“Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass,” (1 Thessalonians 5:24 NASB).
If you’ve experienced the crashing waves of a winter storm pounding an Oregon beach, then consider the power you’ve witnessed whenever trouble strikes the world around you.
Those who have placed their trust in God can react to such crisis moments very differently from those who have not. The gods of this world offer nothing of real solace, either now or, more importantly, for eternity. Certainly, appropriate protective protocol and practices apply to believers, however, as a part of the society they share with unbelievers. Even so, believers can be tempted to follow the road of panic instead of prayer, turning to worry instead of the Word of God, and living in fear instead of by faith in God.
Sometimes it takes a catastrophe—one that directly affects us—to capture our attention enough to yank the covers off our relatively secure surroundings. Our environment seems generally insulated from a world that is free-falling into the abyss of spiritual and moral decay, and we often just stand back and watch indifferently as Scripture unfolds like the crashing waves of the Pacific. Who can possibly hold back such a powerful force?
“’Do you not fear Me?’ declares the LORD. ‘Do you not tremble in My presence? For I have placed the sand as a boundary for the sea, an eternal decree, so it cannot cross over it. Though the waves toss, yet they cannot prevail; Though they roar, yet they cannot cross over it,” (Jeremiah 5:22).
The world does not fear the Creator nor tremble in His presence—even when it’s rocking the world apart. But the real question for us to answer is, “Do we fear and respect God the way we should, as Scripture points out for us?” We as believers are not immune to disaster of any sort. Nor are we exempt from panic, worry and fear. Those are normal responses to abnormal challenges. Yet, consider answering Jesus’ 2,000-year-old question for yourself:
“Where is your faith?” (Luke 8:25a). Jesus posed this question to His disciples after having awoken from a deep sleep—not by the rising storm waves—swamping their boat, but by the frightened disciples fearing for their lives. Jesus didn’t panic. Rather, the passage tells us:
“He rebuked the wind and the surging waves, and they stopped, and it became calm,” (Luke 8:24).
Such a jaw-dropping display of Jesus’ power over the wind and waves shifted their chaotic fear of the situation toward a healthy, reverential fear for the Son of God, leading to their response, “Who then is this, that He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey Him?” (Luke 8:25b).
You may remember feeling the pain of a gale-force wind whipping against your face as you struggled to brace yourself against it, to keep it from pushing you backwards. Recall the awesome sights and sounds of white-capped waves surging toward you from a horizon arc seemingly taller than yourself, a massive wall of water overwhelming you merely by its sheer volume—relentlessly rolling in, smashing furiously against solid rocks holding firm. Yet, did you walk away from that frightful scene unscathed? Did the wind and waves eventually subside?
Sadly, not all survive the cataclysmic events of this world. Even worse, those who will spend eternity separated from God. Thus, the priority of this life is glorifying God and telling everybody we can about the saving power of Christ during these moments of heightened fears of physical death. And, better yet, telling them before such times arrive. Prepare for eternity, it will last much longer than the aftermath of empty store shelves.
As we turn to the Lord and His word, we can rediscover the calm it brings to our restless souls even amidst the storm waves swamping our lifeboat of faith. Storm waves can throw us overboard into a raging sea, where a sin-sickened world focuses on addressing temporal ills only… ignoring eternity in its wake.
1 Thessalonians, Chapter 5 offers calming truth for withstanding this and every crisis, and for encouraging other believers to share the reason for their hope with those who need God’s only remedy for sin. Apostle Paul, no stranger to calamity—including three times shipwrecked—penned those inspired words. Here’s a sample:
- “For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ”
- “…encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with all men.”
- “Rejoice always”
- “pray without ceasing”
- “in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
- “Do not quench the Spirit”
- “But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good”
- “abstain from every form of evil.”
- “Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.”
Although we cannot gather together physically as a body of believers at church for the present, we cannot be prevented from praying together through the Holy Spirit, whose power cannot be thwarted no matter the obstacles we face now or until the Lord returns or takes us home. God has set boundaries to hold back the oceans. Likewise, the Holy Spirit restrains the full force of evil in this world until God the Father says time has run out… not the world.
Therefore, let us brave the current storm waves that endanger us by awakening our faith in the Lord who doesn’t sleep at the right hand of God, who instead, is ready to calm our fears and strengthen our faith whenever we call upon His name for help.
The President has called for a National Day of Prayer in response to the current crisis we face together, as believers and unbelievers alike. That designated day has come and gone but prayer remains an ongoing resource . May the Holy Spirit so move and motivate us to impact those who need God’s salvation as their only true and lasting cure.
Help us Lord to pray beyond the moment’s crisis, for just as Christ can calm the storms of life, this too shall pass.
Alan Summers, GBC Elder
All Scripture quotations are from the New American Standard Bible (NASB).