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The Way Through A Storm

The Way Through A Storm poster

“He who observes the wind will not sow; and he who regards the clouds will not reap.”—Ecclesiastes 11:4

What does the Preacher mean by these words? That watching the wind is wrong? That considering the clouds is a highly impractical activity when carried to excess? Certainly a good farmer keeps his weather eye open even as he sows and reaps.

Scripture repeatedly commands us to look, to watch. Observation and evaluation are essential—especially when winds are icy and clouds ominous. But if our careful analyses lead us to inaction, we underestimate the God who makes clouds His chariot, winds His messengers, and fire and flame His ministers (Psalm 104:4). Nowhere does this God encourage us to watch at the expense of worshipping and working.

Remember Peter as he walked across a stormy sea to his Lord? In those first triumphant moments Peter knew about the waves, but he wasn’t distracted by them. Waves didn’t dominate the picture; the Lord did. Suddenly Peter saw the wind. It ceased to be an incidental part of his landscape. Then Peter began to sink, and Jesus reached out His hand and caught him, saying to him, “O man of little faith, why did you doubt?”

Weak or unsustained faith called forth Christ’s rebuke. So did another characteristic reported in Luke 12:54–56. Noting the multitudes’ ability to read the appearance of earth and sky, Jesus reprimanded them for their failure to interpret with equal effectiveness the present time. In short, we are to trust God and see life as it is.

Today we observe a world torn by conflicts of unparalleled complexity and consequence. Mushrooming scientific and technological achievements place at our disposal enormous powers that hang over our heads like double-edged swords. Just twenty years behind us stand Auschwitz, Buchenwald and Dachau. Birmingham and Dallas linger in today’s news. Cuba, Cyprus, Vietnam confront us. Unimaginable destruction and suffering threaten ahead. Immobilized by the “distress of nations,” we wonder how we can contribute to this corrupt world for the sake of the King of the nations.

Without question the storm is great and we are swamped by waves. Black clouds have gathered in the sky. On land and sea the wind is strong—so strong that we may fail to hear above it His “Why are you afraid, O men of little faith?” Others may faint with fear of what is coming on the earth, but we who know Him are to look up without fear. “Thus says the Lord: ‘Learn not the way of the nations, nor be dismayed at the signs of the heavens because the nations are dismayed at them’” (Jeremiah 10:2). Beyond the stunning hour, we are to see the Lord of history to whom we belong.

Observe the wind. Then ask what He would have us do, how we may gain new understanding of our work for Him. Pray that we may live confident that God’s will for us is a singleness of purpose, a unity and purity of heart that wills His will alone.

Regard the clouds. Then relate this world’s ascending fear to millions caught in the tumult. Pray that at His bidding we may labor in harvest, approaching problems in His Spirit with imagination and power.

Let us face into the storm, seizing every opportunity to share with all the world the good news of our gracious God.