by Ulysses Stephen King, Jr.
“There is in this world no such force as the force of a man determined to rise. The human soul cannot be chained.” — W. E. B. Du Bois (1868-1963), African-American sociologist, historian, civil rights activist, and founder of the N.A.A.C.P.
Storms Will Come
Even if everything is going great right now, I want you to remember to have faith in Jesus, because the storms will come. It only takes a split second for everything to change for everything to be flipped upside down. Maybe you lose your job, or a family member is in a serious accident, or a tornado rips apart your house—you can fill in your own personal storm experience—because the list goes on and on and on.
In Mark 4:35-41 the disciples of Jesus encountered a storm one evening while out on the lake. Probably tired from teaching the multitudes earlier (4:1), Jesus fell asleep in the stern of the boat. For the disciples it wasn’t a spiritual storm they were experiencing, but rather a physical storm. When they left the docks that evening, everything was fine. However it only took a split second for things to go horribly wrong. The winds picked up and the waves crashed over the boat, and the disciples were afraid. When the storms come they bring emotions of fear, anger, frustration, and uncertainty.
If we know that the storms will come, we have to ask ourselves the next question: How do we deal with these storms when they come? The first thing we need to do is to never give up. We need to take the storm that is plaguing our life for what it is, and that is a test or trial or temptation. We must remember to never give up!
The next thing we need to do to deal with the storms is to keep focused. It’s so easy when times are hard to lose our focus from the things that are really important or the tasks that we need to accomplish. And isn’t that how Satan usually traps and entangles us? He places other things in our life to break our focus and to make us lose sight of our goal. He is the great liar and deceiver! That’s why we need to keep focused.
The third and final thing we need to do in order to deal with the storms in our life is that we must remember! We must remember to have faith in Jesus! With faith in Jesus we can be assured that no matter how bad things get, the storm will not stick around forever—even though it may feel like it! And that leads me to my next point: Jesus will show up and calm the storms in your life.
Storms Don’t Last Forever
I don’t know about you, but I have never seen a storm that struck around forever. I know that when we have a lot of rain and it’s cold and miserable outside, it feels like the storm may last forever, but what eventually happens? The sun comes out, the temperature raises and the rain cease, and before we know it, the storm is over. We can always take hope in the fact, that no matter how bad things get, the storms will pass. And even if everything around you falls apart, He’ll give you the power and strength to rebuild again
Jesus’ disciples saw the same things. They thought that this storm may last forever, or at least long enough to put an end to them. But what do we see from the story? The Master of the Sea rise from His rest and calms the winds and the waves and the storm that they were so worried about is over.
And isn’t that the way it usually goes! When we realize that we can’t do it on our own, that’s when we ask for help. That’s when we start looking for Jesus. And why do we do that? We do that because we know that Jesus will always be there to calm the winds and the waves of our spiritual lives. He will always be there to strengthen and comfort us.
We’ll Build It Again
One of the best examples and expressions of this truth is found in the lived experiences of those who have witness or gone through a natural disaster like a hurricane, tornado, or earthquake.
I recently read an online newsletter article written by Bill Sanders for Habitat for Humanity (2013), “We Built It Before; We’ll Build It Again.” It’s about a family in northeast Texas who were caught in an EF-4 tornado with winds up to 200 mph. John Paul Zapata, his wife, Ruth, and three children escaped death and were saved by getting into their bathtub and covered themselves underneath two twin mattresses. They were fortunate and had enough time to find refuge. Others were not so fortunate.
The Zapata’s said they held on for dear life while they sang, “Dios Esta Aqui” (translation: “God Is Here”) in the bathtub. However, when the tornado hit, rational thinking blew away. “I think the tub was moving,” Ruth said. “I could feel air and water hitting us, pulling us. We all felt [the strong winds] wanted to take the mattresses off of us, but we were holding on so tight.”
Then she couldn’t hold the mattresses anymore. “I decided I couldn’t do nothing more,” she said. “I let go of my body, of my home, everything.” She turned it all over to God, she said.
“We worked so hard for this home and everything we had in it, but I was letting go,” she said. “A moment after the tornado stopped, we could breathe. I told my kids, ‘We can’t forget this. We were given a second chance to live.’”
The Zapata’s received word that her house was still standing, but with a huge hole in the back. Like many of their neighbors who helped build their own houses, the Zapata’s were eager to assess the damage and start rebuilding. “So many people are telling us now, ‘We built it before; we’ll build it again,’” Ruth said.
This is a story of the human spirit. One of the most powerful statements ever made by victims of natural disasters (and life in general) is, “We’ll build again” or “I can build again.” It is a declaration of the human spirit that says, “I refuse to allow my circumstances dictate my future.” The pain and loss of material things we value are important to us. Many of which may never be replaced; but neither can one’s life. However knowing you are alive and your family is alive means more than the stuff we lose.
One writer said, “Humanity is a race of survivors.” Paul said “we are more than conquerors!” (Romans 8:37). Believers have overcome so many tragedies, hardships, disappointments, failures, and discouragement in life. We will endure and we will overcome because of our faith in the One who is able to keep us from falling. Even when your faith is challenged and you feel all hope is gone, don’t give up! It’s not over! Friends will give up on you; others will lie and will rise up against you. And I want to encourage you: You will build again!