Why God Sends Storms
Why God Sends Storms
This week, everyone in Hawaii is thinking about the unstoppable power of nature, with Hurricane Lane bearing down on the islands. I don’t know why, but we’re always surprised to discover that we haven’t completely tamed the world around us.
For those of us who believe in a sovereign God, it’s a good reminder that nature isn’t under our control, but it also isn’t just random. It’s not like some wind-up toy that’s been left to run on its own. It is personally guided by the direct hand of God at every moment, for a specific purpose:
He saturates clouds with moisture;
he scatters his lightning through them.
They swirl about,
turning round and round at his direction,
accomplishing everything he commands them
over the surface of the inhabited world.
He causes this to happen for punishment,
for his land, or for his faithful love. (Job 37:11-13)
Amazing. God guides the forces of nature … for love. He uses disasters like hurricanes, tsunamis, and earthquakes as an opportunity to express his love to hurting people.
Describing a stormy time in his life, Paul says it this way:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort. He comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any kind of affliction, through the comfort we ourselves receive from God. (2 Cor 1:3-4)
God sends literal and metaphorical storms into our lives so he can “comfort us in all our affliction.” He knows that our hearts tend to look for comfort in every place other than his arms. But no relationship, position, experience, or substance will ever provide true and lasting comfort. So sometimes God needs to forcefully drive us into the one place where true comfort can be found.
But then, he also expects us to bless others in the storm: “so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any kind of affliction, through the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” If you’ve been through a painful divorce, and you experienced God’s comfort, now you have the ability to comfort other people going through the same thing. If you had a dream that got crushed — you didn’t get into the school you wanted, or you didn’t get the job you wanted, or you got the job you wanted and then it turned out to be a nightmare — and then you experienced God’s comfort, now you know how to comfort other people in the same situation.
God sends storms so he can display his love for the world through us. Remember that when you’re stocking up on bottled water, batteries, and toilet paper. Buy some extra for your neighbors, and look for ways to give them God’s comfort.