Romans 8:28 (NIV)
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
As we embark on the 2013 hurricane season I was thinking about the story of John Newton, the 18th century London-born seaman who authored the extremely-popular Christian hymn, “Amazing Grace.” Newton was captain of a ship that plied in the slave trade, but in 1748 he underwent a dramatic conversion. His conversion took place at sea, in the midst of a raging storm, when he cried to the Lord for mercy and the ship was delivered. As he reflected on what had happened, Newton began to believe that God had addressed him through the storm and that grace had been at work in him. Not long after, he penned the words to the well-known hymn, “Amazing Grace,” in which he acknowledged that God’s grace had rescued him when he was lost, and given him sight when he was blind. Following his conversion, Newton left the slave trade, became an Anglican minister, and advocated for the abolition of slavery.
As each storm threatens us this hurricane season let’s think about how God can speak to us through it. If Newton believed that God had addressed him through a storm and used it as a means of grace in his life, I wondered if this storm might serve such a purpose in each of our lives.
We dare not speak with certainty about God’s intentions or motives in any circumstance but we can testify that, at times, God is able to use times to instruct us and to deepen our faith.
We know that God is present during all circumstances. God does not stand outside of our circumstances but within it, as a Companion, holding us in his arms. We are not alone. Even after countless sufferings, which included shipwreck, persecutions and imprisonment, Paul was able to write with faith and hope of God’s love and faithfulness: “For I am convinced,” he says, “that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom 8:38-39).
During the 2013 hurricane season we can be confident that God is with us through it all.
Dear Lord, just as the Sea of Galilee obeyed your Voice and calmed we know that You are still the Master of land and sea. During this hurricane season we turn to You and ask for Your protection for each of us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.