Publication: One-to-One, Summer 2005
There is a peculiar, and not at all pleasant sound that the wind makes when it is trying to dismantle your house. The English language comes up a bit short when one is attempting to describe this sound. “Shriek” is one word that comes to mind. “Groan” is another. “Like the gnashing of teeth in hell,” is a phrase that also might be appropriate.
I have heard this sound. Our family heard it one stormy Spring night in Texas as a tornado passed overhead. And, we heard it again last Autumn as the terrors of Hurricane Ivan battered and tormented the Alabama and Florida “Emerald Coast” with winds topping 120 miles per hour.
Storms of one sort or another are a fact of life; it has always been so. Sometimes the storms are the winds and the rains; sometimes storms happen in our checkbooks and wallets; sometimes they hap pen in the doctor’s office or at the hospital; sometimes in our marriage and family life; and we may even wonder sometimes if the spiritual storms are actually a lot more difficult than the natural ones.
One of my favorite stories in the Bible is when Jesus was with His disciples in a boat; He was sleeping, they were rowing and watching big storm clouds roll in (see Mark 4 and Luke 8). The wind made a tell-tale whistle in their ears and the fine spray of mist from restless waves soon became bucketfuls of cold Galilee H20 sloshing over the bow and pooling ominously in the bottom of their vessel. As the boat began to fill with water the disciples panicked…but Jesus continued sleeping.
The terrorized disciples-many who were seasoned fishermen and boaters-rushed to wake Jesus and they cried out, “Don’t you care that we are perishing?” This speaks volumes about where they were in the storm. They asked, “Don’t you care?” We are much the same. We see the waves and feel the wind, and we began to wonder, not only if God is able to deal with our storms, but does He even care?
Jesus arose, rebuked the wind, and told the waves to settle down-and all of nature bowed before the Lord. The wind ceased its shouting and howling and was reduced to a whisper of awed worship. The waves laid down and the sea became like glass.
But Jesus was more concerned about a different kind of storm; the one that was raging in the disciples’ hearts and minds. He asked them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” Fear cannot exist where faith is present. The disciples were falling apart in the face of adversity because they had thrown out their faith: not only their faith in Jesus’ power, but in His love and care for them.
1 John 4 tells us that perfect love casts out fear. Because we have received His love and His call, we need not ever doubt His faithful care for us, even in the worst storms of life. The writer of Hebrews tells us in chapter 10 not to cast away our confidence, in which there is great reward, and that we are not “of those who draw back,” but we are of those who press ahead in God.
I was reminded of these truths as I read the articles contained in this issue of One-to-One, all of which point to opportunity in the midst of adversity. One of the best things we can discover in a storm is that God cares and that He will make a way-that we do have a future in Him. I pray you will be encouraged, as I am, by these articles and testimonies.
Please continue to remember CSM in your prayers and in your budget this Summer as we continue to proclaim the Gospel and equip believers in more than 70 nations worldwide. We were born for such a time as this! The opposition is strong, but the opportunities are great. The Lord over the wind and the waves is in the boat with us; don’t be afraid.
Scripture Reference: Mark 4; Luke 8; 1 John 4; Hebrews 10
STEPHEN SIMPSON is the Editor of One-to-One Magazine and the Director of CSM Publishing. In addition to publishing ministry, Stephen has served in leadership for churches and ministries in Costa Rica, Florida, Mississippi, Texas, and Michigan, as well as being the Senior Pastor of Covenant Church of Mobile (2004-2013). He continues to travel in ministry across North America and in other nations.