When storms come

Published 12:38 am Saturday, October 4, 2014

When rising waters caused by Hurricane Katrina broke through the levees in New Orleans, Franklin Avenue Baptist Church was flooded. For three weeks, some eight feet of water stood in the sanctuary, leaving behind a toxic mold.

About a year after Hurricane Katrina, I heard the Reverend Fred Luter, pastor of the church, preach a sermon titled “What To Do When The Storms Come.” He recounted how he and his wife sought shelter with their daughter in Birmingham.

“My faith was literally shaken,” Rev. Luter recalled watching television coverage of his hometown and seeing his church flooded. Then he shared a message from the life of Jesus that God used to bring him through his storm. In Mark 4:35-41, we read that Jesus and His disciples got into a boat one evening to cross the Sea of Galilee after Jesus said, “Let’s pass over to the other side.”

Then a great storm arose and waves beat into the ship. The disciples feared for their lives and woke Jesus, who was sleeping on a pillow in the stern, “Do You not care that we are perishing?” Jesus arose and spoke to the wind, “Peace, be still.” The wind ceased and a great calm came over the sea. Jesus asked them why they were so fearful and what had happened to their faith.

Rev. Luter reminded the congregation, “Storms come into everyone’s life, somewhere between the time you are born and the time you die.” It may not be a hurricane, but it could be a disease, divorce, debt, or death. Christians, sooner or later, will experience troubles, trials and tribulations; but never forget three things.

Remember the promises of Jesus. He’d told His disciples, “Let us pass over to the other side.” Jesus would get them to the other side, just as He said. He knew God’s plan for His life was not yet fulfilled. We can depend on the promises of God’s Word and that He will fulfill His plan for our lives.

Remember the presence of Jesus. While the storm was raging, Jesus was right there in the boat with the disciples. He didn’t walk on the water to the other side; He was in the same boat. Jesus will never leave us or forsake us, just like God was with Daniel when the lions had lockjaw or the three Hebrew boys in the fiery furnace.

Remember the power of Jesus. He rebuked the wind and waves and they ceased and there was a great calm. The same men, who left everything to follow Jesus by faith a few years before, wondered if He cared about them in the storm. The storm caused spiritual amnesia; but Jesus was taking care of their needs and everything was okay.

Rev. Luter concluded by telling how God reminded him Katrina was not the first storm God had brought him through. And if God could bring him through other storms of life, He could make it through this storm because He’s the same, yesterday, today, and forevermore.

Jan White is an award-winning columnist.