Points Covered: The prefect storm: Reasons for the storms, our reaction to the storm, and the result of the storm.
How many of you ever had a problem in life? The Bible says man’s life is a few days and yet full of trouble. We have storms in life. All of us we are either going into a storm or we are coming out of a storm or some of us are in a brief interlude between storms. Problems are a normal natural part of our life. We need to understand that storms come for a reason. So if you know why you ended up in that problem, then you can react properly to the storm, and move on in life.
1. Reasons for the storm.
Johan 1:11-12 11The sea was getting rougher and rougher. So they asked him, “What should we do to you to make the sea calm down for us?” 12“Pick me up and throw me into the sea,” he replied, “and it will become calm. I know that it is my fault that this great storm has come upon you.”
The people understood that there was a reason for the storm. Jonah 1:11 “What should we do to you to make the sea calm down for us?” Jonah understood there was a reason for the storm. Jonah 1:12 “I know that it is my fault that this great storm has come upon you.”
Storms always have a reason. There is always a root reason for every problem.
a. God tests us in a storm to strengthen us.
In the storm that you are in right now, all he is doing is strengthening you. He is trying to increase our faith. He tests our faith and strengthens us so that we can have more faith when something more difficult comes down our way.
b. Satan tests us in a storm to fail us.
There is a difference between what God is doing in our life and what the enemy is doing in our life. Satan is trying to test you, send trials in your life, so you will be defeated and fail, so that your testimony will no longer have any impact. Many times this is going on simultaneously where God tests us and Satan tests us.
Look at the life of job. Satan came to God and said, “Sure Job serves you. You have a hedge around him. You have blessed him. Anybody would serve you if you did to them what you have done to job.” And God allowed Satan to have him, just don’t take his life. Satan even told God, “Let me have him and I will get him to the point where he curse you.”
Now was God trying to do anything bad to job? God was trying to strengthen him and Satan was trying to fail him. But I will tell you this: Job stayed strong. Job lost everything that he had and when the dust settled in that story, God blessed him with more than he had before and his testimony was vibrant and God received glory.
Many times the storm in our life is there to strengthen us. It maybe there because our enemy is attacking us but if we will stay where we need to stay and be what we ought to be, God will use even those attacks to strengthen and bless and to do wonderful things for us.
c. God allows a storm to confirm us to his Son.
1 Peter 4:12-13 12Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.
James 1:2-3 2Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
d. Storms sometimes discipline us.
Sometimes the storms come for discipline. This was the real reason for Jonah’s storm. If the storm is chastisement, it may hand around for a while and it may be severe. But even the chastisement of God is not meant for anything in your life but ultimate victory. God is not trying to break you. Hebrews 12:6 Because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.
Revelation 3:19 Those whom I love, I rebuke and discipline.
He is trying to bring us to a place where we can be seen by not only around our heart but by anyone around us to be his. Ultimate victory is always God’s aim in our life.
e. Storms come because God loves us.
We look at the storm and say, “Why would God do such a thing to these poor sailors and to Jonah?” We forget God did not have to send this storm. He could have just allowed us to go our own way. Why did God do this to Jonah? Why didn’t God get some other man? Why didn’t God just go back and say to someone, “I need you to now go to Nineveh since Jonah don’t want to go.” It is not like God is out of resources, no one else to send. He did not have to send the storm. He could have easily found somebody else. Aren’t you glad that in your life God didn’t just move on to somebody else? Stop and realize how much God loves you and how much he desires to use you even if you purchase a ticket to Tarshish he still loves you.
When storms come I have heard people say, “Well God is just angry with me or such and such happened 30 years ago and now God is just getting even with me.” You don’t understand the heart of God. That thinking is not right.
Psalm 103:3-4 3Who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases,4who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion. I don’t care what storm you are in or how deep that hurt is or how difficult it is going to be to get out of it, God loves you.
We forget that God’s anger was all settled at Calvary. The anger God had toward me. The enmity that existed between me and God, the war that was ruling between us, God settled all that at Calvary, so he can give to me and to you his loving kindness and his tender mercies.
If you are in a storm this morning and you cannot find a way out and you are wondering, “Why is that heavy hand of God on you?” Will you please realize that it is not the heavy hand of God that is on you, it is the open hand of God extended to you. There is always a reason for the storm.
2. The reaction to the storm.
When we go through a storm, it is very important how we react. Many times we react the wrong way.
Wong reaction to the storm:
a. Fear. Jonah 1:5a All the sailors were afraid and each cried out to his own god.
b. Reason out. People most often try to reason out the problem and find solutions on how they can handle them. They did the same here. Jonah 1:5b And they threw the cargo into the sea to lighten the ship.
c. Want to die. Jonah 1:12 “Pick me up and throw me into the sea,” he replied. The enemy will do all he can to make you think to end your life. He will bring suicidal thoughts.
d. Work hard. Jonah 1:13 Instead, the men did their best to row back to land. But they could not, for the sea grew even wilder than before.
What was the crew’s first reaction? Well they worked harder. My goodness they really worked harder. They exerted so much energy to avoid this storm. The Word of God says they rowed hard. They tried their best to row back to land. That means they did everything they can. Now picture this, they are trying to get the ship closer to land and out of the big swells in the storm. There are on the rows, some are holding the foremast, some the mainmast, some at the bow, some at the stern. People are rowing. They are working as hard as they can and they are dropping that into the water and they are pulling as hard as they can and they lift and they dig back down into the water and pull as hard as they can and they are doing that again and again and again. I can see them sweating very much, I can see their muscles stressed to the limit, they are just stretched, and pouring with sweat, and the rough sea outside and the waves hitting them. They are doing everything they can do but did you read what the Word of God said, “but they could not and the sea grew wilder than before.”
