What once seemed an unbelievable Hollywood movie is starting to look like our daily news. For every recognizable name like Tuscaloosa or Joplin there are a dozen (more?) outlying small towns we’ve never heard of that suffered under the might and power of destructive tornadoes. The heartbreaking stories never end. Lives lost, homes demolished, businesses gone. We know this terror.
What can be said to those who are stunned at what has befallen them? Great words of wisdom are lost as the heart is still deafened by the roar of the storms. How can there not be questions? The overwhelming immensity and power of these twisters leave us wondering where God’s provision and protection is. For every person who didn’t make it, the families are left behind to wonder.
Your sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house, when suddenly a mighty wind swept in from the desert and struck the four corners of the house. It collapsed on them and they are dead, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you! Job 1:18-19
The immense pain of the knock at the door with the news no parent wants to hear. All of them? None left behind to bear this burden with him? The other losses are now insignificant. A house? Crops? Nothing compared to the loss of his children. There are people today who are getting a knock at their door just like this. Job sunk into a deep grief that had his friends sitting silently with him for a time. But eventually the questions must come to the surface. For people of faith, these are not easy questions.
How then can I dispute with God? How can I find words to argue with him? … Even if I summoned him and he responded, I do not believe he would give me a hearing. He would crush me with a storm and multiply my wounds for no reason. He would not let me regain my breath but would overwhelm me with misery. If it is a matter of strength, he is mighty! And if it is a matter of justice, who will summon him? Even if I were innocent, my mouth would condemn me; if I were blameless, it would pronounce me guilty. Job 9:14-20
Whenever I feel the righteous indignation to question God’s ability, sense of Justice, and promises of protection I cannot help but glance in the mirror. Frail, faulty, intemperate, unable, and needy – not a good position from which to make my accusations.
Then the LORD answered Job out of the storm. He said: “Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge? Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me. “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand.” Job 38:1-4
Read the rest of the chapter if you like, but I’ll stop right there. If I admit that He is God, then I am admitting that the panoramic view of life that He sees is something I can never perceive. I also admit that this fact doesn’t answer all my questions. It doesn’t ease the pain of the heart. It doesn’t change the reality being lived out after loss. But it does call upon one to exercise faith. Whether you lost your home, a loved one, a business, a beloved possession … ultimately we realize THIS is why we needed faith. Faith is for such a time as this.
Don’t give up. Hang on. It doesn’t seem like it could ever be true, but your storm and loss isn’t the end of your story.
He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. They were glad when it grew calm, and he guided them to their desired haven. Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men. Psalm 107:29-31
There isn’t a storm so violent nor a loss so deep that God cannot still the storm.
Jesus got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. Luke 8:24
There is no promise of a storm-free life. But the One who speaks calmness into the violence of the storm is speaking into your heart now. He is patient. He is not going away. One day you will be surprised by peace. A peace that passes understanding.
Thanks for reading, John