Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Till the Storm Passes By

"His way is in the whirlwind and the storm." (Nahum 1:3)

Does God care? If so, does He work all things together for my good? And if so, then exactly when and precisely how does He do this? What might I expect?

Will the gentle breeze of the Spirit refresh my wearied soul? Maybe. Maybe not. Will a fresh rain fall from heaven to replenish my barren heart? Maybe. Maybe not. Will a balmy sun shine softly on my chilled frame, renewing my vitality and strength? Maybe. Maybe not.

Often we expect the gentle breeze from the south, and are greeted instead with a howling storm from the north. We rebuke the winds, but they only increase. The wind blows, the rain falls, the waters rise -- and beat against our house.

Yet, when the storm passes -- and it surely will -- we find our house still standing even when others have fallen to pieces. It was right that we took the time to build upon the rock.

Have you ever wondered why the Lord works in such unexpected and disrupting ways? The prophet Nahum tells us, "His way is in the whirlwind and the storm." This helps us understand that when we ask the Lord to make us like Him -- sometimes it seems as though "all hell has broken loose" upon us.

Is this making any sense to anybody, or am I just going crazy?

Let's talk a minute about Niniveh, seat of the dreaded Assyrian Empire. Imagine how happy the people of Judah were when they heard: “Nineveh has fallen! The Assyrian empire is no more!” (cf. Nah 1:15)

Assyria was a ruthless enemy that practiced brutality on men, women, and children. Their armies destroyed and looted; they buried their enemies alive and even skinned them alive; they impaled people on sharp poles and left them to burn in the sun.

They were the ISIS of their day -- the scourge of the nations. Hated and feared by all. Many sought to win their favor and lenience by submitting themselves to their rule.
This is a graphic picture of how people become slaves to sin; how their lives take on the characteristics of those who have conquered them. But then Jesus enters into the story. And He unleashes the full measure of his just wrath against this great oppressive wickedness.

When Assyria was at the very peak of her power, and nobody ever imagined that mighty Nineveh would fall, God brought the empire down with one mighty Storm!
Perhaps the storm you are facing is not against you at all. It is the Lord's way of overthrowing the dark powers that have laid unjust claim to your life!

Isaiah the Prophet said, “O Lord, our God, other masters besides You have ruled over us, but we will acknowledge and mention Your name only. They [the former tyrant masters] are dead, they shall not live and reappear; they are powerless ghosts, they shall not rise and come back. Therefore You have visited and made an end of them and caused every memory of them [every trace of their supremacy] to perish. (Isa 26:13-14, The Amplified Bible)

Nahum gives three great promises to reassure Israel during the intensity f the storm. First, he says the Lord is good. “The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him’ (Na.1:7). When you are in the storm hold on to God’s goodness; remind yourself of His unfailing love, His steadfast faithfulness, His unswerving Mercy, and His never-ending abundant Grace. This will carry you through any storm!

Second, Nahum reassures the people that the Lord will not permit the affliction to repeat itself. “What do ye imagine against the LORD?” he asks. “He will make an utter end: affliction shall not rise up the second time.” (Na.1:9). What a great promise for those who are under the weight of a long, ongoing season of pain and suffering.  How kind of the Lord to reassure them that once He has done His work – affliction will not rise up the second time!

Third, Nahum once again reiterates the completeness of the Lord’s work in bringing an end to the oppressive work of the enemy; especially when it is done secretly, undercover, clandestine and undetected. The Lord sees; and it will turn on the light and bring and full end to the works of darkness! “This is what the LORD says to his people Israel: "Even though the Assyrians are strong and numerous, they will be destroyed and disappear. My people, I made you suffer, but I will not do it again.” (Na 1:12, the Good News Bible).

So, my dear friends, when the storm hits and all hell breaks loose – keep these three truths fixed firmly in your mind: God is good, the affliction will pass and not return, and the Lord will put an end to the oppressor and deliver His people from their suffering.
In a single sentence the mystery of the Storm is understood when viewed from the unique perspective that the Lord is overthrowing your enemy, and He is sitting up His kingdom in your heart!
Now, that’s Good News!

Till the Storm Passes By

Mosie Lister, beloved Gospel songwriter and member of the GMA Hall of Fame, wrote these words while in the midst of a great personal storm. Maybe you will find peace for your bombarded soul as you read these enduring lyrics….

“In the dark of the midnight, Have I oft hid my face; While the storm howls above me, And there's no hiding place; 'Mid the crash of the thunder, Precious Lord, hear my cry; "Keep me safe 'til the storm passes by."

'Til the storm passes over, 'Til the thunder sounds no more;
 'Til the clouds roll forever from the sky,
Hold me fast, let me stand, In the hollow of Thy hand;
 Keep me safe 'til the storm passes by.

Many times Satan whispers, "There is no need to try; For there's no end of sorrow,There's no hope by and by"; But I know Thou art with me, And tomorrow I'll rise; Where the storms never darken the skies.

When the long night has ended, And the storms come no more,
 Let me stand in Thy presence. On that bright, peaceful shore.
In that land where the tempest Never comes, Lord may I
Dwell with Thee when the storm passes by.

'Til the storm passes over, 'Til the thunder sounds no more;
 'Til the clouds roll forever from the sky,
Hold me fast, let me stand, In the hollow of Thy hand;
 Keep me safe 'til the storm passes by.