee can be very deceptive and soon winds funneled down from the surrounding hills and a storm whipped up waves on the lake. Things became frightening as water began to get into the boat. At last they could cope alone no longer and they woke Jesus. He gave the winds a right telling off and they just died right down. The disciples were now even more terrified that Jesus had such power. This was one of those defining moments when they realized Jesus was not only fully human but also fully God. They were afraid to be in the presence of God.
We sometimes talk about Jesus as if He is our mate and although He is our friend He is also God Almighty. He is the Lord of creation and therefore had no problem stilling the storm. Do you have a storm in your life that you would like Him to still? Ask Him and He will.
Recently some of my American friends have experienced hurricane Irene. This caused much devastation both by the wind and flooding. We rightly fear storms like this, but what do they teach us. When a hurricane is coming you realise that your life is more precious than anything so you leave your precious home and most of your belongings and go to a safe haven. What can this teach us about our spiritual life when spiritual storms come our way. We discover what really matters to us. We realise that if we have Christ all is well, nothing else matters.
A physical storm makes us rethink our priorities. We may realise that many of our possessions are just so much clutter in our lives. My daughter recently moved from a furnished cottage to an unfurnished one. She needed furniture and I, with a little reluctance, let her have a small bookcase from my flat. My reluctance soon evaporated as I soon found other homes for the books and then discovered that I had a much roomier dining area. It was a win win situation for both of us.I have written a page about removing clutter, you find it below.
Often situations like a horrendous storm can turn out to be a blessing to us as it makes us realise what really matters in life. In the Bible we read." A man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions." It doesn't matter how much we own, one day we will have to leave it all behind. Knowing Jesus is the only worthwhile thing.
What you read in a book can sometimes help, especially if it's a Bible
About twelve years ago I found The road less traveled particularly helpful. I was very immature at the time and this book helped me to step out into life.