A man visited our little church when I was a teen and the song he sang that day has stuck in my head. I can hear his gravely voice singing, “’Til the storm passes over, ‘til the thunder rolls no more … Hold me fast, let me stand- in the hollow of Thy hand. Keep me safe ’til the storm passes by.” Ted was not much of a singer, but I suppose it was his earnestness that made that old song so memorable for me. As he sang it, tears streamed down his face. Even though I was young, I knew that it more than a song to him. It was a desperate plea of his heart. Who knows what storm he was enduring?
Last night, as I waited for news from Florida where three of my four children live, the song looped in my mind, a prayer for their safety. Imagine my joy this morning when text messages announced that they are fine, their businesses intact! The hurricane moved several miles to the east, sparing their area from devastation.
Storms are part of life, aren’t they? And they do not not always come as wind or rain! Relationships become stormy, full of angry words and tempestuous emotions.
Health fails and we go through the storm of pain and sometimes even death.
Temptation comes, blowing over us.
Doubt and fear comes like a tornado, ripping at everything we thought to be secure.
And, we are not always brave, are we? Jesus’ disciples experienced a storm even as He slept in the back of their boat. The real danger brought acute terror. “As they sailed, he fell asleep. A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger. The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!” He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. “Where is your faith?” he asked his disciples. In fear and amazement they asked one another, “Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him.” (Luke 8:23-25, NIV) That storm story comforts me by reminding me that my Savior is the Lord of all the storms.
But, He does not always choose to calm the winds, does He?
Luke wrote of a storm that caught up another boat, this one carrying Paul to Rome for his trial. For days the storm raged, the ship driven by the winds, cargo jettisoned, sailors fearful. Finally, after two long weeks, the ship ran aground and the waves beat it to pieces on the shores of Malta. Paul survived the wreck. We might ask where the Lord was for him. Why did one storm hear the Lord’s voice and cease and another blow over one of His children for two weeks and destroy the ship? I wish I knew the answer!
The hurricane that shifted a few miles east last night, leaving West Palm Beach without serious damage, also caused several hundreds of people to die a day earlier in the Caribbean islands. It continues to blow along the coasts of Florida with catastrophic damages still possible. We tend to rush to judgment, forming quick opinions about the faith and/or prayers of those who are spared and those who suffer. Over two years that Bev and I lived in the tempest of her cancer that ultimately ended her life here on earth, my faith was battered. Why wasn’t she healed? Was my faith inadequate? Did we do something that caused the Lord to refuse our pleas? Those questions are not the right ones for people in storms. Our focus in not on ourselves, but on Him. Our faith does not rest on ‘’faith” but on His Person.
And we hold onto hope – that He is the Lord who delivers some of us from the storm and walks with others through it. Sometimes He speaks to the wind – Be still! – and sometimes He speaks to our heart- Be still!
Will we trust Him ‘til the storm passes over? The word from the Word is a story about the purposes of God. If you are looking for simple answers, it is not a story you will like. If you want a faith that rests solidly on the Person and Purpose of God, then read on and let your heart be comforted.
“Walking down the street, Jesus saw a man blind from birth.
His disciples asked, “Rabbi, who sinned: this man or his parents, causing him to be born blind?”
Jesus said, “You’re asking the wrong question. You’re looking for someone to blame. There is no such cause-effect here. Look instead for what God can do.
We need to be energetically at work for the One who sent me here, working while the sun shines. When night falls, the workday is over. For as long as I am in the world, there is plenty of light. I am the world’s Light.”
He said this and then spit in the dust, made a clay paste with the saliva, rubbed the paste on the blind man’s eyes, and said, “Go, wash at the Pool of Siloam” (Siloam means “Sent”). The man went and washed—and saw. Soon the town was buzzing.” (John 9:1-8, The Message)
“Look for what God can do!” For some, He stills the storm. And some, He leads through the storm. Lord, find us faithful, wherever You may lead. Amen.
‘Til the storm passes over
‘Til the thunder sounds no more
‘Til the clouds roll forever from the sky
Hold me fast let me stand
In the hollow of Thy hand
Keep me safe ’til the storm passes by
In the dark of the midnight
Have I oft hid my face
While the storms howl above me
And there’s no hiding place
‘Mid the crash of the thunder
Precious Lord hear my cry
Keep me safe ’til the storm passes by
Many times Satan whispered
There is no use to try
For there’s no end of sorrow
There’s no hope by and by
But I know Thou art with me
And tomorrow I’ll rise
Where the storms never darken the skies
When the long night has ended
And the storms come no more
Let me stand in Thy presence
On that bright peaceful shore
In that land where the tempest never comes
Lord may I dwell with Thee
When the storm passes by
Mosie Lister © 1973 Mosie Lister Songs (Admin. by Music Services, Inc.)
Southern Faith Songs (Admin. by Music Services, Inc.) CCLI License # 810055