We all encounter the storms of life; difficulties, problems and crisis situations. Who do you go to during those storms of life? How do you respond in the bad times? These are important questions and reveal a lot about our relationship with and walk with God. One of the main stories we use in our Orality Training is the story of Jesus Calming the Storm, recorded in Mark Chapter 4. During that storm, the disciples went to Jesus and asked, “Rabbi / Master, don’t you care that we are about to die?” There are many people today asking similar questions, i.e. “Does God care about us and the troubles we face?” Well, the good news is that He not only cares, but has the ability to intervene and change our lives and circumstances.
Every Negative has a Positive
It is often in the most difficult times and in the darkest places that God intervenes in the most amazing ways. One of my mentors use to emphasize that every negative has a positive. Furthermore, the more negative the negative, the more positive the positive. It is a phenomenal way to live our lives with that perspective. A friend of mine use to have a saying, “When it’s good, it’s good, and when it’s bad, it’s good” because God is involved in our lives all the time. A life of victory is seeing God in all circumstances, and giving thanks in all things.
Character Building Experiences
It’s one thing to know these truths factually and biblically. However, when we experience those tragedies, crisis or dark times, God often does a deeper work in building real character in our lives. The storms of life are a time to reflect and meditate on the character of God. Years ago I heard a Bible teachers on the radio talk about these topics in the context of the purpose of suffering. He said that difficulties, suffering and hard times can be used to 1. Focus our faith, 2. Fashion our character, and, 3. Fit us for service.
Growth Happens in the Valleys, not the Mountain Tops
A professional counselor friend uses a picture of a mountain scene to illustrate a lesson about our walk with the Lord. He points to the picture and asks, “Where do you see the growth, on the mountain top, or in the valley?” It’s obvious that the growth takes place in the valley, not on the mountain.
Jesus Still Brings Calmness
In our Bible Storying // Orality Training Workshops participants learn the story of Jesus Calming the Storm. The responses to the questions about the storms (problems, difficulties and crisis) they have faced is very different in various parts of the world. Many have experienced genocide, armed conflict or terrorist attacks. Others may relate to health problems or financial crisis. We are always encouraged when the Holy Spirit reveals how Jesus can still bring calmness in our storms of life today. His Word still has power to change lives and circumstances.
A Story can Introduce the Gospel
The story of Jesus Calming the Storm is a great one to introduce the Gospel. We can ask, “How would you like to hear a story that can help you better deal with the problems, pressures and difficulties you encounter?” Then, with the appropriate questions and discussion, we can talk about the uniqueness of Jesus, how He cares for us, how He can still bring calmness into our lives. There are many other lessons that can be learned from that one short story.
Beauty from Ashes, Light out of Darkness
In 2017 Hurricane Harvey, the biggest storm in the history of the country, hit the Houston area. The way the Lord worked in that difficult time was historic. Even today we are still hearing stories and examples of how God used that storm to mobilize His people to meet the needs of so many who lost everything. Over and over throughout history, we have examples of how God turns a curse into a blessing, how He brings beauty out of ashes, light out of darkness and life out of death.
Going to Jesus in the Storms of Life
A lady in the Central African Republic heard the story of Jesus Calming the Storm for the first time. She heard it from another lady who had just learned the story in an LWI Orality Training Workshop. After hearing, reflecting on and discussing the story, she said, “I see that in this difficult time, the disciple went to Jesus first.” She went on to make the observation, “I see that, for me, I should be going to Jesus. So, from now on I will be going to Jesus, instead of the witch doctor.” I shared that with some local missionaries who were amazed and surprised that someone would receive that kind of understanding and application. It’s an example of how the Holy Spirit often gives insight and application when we share the truths of the Word of God.
We have Great Stories to Tell
We often remind ourselves that we don’t have to be great storytellers, because we have great stories to tell. When we communicate the truth of the Word of God we can trust that it will have impact. The Word of God has power to transform, to give comfort, and provide peace and assurance. There are many forms in which it can be communicated. However, ultimately, it is the Holy Spirit that communicates spiritual truth to the human spirit and produces lasting fruit with eternal results.
Jerry Wiles is President Emeritus of Living Water International and serves on the advisory council and leadership team of the International Orality Network. He can be reached at: [email protected].