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
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
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
Nothing will separate us. Nothing, nothing, nothing. The
Spirit of God dwells within you, therefore you have everything you need to take on the
All thanks and praise be to Jesus. And God’s people say Amen.