Every Monday night, a group called Young Lights comes over to my house. Young Lights is a movement that develops disciples who make disciples. We do this through intentional relationships. We hang out. We have fun. We ask hard questions. We challenge each other. We grow, together.
We are currently dissecting the book of Jonah and last night we were walking through chapter 1. Jonah is a prideful prophet who was called by the Word of God to go to Ninevah but rebelled. We were discussing what happens when we rebel against God’s call on our life.
Midway through, one of the guys, Ryan, asked a question that provoked a multitude of questions in our discussion. “When we get off track, what happens when God does not send a storm?”
It made me question my thinking. Does God actually send storms? The text seems crystal clear in the story of Jonah that the storm was derived from God. It does not simply say he sent it, it says, “The Lord hurled a great wind on the sea…” What does that mean, God hurled wind? How does one throw wind into motion?
The same wind that comes in the form of a gentle breeze across our face on a searing summer day also comes as a hurricane that wipes us off our feet. God holds the wind in his hand. He is in control of every storm. (Prov. 30:4 and Ps. 135:7)
Does that mean He sends every storm? It seems pretty obvious that God sent the storm to show His presence to Jonah and those around him. It also seemed pretty obvious that God sent the Flood in Noah’s time. But what about Job?
I’m getting to Ryan’s answer…keep reading.
We see in the early chapters of Job, that God and Satan are having a conversation. God allows Satan to send numerous storms into Job’s life. We can deduce from this that God does not only send storms, but he also allows them. Regardless if He sent it or allowed it, the truth still remains that God is in control. Satan still has to receive permission from God to send destruction.
If Satan has to receive permission to send chaos in attempt to distract God’s people, why does He still do it? The answer is the same reason that led to Lucifer’s fall. Pride.
It is the power of pride that distorts reality. Vision is blurred. It leads us astray from Truth. Why? Because it tells us that there is no God. It tells us that we can do it without God. It lies. Pride deceives.
Back to Ryan’s question. What happens when we lose our way and are misled? What happens if there is no storm to redirect us? The answer is in the fire.
Recall the story of the Burning Bush in Exodus 3. God appears to Moses as a blazing fire in a bush. Our God is a consuming fire (Deut. 4:24 and Hebrews 12:29). He sometimes appears as destruction. God can show up anywhere in any form. He does not live in a box. God obliterates all boxes in pursuit of us! He will do what it takes to get His people back. We can not allow pride to blind us to God’s presence.
If pride does blind us from Truth, which it does, then we are blind to see the Fire. Pride in Jonah’s life numbed his senses; it put him to sleep in the midst of the storm.
Sometimes we see the storm He puts or allows in our life, but we see it us a punishment instead of a pursuit. It is our pride that blinds us to see God’s pursuit of us. When God sends storms, He is not seeking pay back; He is seeking us back! Storms are a form of God’s grace. Grace sometimes looks like a sinking ship and a big fish. God is omnipresent.
We can run from God’s Word, but it is impossible for us to run from God’s presence. Psalm 119:105, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” When we run away from God’s word like Jonah, we lose our sense of direction. Direction is always found in His word. When we are blind to the storm, we must seek His word for sight.
My God is not camera shy, He is just hard to see with the human eye. We must pray for Jesus to heal our sight for redirection (Acts 9:18). We must pray that we can see the Fire amidst the storm. Seek God, and He will show up. Look for the Fire in the storm. There is always a storm to get our attention to redirect us back to our Father.
We ALL have been called. Now, we have two options: Run in rebellion; or Obey the word. Both have pain, but only one has purpose for the pain.