Recently, the Lord told a friend of mine “watch hurricane season, it will be erratic and destructive.” This has me thinking and praying, especially as I write this article from the beach on Grand Bahamas, an island ravaged by hurricanes. How are we to respond when storms come? How do we position ourselves as sons and daughters of the One who commands the storms? It’s best to examine the strength of our anchor and the fortitude of our foundation before the storm hits, otherwise things may come crashing down.
We all face storms; it is an inescapable part of life. Storms expose the quality of our foundation and test the strength of our anchor. If we are built upon the Rock, then the wind and the waves won’t matter.
Matthew 7:24-27 “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 feel with a great crash.”
About 15 years ago, a significant storm arose in my life. When the winds and rain began beating against me, I quickly discovered my foundation had cracks. Even though my house was built upon the Rock of Jesus, I had some serious cracks in my foundation. When our youngest son was diagnosed with kidney failure and failure to thrive at 10 months old, the cracks were exposed. We were hospitalized with him for 10 days and that began the long journey of medical treatments, surgeries, and life-style changes. We nearly lost him on two occasions.
The battle for Zachariah’s life shook me to my core. It seemed like my prayers were ineffective and I could no longer hear the voice of the Lord. I felt like Yahweh abandoned me in my greatest need. I went through a dark night of the soul. My boat was sinking. I questioned nearly everything about my faith, but thankfully, I never walked away from Jesus. I knew I desperately needed Him but I didn’t know how to function. I no longer trusted my ability to understand scripture, so I only read the Bible a handful of times in nearly two years. I was a mess. If I had not anchored myself, I surely would have sunk.
I found my anchor in the goodness of the Father. Psalm 27:13 “I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” Despite all the difficulties I was facing, my hope was grounded in the confidence that I would see the goodness of the Lord in my life. It was the one attribute of His character that I clung to. I had fallen into a pit, but thankfully there is no pit too deep that the long arm of the Lord cannot reach. In His abounding love for me, He reached in to the dark recesses of my wounded soul and rescued me.
I’ll never forget the moment the Holy Spirit interrupted my destructive train of thought and said “Will you just be thankful?” It stopped me in my tracks. My thoughts were filled with complaint. I was focusing on all that was going wrong in my life. In that moment when the Holy Spirit arrested my thoughts, I struggled to find something to be thankful for but I was driving, so I thanked the Lord for paved roads and gas in my car. This simple thank offering was the start of my turn around. I now have a heart filled with gratitude. To offer thanksgiving is as easy and natural as breathing.
When the storm is raging in your life, who do you turn to? How do you respond? Addictions, unhealthy relationships, suicidal thoughts are tempting in the storm but they are useless as anchors. An anchorless life is a shipwrecked life! I encourage you to anchor yourself in the One who commands the storms, Jesus - our living HOPE. Our soul thrives when we are anchored in the hope that we have in Christ. He is our peace. Peace isn’t the absence of storms; peace is confidence in the midst of the storms. Peace is knowing that the storm will not break you because you are anchored in Christ.
I am celebrating my 31st wedding anniversary in the Bahamas. As my husband and I were preparing for our trip, we checked the weather forecast. There was a tropical storm forming and everyday was forecasted to rain. I don’t mind rain, but I’ve been waiting four years for this trip and I was hoping for nice weather. So, we began to pray and I asked others to join us in prayer. The last time we were in the Grand Bahamas, was July 2019, one month before Hurricane Dorian devastated the island. The hurricane stalled for two days over Grand Bahamas. They had 30 feet of storm surge. Since then, when dark ominous clouds develop, it triggers memories of the trauma for some of the Bahamians. None of us wanted to see the tropical storm strengthen into a hurricane.
I’m an early riser. My favorite time on the beach is at dawn to watch the fullness of the sunrise. The sunrises have been spectacular.
Several days there were stormy skies in the morning which got me thinking about how Jesus postured himself in the storm - He slept.
Mark 4:37-40 “A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet. Be still.” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
It’s incredible to me that Jesus slept during a horrific storm. Was he completely exhausted? Was he a sound sleeper? How could he have been sleeping in a squall that nearly capsized the boat? Some of his disciples were expert sailors, if they thought they were going to drown, I can only imagine how intense the storm must have been. And yet, Jesus slept. He slept because the wind and the waves are of no concern to him. He commands them and they obey.
The morning I was pondering these things, I looked out onto the horizon and saw a storm headed straight towards me.
I began to ask Jesus to send the storm somewhere else. He responded “You command the storm.”
He repeated “You command the storm.” So, with slightly more faith than doubt, I commanded the storm to dissipate. And it did! I was surprised that with as much doubt as I had, the storm listened. The Holy Spirit said, “imagine what you could do if you had more faith?”
I never would have guessed that on my wedding anniversary trip to the Bahamas, the Holy Spirit was going to teach me how to command the storms. It was so unexpected. I love that the Holy Spirit is the teacher of all things (John 14:26). My favorite classroom is the one the Holy Spirit conducts.
The next morning and even bigger storm formed. It was twice the size of the first storm. It had lightning, thunder, dark clouds, wind, a tornado, and I could see the sheets of rain coming down over the waters.
I asked the Lord what he wanted me to do because I never want to operate in presumption. He said “command the storm.” I knew this storm was going to require more faith than the last. So, I got my Bible and began declaring scripture. I told the storm that I had authority because of Colossians 2:8-9 “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is head over every power and authority.” Jesus commands the storms and because I have the fullness of Christ within me, I can command the storm. I told the storm to split and go around me so that no rain would fall. The winds intensified as the storm approached the shore, but there I was, staring this storm down and continuing to declare scripture.
2 Corinthians 5:7 “For we live by faith, not by sight.” I chose to not pack up my things, which included a tablet and a phone that could have been drenched if the storm hit the beach. Packing up would have given room to doubt. And then it happened, I watched the storm split in half just as I had commanded it to!!
One side of the storm, with the sheets of rain, went to the east and one side to the west. No rain fell on the beach I was sitting on. I was astonished! I erupted in praise!
Psalm 29 “Ascribe to the Lord, you heavenly beings, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness. The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the Lord thunders over the mighty waters. The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is majestic. The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars of Lebanon. He makes Lebanon leap like a calf, Sirion like a young wild ox. The voice of the Lord strikes with flashes of lightning. The voice of the Lord shakes the desert; the Lord shakes the Desert of Kadesh. The voice of the Lord twists the oaks and strips the forests bare. And in his temple all cry, ‘Glory!’ The Lord sits enthroned over the flood; the Lord is enthroned as King forever. The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace.”
The Lord taught me an important lesson. No matter what storms may come our way, whether they be figurative or literal, He will strengthen us and give us peace. Some storms we are meant to weather because He demonstrates His faithfulness as our refuge in the storm. Other times, we are meant to command the storms. I encourage you, next time a storm comes your way, ask the Lord how He would have you respond. Are you to weather the storm anchored in Christ or are you to command the storm with the authority of Christ in you?
Written by Laura Sanger, Ph.D.