Sunday, October 2, 2011

Calm in the storm

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:28

Today Pastor Mark preached in the Book of Jonah, about how Jonah ran away from God and God came after him. Whoa, that was an eye opener! This God of ours is no wuss. How many times have I run away from God? At this point the count of my run-away episodes is just one less than the count of the times I’ve come back. Thankfully he is a forgiving God.

And how about the strategies I use to avoid God? I say I’m having issues with “organized religion” or that I’m too busy or I’m ignoring God because I’m angry with him. Or I get stuck in that flower child I’m-okay-you’re-okay version of faith, feeling that everyone has a valid point of view when it comes to truths about a higher power. The trouble with the I’m-okay-you’re-okay thing is that it keeps me swirling around in my own self-righteousness without any real convictions or accountability. And when trouble comes into my life—as it certainly does—and I’m only relying on myself, then I’m hanging on to thin air. Thin air doesn’t work well—I’ve tried it. I need God.

Consider what happened to Jonah. Jonah got cocky and ran in the opposite direction from God. Jonah thought he knew better. God had to send a whopper of a storm to get Jonah’s attention. And, as Pastor Mark said, God left no doubt about who is in control. God has sent me some whopper storms too and he finally got my attention. It is through storms and suffering that God reveals himself. If there were no troubles in my life, I would not have turned to him in desperation. If my self-sufficiency had been enough to survive life’s storms then I would not have learned the peace that comes through trust in God. God calms the storm.

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