How to Weather the Storm

From the January 2013 Trumpet Print Edition

In sheer size and scope, a hurricane is the most devastating storm man can face. The combination of rain, wind and flooding over an extended period of time leaves a wake of large-scale destruction. Hurricane Sandy is a catastrophic example. Several million lost power, water and heat. With fuel shortages, transportation delays, destroyed homes, interruptions in work and battered cities, an estimated 50 million people over 24 states felt the effect of just this one storm.

Where was God in all of this? Couldn’t He have stopped the storm?

Violent storms aren’t a coincidence or an effect of man-made causes. God allows these storms. These so-called natural disasters are biblical. God prophesied these catastrophes in the Bible; He even warns us that they will increase. And He tells us why He is allowing them.

America has rejected God. You can read Hosea 1:9 and 4:6 to see what happens as a result. Because we have turned away from Him, God is removing the blessings and the protection that He once gave us (Hosea 2:8-9). He has revealed that the nation is so anti-God that it has passed the point of no return. You can read about this sobering judgment in our free booklet Lamentations: The Point of No Return.

But God does show us how we—individually—can weather the coming storms.

As He concluded His famous “sermon on the mount,” Jesus Christ talked about a violent, hurricane-like storm. He said anyone who heard His sayings and did them was like a wise man who built his house on a rock and could thus withstand a violent storm. But anyone who heard but didn’t do what Christ said was like a fool who built on sand, and whose house would be destroyed in the violent weather (Matthew 7:24-27).

No one escapes the storm, but those who hear Christ’s sayings and do them endure the devastation. The doers of God’s Word have their homes—their lives—built on a rock! (James 1:22-25).

How can we build our lives on that rock? Jesus showed us in that same sermon. “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:17-19).

How do we weather the coming storms? By obeying God’s law!

God’s law is a law of love (Romans 13:10). It consists of love toward God and love toward our fellow man (Matthew 22:35-40).

During His sermon, Jesus went into detail about the relationship we need with God. This is the relationship we were meant to have with our Creator. Christ taught that God is our Father and we are His children. He taught us to love and worship God, to exercise living faith, and to trust God for our needs no matter the physical conditions. He taught us that there can’t be anyone or anything more important than God in our lives. Doing so breaks God’s law of love, and we suffer when we allow that. When we sin, God can’t be near us, so when the rain and wind and flooding comes, we can’t hold up.

In that same message, Christ also taught us to love our neighbor. He taught that God’s law of love governs the human relationships we share. He explained how God’s law should govern not just our deeds and our words, but even our thoughts. What is the attitude and intent in our relationships? Do we want to help others or hurt them? Do we want to give or take? Are we treating others the way we would want to be treated? Do we see their needs and seek to fulfill those needs? (Matthew 25:32-45). Are we willing to sacrifice to help others?

These are God’s laws of love, and these are the words God expects us to live by (Matthew 4:4). When we choose to do these words—to love God and to love our neighbor—then the structure of our lives is strengthened, and our footing is secure.

God’s laws are unchangeable and eternal, and they lead to a happy, prosperous life even in a world of turmoil and devastation. Hurricane Sandy and the continued suffering shows us how much we need God, and how much we need His law of love to guide us (Psalm 119:105).

“As the whirlwind passeth, so is the wicked no more: but the righteous is an everlasting foundation” (Proverbs 10:25). Those who reject God’s laws can’t endure the storm. But the righteous, those who build their lives on God’s law, don’t just have an everlasting foundation: They are an everlasting foundation! By being doers of the word, the righteous become a foundation that God will build on forever!

Greater storms are coming. Not all will be literal storms. But the rains, the winds and the floods will come. How important it is that we build our lives on God’s law and be an everlasting foundation.