You see, the month of April has not been kind to the good folks here in east Tennessee over the last few years. Several severe storm fronts have passed through during this time of year. And in one particular year, 2011, after a fierce night of tornadoes and hailstorms, tens of thousands of houses and other buildings wound up getting new roofs.
For these reasons, the Jacksons have learned to respect April storms. We take customary precautions, such as bringing in our flag, securing loose items, checking the gutters, and similar items. We have decided that it is always better to be over-prepared than caught off guard.
I did not do all that well in basic Spanish class back in high school. But I do remember a few words. One of those is the word for storm: “tormenta”. That is an apt description of what storms so often do in our lives - they torment us.
On more than one occasion, the Disciples of Jesus were tormented by storms. The Gospel writers - Matthew (in 14:22-34), Mark (in 6:45-53), and John (in 6:15-21) - all relate the story of how the Disciples were caught in a storm out on the Sea of Galilee. While they were struggling fearfully, they looked up to see Jesus coming toward them, walking on top of the water. When He got into the boat with them, the wind ceased.
The other storm they faced is recorded by the Gospel writers Mark (in 4:35-41), Luke (in 8:22-25) and Matthew (in 8:23-27). In this episode, Jesus was already with them when the storm arose. However, He was blissfully sleeping in the bottom of the boat. Fearful for their lives, they awakened Jesus, whereupon He commanded the storm to be still, and it did!
The lessons one can learn from these two stories are myriad. But the essential truth is that we need not fear the storms of life; for even though they are inevitable, Jesus is with us and He has power over the storms of life whenever they arise.
I once heard a preacher point out that storms are a part of life. He made the point that everyone is either just coming out of a storm, in the midst of a storm, or else headed into a storm. I think he was spot on in this observation.
If you are facing a storm today, remember that it is important to do all you can to prepare. But in the end, if you are a follower of Jesus Christ, you will never have to face that storm alone. Four years ago, when tornado after tornado was literally touching down all around us, my family and I simply fell back on the most important thing we had going for us: we prayed and asked the Lord to be with us and to see us through that terrible night. He did just that.
At other times, the storms I have faced have been of a different nature. Some have been physical, some emotional, some relational, some financial, and some personal, to name but a few. Yet, no matter their nature, they have all been calmed by the power of an all-knowing, all-seeing, all-loving, and all-powerful God. Because of this, I know that whatever type of storm I may face in the future, He will be faithful to see me through that as well.
And what He has done for me and my family, He will also do for you and your family. As Moses told the people of God (in Deuteronomy 31:6) when they were on the verge of their struggle to possess the land of promise: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.” And that, my friend, is the best preparation for facing any storm that there can ever be.