Where did you experience God in the midst of the storm?

Where did you experience God in the midst of the storm?

Author: Pastor Chad
June 02, 2021

What storms have you experienced in your life? What storms have you experienced in your life? Whoa, that question unleashes a whole storm of thoughts and memories doesn’t it?! Can you name a few out loud? So many storms...

We have two Bible texts to dig into today, one from Psalm 29 (the voice of God in a great storm) and then Romans 8 (on life in the spirit). Both are very meaningful scriptures for us as we work out our faith lives in this world.

A second question... Where did you experience God in the midst of the storm? Psalm 29 asks for the Lord to give strength to the people and that the Lord would bless the people with peace. God’s strength and peace within those tumultuous moments is what we need. Even if we do not know it - it is what we need.

How did you make it through the storm? When you got back into port after riding the wind and waves – holes drilled in your boats – war torn and tattered – how did you make it through? Maybe a list of encouragers come to mind, a whole host of helpers, or a life force beyond you. Only God, only God.   

Yes the storms come, and the world rages. Where is God and how do we make it through?

I think the Apostle Paul in Romans 8 has something to say about this.

He says in verse 9, "the Spirit of God dwells within you."

Does that change how you think about your faith?  Discovering that God dwells within you?  So often we are focused on those biblical texts where God dwells out there somewhere – where God is buried deep within a mystery novel - where we are on this perpetual search to find God as if God is the ultimate champion of hide and go seek – searching searching searching and never finding like the Washington state Yeti. And yet, the Spirit of God Dwells within you! There is no wild goose chase to be had. God is ever present right where you are. This is Good News!

He says in verse 11, "the Spirit of God who raised Jesus from the dead will give life to your bodies."

Yes yes yes! God will give life to our bodies. That Spirit that moved over the waters at creation, the spirit that breathed into Adam and Eve in Genesis, that spirit that lifted the sick and lonely and lost out of their despair, the spirit that raised Jesus, yes it is that spirit that gives life to each of us. What a difference it would make to look upon each human being in the world as the indwelling of God. And if so… would we seek to take the life of another? To injure the other?

Killing the other is the killing of God. Injuring the other is the injuring of God. For that is where God is, and through it all, the same Spirit who raised Jesus raises you. It gives life, it does not take away. We have a God who gives and gives and gives - this is Good News!

Moving on in verse 15 and 16 it says, "You did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear….but a spirit of adoption as children of God pressing forward."

No falling back, but only falling forward into the arms of God. A pressing forward, a pressing onward, a pressing into. No fear as children of God. What a way to live!!!!!! 

The world is not all that it can be, and so we press on as the church equipped for God’s work in the world. What a difference it makes when we know who we are because of whose we are! We are children of God, and that is enough, and that is Good good news!

In verse 22, "the whole creation groans in labor pains…"

The whole – all of creation – groaning in great pain in the midst of the storms – and yet a beautiful delivery system of life and love. You are created to be a delivery system of life and love. I hope you know that. I want you to know that. 

This reminds me of Pete and Betty – they lived in Vancouver Washington – I was blessed to know them. Pete – a survivor of war time and his body wracked with cancer due to exposure to agent orange – Betty – a costume jewelry maker and televangelist. Let’s just say our conversations were full and robust. Some of the most sacred times shared on their patio in prayer – or at his bedside at the VA in Portland. He shared so many meaningful stories, but he also withheld many things. Stuff that only his soul would carry, his body and mind and heart and spirit absorbing the great cost of the world’s unspeakable wartime horrors. In his final chapters of life the groans of the labor pains still being heard, his ultimate hope being that he served as a delivery system of life and love.

Will you today say "yes yes yes" to being a delivery system of life and love?  When you do, it is good good news for you and the world.

In verse 24, "in hope we are saved…we hope in what we do not fully see…but we work for it..."

A young Russian woman named Olga, after being arrested and jailed for 2 years for speaking out against her countries persecution said, "I would do it again and again until some change started. They say doing the same things all the time and expecting a different result is the definition of madness. Perhaps hope is a manifestation of madness. But not doing what you believe in, just because someone around you thinks it's not meaningful, is only learned hopelessness. And it's better to be crazy in the eyes of the world than to be a creature without hope in your own eyes."

Jesus does not call us to a learned hopelessness. Where the storms swamp us and win out, no we remember, true hope does not disappoint. Why? Because the love of God has been poured into us through the Holy Spirit. God pouring out life and love and life and love and life and love into you. What a beautiful hope to hold onto. 

What hope do you hold within your eyes?  What hope are you working to birth into this world?  What hope will you carry until it is realized?

In verse 26, "the spirit helps us in our weakness…the spirit intercedes for us when we just don’t know what to pray….even with sighs too deep for words…"
In verse 35, "who will separate us from the love of Christ?  Will hardship, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril, or sword?"
In verse 38, "I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depths, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus."

Nothing will separate us. Nothing, nothing, nothing. The Spirit of God dwells within you, therefore you have everything you need to take on the great storms.

All thanks and praise be to Jesus. And God’s people say Amen.   


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