A ROCK IN THE STORM

A ROCK IN THE STORM

Have you ever been in a storm where the rain is pouring and the lightning is crashing and the wind is howling so that you’re concerned for your safety?  We used to get storms like that in Georgia all summer long; sometimes we had to go in the basement during severe storms and sometimes the power went out.  (A basement is a room under your house for those from the west coast).  Maybe you’ve lived through storms like that.
You may even feel like you’re in a storm now, with prices skyrocketing (gas over $6 a gallon!), crime surging, the nation seemingly unstable, and dealing with your own personal challenges.  How can our faith help us?
Jesus told us we would have storms in life.  In fact, He concluded His famous Sermon on the Mount describing the storms that would come to us all, and how to survive them.
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.  The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.  But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.  The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”  Matthew 7:24-27
Notice that everyone faces the storms of life – whether you follow Jesus or not.  We are not spared from life’s storms.  But some homes survive and some fall apart… and what makes the difference?  Not whether we hear, know, or believe the Lord’s words – but whether we put them into practice. He gives us principles that, if followed, will protect us during the storms of life – whether political, social, medical, financial, or personal family storms. We will have stability, like a house with its foundation on the rock vs. one built on sand.
God has always been our source of strength during storms.  Psalm 46, a favorite of mine, begins:
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.  Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.”  Psalm 46:1-3
The refrain to this song sings twice:
“The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.”  Psalm 46:7,11
These words inspired Martin Luther to write the classic hymn, “A Mighty Fortress is our God.”
God is our fortress, and Jesus is our rock – even during the storms that shake us.  A life built upon putting their words into practice – reading them, hearing them, studying them, meditating on them, following them – is a life prepared for anything, even inconvenient and often unpleasant storms.  In fact, we can actually have peace during the storms.  In Philippians, a favorite letter worth re-reading, Paul writes:
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 4:6-7
Surviving the storms or falling apart… having peace or being wracked with anxiety… the choice is ours, but the best choice is to stay focused on the Lord and His Word, and to give Him our concerns in prayer – to live a life founded on the Rock.  Come worship, study, and pray with us!

Mike Openshaw, Senior Minister