Look at the storm. Jonah 1:11 The sea was getting rougher and rougher.
Jonah 1:13 For the sea grew even wilder than before.
People always say this, “Just do your best. Work hard, just keep trying your best.” Spiritually speaking there could not be a worse advice. We must realize that your best will never be good enough when we are in a storm.
e. No prayer. When you are in a storm the devil will do everything he can to stop you from praying. When everyone is praying our man is sleeping in the below deck. When everyone is working hard, this man is just relaxing.
f. Show mercy. Then there is something that I want you to see here. When Jonah said, “Pick me up and throw me into the sea and the sea will become calm.” The men hesitated to throw him into the sea. The whole crew showed Jonah great mercy and great compassion but the man of God is here without any mercy for the suffering of others. Sometimes when we go through storms, the devil will make us so hard that we don’t even have the mercy of the worldly people. Many people go around expecting mercy like Jonah. Then we accuse, we blame others and ruthlessly talk about everything else but ourselves.
The best I can do will never be enough. The secret to surviving the storm is not to try, not to look for mercy from people, not kill yourself, not reason out who is wrong or right. Here is it:
Right reaction to the storm: Surrender to God.
If you are going through a storm today better way to respond to the storm is to surrender yourself to God. Jonah 1:12 “Pick me up and throw me into the sea,” he replied, “and it will become calm. I know that it is my fault that this great storm has come upon you.”
I recognize the reason for the storm and I am going to react properly to the storm and my reaction to the storm is to die and I surrender to God.
Jonah 1:15 Then they took Jonah and threw him overboard, and the raging sea grew calm. I want you to notice it is an immediate thing. It did not take an hour or a day or a night. Immediately the storm ceased. We look at the miraculous nature of the storm and recognize that they feared greatly but there is something more miraculous in how the storm stopped. There was a sudden calm. When did it stop? In rebellion the clouds were heavy and dark, in rebellion the wind whipped, in rebellion the waves crashed over the side, in rebellion the lightening flashed, the thunder was frightening and the moment he surrendered there was peace.
When Jonah surrendered the sea laid down. More was accomplished in one moment of obedience than in hours of toil and hours of straining and hours of rowing trying to bring the ship to land. One moment of I surrender changed everything.
3. The result of the storm.
Jonah 1:15-16 15Then they took Jonah and threw him overboard, and the raging sea grew calm. 16At this the men greatly feared the Lord, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows to him.
a. The sea grew calm.
b. People fear the true God.
When we surrender to God, people who do not know God take note of God, maybe before they would have not noticed God at all. In Jonah 1:5 All the sailors were afraid and each cried out to his own God. But when Jonah is cast over the side there is a change. Now they cry unto Jehovah.
Jonah 1:14 Then they cried out to the Lord, “Please, Lord, do not let us die for taking this man’s life. Do not hold us accountable for killing an innocent man, for you, Lord, have done as you pleased.”
Jonah 1:16 At this the men greatly feared the Lord, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows to him.
Before they would cry to any God, they would cry out to anybody for help but now they focused on the Lord and they worship him.
c. People worship the true God.
d. People made vows to God.
Then they made vows to Jehovah. After Jonah realized his responsibilities they realized theirs.
e. God loved and rescued Jonah.
Jonah had resigned himself to death in the sea but God loved him. Johan 1:17 Now the Lord provided a huge fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.
You know God did not want to hurt Jonah, what he wanted to do is protect him. The belly of a fish is not a great place to be but it could be a great place to learn. Some of you have not been in the belly of the fish yet and I will tell you this. Your life will not be as effective and powerful until you spend a little bit of time in the belly of the fish. So many of us in this auditorium have been there and would not know victory today if we had not spent some time there.
What did Jonah do? Jonah God to Nineveh and he clenched his whole life closer to himself and said, No I am going to Joppa. Jonah go to Nineveh. No I am going to Tarshish. I am not going to do what you want me to do. I am going to live my life my way. It is my life to life, you cannot tell me. It is mine and in possessing his own life, he lost his life. He lost his joy, his freedom, his happiness. He lost his purpose. He lost his high calling but he found it in the storm. It was in the storm he realized I have gone too far. I have run from God. I have lost my joy. I have lost my purpose. I have lost the reason for living and it was in the storm where he said, “Just toss me over and there will be peace. I surrender. I give up. I die.”
So many of us wont’ let go of our life. Mark 8:35 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it.
Let me have my life, live the way I want because I know how to save my life. God says will you just open your life and give it to me, let me have it. And if you will, the result will be wonderful and the storm will end now and the calm and the peace will be yours now.
We serve a God that can solve your problems and I know people who are sitting here right now and you are thinking about the storm that you are in and saying, “Pastor, you don’t know the type of storm that I am in. my storm is different, my storm is worse. My storm is beyond any kind of help.” But you serve a God that is miraculous and you have forgotten that. You may think you cannot come back to God. You have too much to overcome. There is too much that you have to fix. Your time is running out.
There is a reason for the storm. How do you respond in the storm? How you respond tells the result of the storm. Let’s surrender to the one who controls the storm. Amen!