The weather forecast called for snow, ice, and high winds. The parking lot at the grocery store was full. Inside people were scurrying everywhere with carts filled with essentials. Shelves were becoming bare. Meanwhile, phones were ringing off the hook at the generator supply company. We often wait to the last minute to prepare for weather related storms. We also often wait until it is too late to prepare for the storms of life. Please read more.
The story plays out the same year after year. When weather forecasters predict impending tornadoes, hurricanes, or winter storms, people realize their lack of preparedness. Suddenly, they snap into action. Often times it’s too late. At the last minute, when everyone finally reacts, the necessary supplies are hard to find. When panic buying starts, price gouging soon follows. Lines at the gas station become long and fuel runs out.
I grew up in Ohio near the shores of Lake Erie. People there were more accustomed to preparing for winter. For thirty-five years now, I have lived in the South. I have been in the Carolinas for the past 24 years. Here, winter storms seem to catch people by surprise. When a bad snow or ice storm is predicted, as was the case today, people scramble to get prepared. Perhaps this is just human nature.
Far too often, like the many motorists who were recently stranded for 24 hours on a Virginia interstate in a snowstorm, we are caught off guard. Life comes at us fast. Illness, death, and tragedy show up without warning. Is it possible to be prepared for the storms of life? Yes, it is, but we can’t wait to the last minute.
Throughout the Bible we are encouraged to be prepared for worldly tragedies, for the pains we will incur because of our sinfulness, for grief, for Christ’s second coming, for the persecutions that will come because of our faith and for our final judgement. Do we heed this advice?
Luke 21:36 states, “Be vigilant at all times and pray that you have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent and to stand before the Son of Man.”
Matthew 24:44 states, “So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.”
Most of us are familiar with the song lyrics, “No storm can shake my inmost calm while to that rock I’m clinging.” Of course, the rock is Jesus Christ. We see this played out when Jesus calms the storm that frightened His apostles. Mark 4:37-38 states, “A violent squall came up and waves were breaking over the boat, so that it was already filling up. Jesus was in the stern, asleep on a cushion. They woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”
Jesus responded to the apostles’ fear in Mark 4:39 as follows. “He woke up, rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Quiet! Be still!” The wind ceased and there was great calm.” We must realize that no matter how bad the storms of life may seem, Jesus has things under His sovereign control. He is always at our side.
In Matthew 25:1-13, we read the story of the ten virgins awaiting a bridegroom. Five of them came prepared. They brought enough oil for their lamps. The other five were unprepared and their oil ran out. Five were there when the bridegroom arrived. The other five were off buying oil and they missed the bridegroom’s arrival.
So how can we prepare in advance before troubles and strife, heartache and pain, come our way? Here are four key points:
- We need to learn to be calm, sit quietly and listen for the voice of God. It is His voice alone that calms the storms of life.
- We need to spend time every day studying God’s Holy Word. There is so much wisdom to be gained by learning and knowing Scripture.
- We need to place our trust in Jesus. Far too often we try to rely on our own ability to handle difficult circumstances. 1 Peter 5:7 states, “Cast all your worries upon him because he cares for you,” and Exodus 23:20 states, “See, I am sending an angel before you, to guard you on the way and bring you to the place I have prepared.”
- We must develop an active, ongoing, daily prayer life. We must pray during the calm seasons of life so as to be prepared for the day the storms comes. Matthew 7:24-25 tells us, “Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock.”
As I finish writing this message, outside the winds are gusting up to 50 mph, snow blankets the ground and now ice is pelting my windows. Our generator was recently serviced, and we have stored up adequate essentials to weather the storm. I feel safe and warm, but my trust is not in these physical items, it is in our Lord and Savior.
Heavenly Father, I have placed my trust in your Son. He is truly the only one who can calm the storms of life. Help me to always remain close to His side. Amen!
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