Meridian Star

May 10, 2014

Storms and suffering

By Ron Wood
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN — You can't help but be moved with alarm when you see a violent storm.

    They are scary! Or be touched with compassion when you see the tragic devastation a tornado can cause. Real people can suffer real pain. In those times, you will want to relieve the suffering as best you can.

    You also will want to plan ahead and have a shelter prepared in case a storm comes your way.

    The storms of life are real. Remember Jesus in the boat? A storm was about to sink the disciples. In their panic, they forgot who was already in the boat with them. The lesson is that everyone in this world will surely encounter trials and hardship, perhaps even suffer loss.

    Trials must be faced and endured ... even if God is with us.

    The deciding factor as to whether you will survive the storm in your life is not how much money you have, how popular you are, or even if you are smart. What about God's nearness? Storms cannot always be

avoided. The big issue is simply this: Who is in the boat with you?

    When you are caught on open water in a storm, what will you do? You can blame yourself, blame the boat, or blame the weatherman. You may be tempted to even blame God like the disciples did. "Why are you

sleeping? Can't you see that we are perishing?"

    Since we assume that everything bad in nature must be caused by God - insurance companies have a category for this ("an Act of God") such as a lightning strike - then doesn't that make the fault lie with Him? If

    God had been paying attention rather than sleeping, wouldn't he have stopped the storm? But I submit to you that our life would be next to worthless here on earth if there were not the possibility of storms.

    But we humans needed a lesson from the Master. Notice, he wasn't shaking with fear due to the storm. He had absolute confidence in the care and power of his Heavenly Father. As Jesus stood and spoke to the

storm, causing it to become calm, he also asked a critical diagnostic question of his disciples: Where is your faith?

    God made us in his image. He wants us to overcome our fears and rebuke the storms, using his authority that's dormant inside each Christian. Sometimes your growth in your eternal character and your knowledge of God can't happen in any other setting than in a storm.

    The storm reveals things previously unknown to us: first, Is God with us? And second, Where is our faith?

Ron Wood is a pastor, writer, and former resident of Meridian. Contact him by email at