On August 28, 2011, at 2:30 AM, I awoke to the sound of Hurricane Irene which hit my neighborhood in West Babylon, New York. It was the first time that I had ever experienced going through a hurricane in my life and hearing the fierce winds at 65 miles per hour. The wind of the storm sounded like a roaring train that I normally heard at a nearby train station not far from my home. My family was asleep in the bed with me as I prayed over them that the Lord would get us through the storm. One hour later I began to hear large trees outside of the house falling and crashing into houses and cars. When daylight came I went outside and saw down power lines everywhere and tons of debris all over the neighborhood. I also saw trees that had crashed into people cars and one which had completely destroyed my neighbor’s front porch. There were three large trees in front of my house which was still standing and had not fallen on our house or our two cars. Several people had lost electricity to their homes which it took over a week before power was fully restored to their homes.
Now there were three important lessons that I took from the experience of going through Hurricane Irene. The first lesson that I learned was that the Lord will be with you and your family in the midst of a storm. A second lesson that I took from Hurricane Irene was that there can be storms we go through as men because we are the cause of those storms happening to us and others. Finally, a third important lesson that I learned from those loud high winds blowing over my house was we as men of faith will go through storms because we have to be an anchor that helps others to get through their storm.
And the same day, when the even was come, he saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side.
And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships.
And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full (Mark 4:35-37).
His Presence is with you in the midst of the storm
The first lesson that we as men must know is that the Lord is with you and your family in the midst of the storm. When the word of God speaks about storms in the Old and New Testaments, the storms would primarily happen on a sea or a lake. The storm that arose when Jesus and His disciples were on their ship crossing over to the other side was so severe that their ship was filled with water. These experienced fishermen had been sailing on the sea before and even gone through storms before knowing they would survive them. However, because this storm was so great, the disciples came to the Master who was asleep down in the lower part of the ship. The men were so afraid that they would all die in the storm that they cried out to Jesus and said “Master don’t you care that we are all going to perish”. However, Jesus went up to the top of the ship, He rebuked the wind and said to the sea “Peace, be still and the wind ceased and there was a great calm over the waters” (Mark 4:35-41).
When we find ourselves in the midst of a storm, we can be confident that the Lord Presence will be there to cover us and our families. When we stand on the promises of God that we have spent time meditating upon, the Lord will not only watch over His word to perform it but He will we also watch over us (Jeremiah 1:12). The enemy does not want the word of God to fall on good ground in the hearts of men but he tries to cause it to fall by the wayside. Not only does he try to cause the word of God to fall to the wayside, he will even try to stop it from taking root in the heart of a man. If we allow the word of God to fall to the wayside as men, the enemy can rob us of our awareness that the Lord presence is with us in the storms of our life. As men, we must be aware of the devices of the devil and not allow him to use the tools of affliction and offense to cause our hearts to become harden like a stone. If a man is walking hurt and offended by what others have done to him if will cause him not to open his heart to the Lord and to those close to him. When the winds of the cares of this world blow strongly around us, it is the word of God that we must hold onto in As men we must be determined that we will allow God’s word to be made flesh in us which says in Psalms 107:29, “He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still”.
The storms that we cause to happen
Now the word of the Lord came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying,
Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.
But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.
But the Lord sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken.
Then the mariners were afraid, and cried every man unto his god, and cast forth the wares that were in the ship into the sea, to lighten it of them. But Jonah was gone down into the sides of the ship; and he lay, and was fast asleep (Jonah 1:1-5).
A second lesson that I took from going through Hurricane Irene is that there are storms we go through as men because we are the cause of the storm happening to us and others. When the Lord gives us the assignment to go and be involved with people who we have a difficult past with if we refused to obey Him our disobedience can bring a storm in our lives. We justify our rebellion by saying to the Lord the same people that you want me to reach out to are those that have hurt me and they will not do it again. To choose our personal feelings over God’s ultimate plan for enemies will at some point produce a storm that we will not be able to get away from. We may choose to run in the wrong direction from the Lord but the truth of the matter is that we can never run or hide from the presence of the Lord. My brother don’t make the same mistake that the Prophet Jonah did by getting on a ship trying to go to Tarshish thinking no one will find you in the bottom of the ship because your storms will expose you.
However, the storm that is raging around you just like it did with the Mariners on the boat with Jonah will not stop until you are thrown off the ship of your own heart. The storms that we are facing as men can be a direct result because we feel our titles are most important to us than being a servant of the Lord. The storm that is before you my brother, in reality, is the Lord’s instrument to help to you get your attitude adjustment, The fierce winds of adversity that are blowing around you are there so that it can help you realize that it is not worth holding on to past grudges with people who have around move on but you have not. As you find yourself in the belly of the fish of your circumstances, you need to take this moment and humble yourself and cry out in repentance to the Lord. If you do it, my brother, the storm will cease and you will find yourself on dry land to start fresh again (Jonah 1:7-17 and Jonah 2:1-10).
You are anchor of hope to others in the storm
Now when much time was spent, and when sailing was now dangerous, because the fast was now already past, Paul admonished them,
And said unto them, Sirs, I perceive that this voyage will be with hurt and much damage, not only of the lading and ship, but also of our lives.
Nevertheless the centurion believed the master and the owner of the ship, more than those things which were spoken by Paul (Acts 27:9-11).
Finally, a third lesson that I learned from those loud winds blowing over my house that night, when we go through a storm it can sometimes be because we have to be an anchor to help others to get through their storms. When the Apostle Paul was traveling as a prisoner on a ship which was on its way to Italy, Paul caution those sailing the ship that the waters they were traveling were very dangerous. Now only were the waters dangerous but the further they traveled they would be hit by a serve storm which could cost everyone life. The captain and the owner of the ship heard the Apostle Paul warning but chose to ignore it and sail on trusting their own experience on the sea. By the time that the storm hit their ship they were caught in its grasped and looked like everyone was going to die. However, the Lord appeared to Paul to remind him that He still had a purpose for him and all those on the ship would survive. Though shipped would be broken into many pieces from being struck by the storm, Paul would be an anchor of hope to them and they would survive the shipwreck (Acts 27:1-44).
As men, we can find ourselves going through a storm and we are asking the Lord why am I going through this in my life right now? Not only are we asking the Lord why are we going through the torrential rain but when is it going to end? However, I believe that the storm you find yourself in my brother is because the Lord wants to use you to be an anchor of hope to others in their storm. We are to be a voice of counsel to those that have missed the Lord through their disobedience and encourage them that our God is still a God of a second, third and fourth chance. The Lord wants to use you, my brother, to encourage that person who lost or quit their job, that He still has a purpose for their life. He wants to use you, my brother, to encourage that man, who is going through a midlife crisis or a divorce that the Lord can still speak peace in his life and bring calmness to his emotions. The psalmist once wrote “The anchor holds though the ship is battered, the anchor holds though the sails are torn. I have fallen on my knees as I faced the raging sea, the anchor holds in spite of the storm”.