On March 1, 2007, a devastating tornado ravaged through Columbus, GA. The total tornado damage path was 10.3 miles long and was 300 yards wide at its widest point, and in that path was the campus of Calvary Ministries. This is one of a few days in my life that I will never forget. I can recall where I was and what I was doing that night and the days that followed.
Millions of dollars in damage on our campus were the result of this storm. Thankfully it was after school hours, but a small handful of school employees were in the buildings, and all of our eldercare residents were hunkered down. In His grace, no one on our campus was injured. We were amazed at how God kept hundreds of people on our campus safe.
In the aftermath, the physical storm left a wake of an emotional and spiritual storm. We were shaken as a church family at how close we were to a significant loss. Memories were shaken as buildings that once stood strong were demolished due to the heavy wind and water damage. Our faith was tested as we waited and watched God provide all of our needs during a multi-year rebuild.
On the other side of that storm, we stood strong and resilient. We were unified around a Sovereign God who provides, cares, and sustains. For you, there may be similar memories of picking up the broken pieces of a tornado. For most of us, there are memories of other emotional and spiritual storms were we have been shaken.
Acts 27 describes a devastating storm that Paul endured. For him and the 275 others on the ship, their storm was one that God allowed and also one that was endured due to the choice of the captain to set sail against the counsel of Paul. This reminds us that some storms we face are allowed by God, and even when we are doing everything right. These tests are opportunities for God to be praised and for our faith to grow. In fact, God encourages us in James 1 to consider these storms joyful.
Other storms we may experience are the consequence of our own poor choices. We serve a just and righteous God who will allow us to navigate a storm that reinforces Galatians 6:7. We will reap what we sow. If we walk down a path of selfishness in sin, we should not be surprised by the repeated storms that may result.
Regardless of the type of storm you are in, or how you found yourself in that storm, here are a few facts to consider:
- Storms are inevitable. No person is immune to the reality of living in a fallen world. We all are susceptible to disease, heartache, and pain. In those moments we must cling to Romans 8:35 that promises nothing can separate us from the love of God.
- Christ is our steady anchor. Hebrews 6:19 offers an encouraging description of God, in that He is our “Sure and Steady Anchor”. This hope will provide confidence and strength. I can think of nothing more stable to tie myself too in a storm than the Creator of the world.
It is not a question of if, but when you find yourself in a storm, look to Jesus. He is your hope. He is our confidence. He desires to use any and all circumstances to display His power and glory. In those storms, praise Him!
For our church, we look back on March of 2007 as a time of unity, celebration, and praise. At that moment it was frightening and filled with uncertainty, but God displayed His faithfulness. He was the same yesterday as He will be tomorrow. Let’s praise Him for who He is and for what He will do.
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