Following Hurricane Michael many people in the Florida Panhandle, found themselves homeless, jobless, afraid, alone, emotionally wrecked and hopeless. Storms of life can leave people with similar experiences. Like disaster relief organizations are to the people in a physical storm, the church can provide immediate and long term help with recovery and rebuilding for those going through a storm of life. After the all the church is in the business of giving hope.
In Weathering the Storm, parts 1-3, we explored how to build our lives Jesus’ teachings like He said in Matthew 7:24-25, “The person who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like the wise man who built his house on the rock. When the streams rose and the winds beat against that house, it stood strong because its foundations where laid upon the rock.”
In today’s installment, I would like to discover the process to rebuild after the storm. A good place to look is the life of Job. If you have never read Job, let me encourage you to do it. It is a fascinating story. You might find it challenging. You may even get mad at God like Job’s wife. You see Job’s storm destroyed everything but his life. He lost his wealth, his livestock, his home, his children and his health. However, at the end of the story, we discover some amazing truths.
SPOILER ALERT – Job’s storm wasn’t about God throwing him under the bus; it was about God revealing Himself to Job. Job had obtained a level of religious righteousness, but God wanted a relationship. This reminds me of the rich young ruler in the Gospels. The young man was very religious but realized he was missing something and wanted to know what else he needed to experience eternal life. Jesus’ answer was give everything you value away and follow Me.
While the young man couldn’t make that choice, God sent a storm and made the decision for Job. This may seem harsh, but God was there in the storm to hold Job. Eventually God blessed him exponentially when Job discovered His love.
To expedite today’s post, let me zero end on the end of Job’s experience. After Job had lost everything but his life, after his wife told him to curse God and die, after his three friends told him to repent and be restored to God, Job let loose on God. Now God has big shoulders and listened to Job. This takes us to Job 38:1 where the Bible says, “Then the Lord spoke to Job out of the storm…” You will have to read Job 38-42 to find God’s answer to Job, but let me give you what stands out to me:
- Our Humanity – It is a lesson in humility. Clearly God’s ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts greater than our own. The reason many are drawn to religion is the potential for control. We desire to please God with our actions. Sorry, but we can not increase God’s love for us. After all, “For God so loved the world, He sent His one and only Son…” (John 3:16, emphasis added).
- God’s Sovereignty – It is a lesson in glory. What is impossible for us is possible for God. He told the waters of the ocean where to go and where to stop. He creates and controls everything. He spoke and out of nothingness all there is came into being. He engineered the world and its weather. “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made…” (Romans 1:20).
- Our Need – It is a lesson in dependence. We cannot provide for ourselves, let alone the wild beasts. In the USA, we so pride ourselves on our independence, we instill it into our children. But as I read scripture, the purpose of parenting is not to create independent or the opposite, co-dependent, children. The purpose is to raise up children who are dependent on God and interdependent on family and the community of believers (See Romans 12:5 & 14:8).
- God Faithfulness – It is a lesson in trust. In our broken nature we tend to want to control things, God in His perfect nature is completely trustworthy. He is our provider and protector. He provides all we need and stands between us and the enemy. John writes in 1 John 4:19, “We love because He first loved us.” Jesus didn’t die to create a religion. He died to reconcile our relationship.
Finally, what is the process for Rebuilding After the Storm? To honor space and time, let me give you an overview to work through:
- REPENT – While we all have plenty of sin to confess, biblical repentance has more to do with changing our thinking. We let go of our opinions and embrace God’s truth. Our behavior follows. Job realized the errors in his thinking and repented. Then he confess his sin and sought forgiveness.
- RECEIVE GRACE – As Job’s storm subsided, his friends and family were quite generous to him. I had a young lady say to me, “I have been shown more grace since I was healed than when I was sick.” That was Job’s experience too. Now we are good a wanting to help others, but struggle with letting others help us. Receive the grace others extend. And DON’T miss out on the grace God is giving you!
- EXTEND GRACE – In the midst of your storm, many people mean well but say stupid things. Others are just mean. Some are just stupid. No matter what the case, extend grace and forgiveness.
- ENJOY GOD’S BLESSINGS – After the storm Job threw a party to celebrate God’s faithfulness. He had the pleasure of seeing his grandchildren to the fourth generation. And to top it off, he gave an equal share of the inheritance to each of his daughters. This is huge. Job is likely a predecessor to Abraham. And it shows that God’s standard has not changed. We may still have a way to go on valuing others, but God has always been there!
Remember God’s speaks from the storm. Listen. Don’t waste a storm without exploring your own humanity, God’s sovereignty, your need and His faithfulness. Repent | Receive Grace | Extend Grace | Enjoy God’s Blessings!