“Storms Never Last
aka “Secret Storms”
Dedicated to Vera Presley
by Jackson Snyder
August 8, 1995, Updated July 18, 2003, August 28, 2005

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Confronting the Storms of Life - Samuel DanielLuke 12:2-7: But nothing is concealed which shall not be revealed, and hid which shall not be made known. Wherefore, whatever things you have said in darkness, shall be heard in the light, and what you have spoken in the ear in closets, shall be proclaimed on the housetops. But I say to you, my friends, be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after this have no more that they can do. But I will show you whom you shall fear: Fear him who after he has killed has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I say to you, fear him. 6 Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings? And yet not one of them is forgotten before G*d. 7 But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not: you are of more value than many sparrows.

-- H L Anderson Translation, Copyright ©2004, Jackson H. Snyder II

Psalm 139, James 3:5,6

 

 

 

Storms never last, do they, Savior?

Bad times all pass with the wind
Your hand in mine stills the thunder

And your love makes the sun shine again.

Big Waves

   {I’ve writing this after nearly two weeks of deluge and overcast weather.  A tropical storm, “Little Bill,” visited Louisiana last week; this week Hurricane Claudette met Texas (July, 2003).  They’ve dumped more rain on our little paradise than I’ve seen since Hurricane Donnie emptied the Mobile Bay in 1997.  Sitting on the front porch in between torrents, I was reminded of stepping out the front door when the eye of Hurricane Erin passed over the house about this time in 1995 (early August).  There was an eerie calm just before the wind started howling again.}

   When Hurricane Erin hit Florida’s gulf coast, news reporters were out in force broadcasting about how people were coping.  Most interviewed had hoarded up food, gasoline, and water – remembering the devastation of hurricanes Andrew and Hugo.  Others were taking the weather in stride, as though this were “just another storm” and nothing to be concerned about.  No one knew then that the gigantic Hurricane Opal would destroy Pensacola Beach just two months later!

   A different attitude was reported from Ft. Lauderdale beach.  As the TV camera focused on the gigantic waves, several brave souls could be seen gliding on the crest of the waters.  They were die-hard young surfers in search of the perfect wave.  The reporter told the television audience that authorities had tried to evacuate the beach and evict these surfers, but without success.  One reporter actually went out on the beach in the middle of the storm to interview one young man who’d just wiped out in the sand.

   The reporter screamed into the wind, “Why do you risk your life here?”  It seemed that the dazed youth thought the question ridiculous.  He shook his head, raised his eyebrows, and replied in a silly voice, “Because this is where the big waves are, dude!”  To him, the risk of drowning was well worth trying to “sail through the tube” – the greatest thrill of all for the surfer.  On Florida’s east coast, a perfect wave can only form in hurricane-force winds.

 

Devilish Storms

   Now the greatest Holy Ghost thrill often seems to come in the midst of a storm of controversy.  Certainly, when the Spirit begins to move through our lives in supernatural ways, the old scratch begins to move through his people.  And the devil likes to use religious folks to do the dirty work {– religious folks eaten up with jealously, legalism and the Jezebel spirit – religious folks afflicted with itching ears and over-active tongues.}

   The devil's storms are seldom as visible as the great storms that devastate Florida's coast, but for the Spirit-filled man or woman, they are certainly more prevalent.  The devil's storms are “secret storms,” brewing and blowing through telephone lines, prayer groups, cliques and chatter clubs.  Jesus imparted the wonderful gifts of the Holy Spirit to those who would receive, but he also warned his disciples to expect the “secret storms,” knowing what far-reaching negative consequences such attacks might have.

   In our text today, we find Jesus’ words both a warning to his enemies and a comfort to his friends:

Luke 12:2,3There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs.

These words are just as potent to our ears today as they were to his hearers then.

 

Hypocrites and Murderers

   Jesus and his disciples ride the crest of the wave over the sea of victims desperate for a touch from the Almighty.  They’d seen an incredible move of the Spirit, the word had gotten around, and now folks came from all over the country to get a little something.  Most don’t know the first thing about spiritual matters.  Others had heated a synagogue pew for the last forty years without receiving anything other than the threat of hell-fire.  Yet others, the spiritually dead, are being resurrected by the out-welling of life-changing living water.

   Jesus is commissioned for this time and this outpouring.  But he knows his days are numbered.  If the Father is going to continue to move, he reasons, he must train others to see the revival through.  He chose a handful of pescadores, prostitutes, taxmen and terrorists – now miraculously transforming into men and women of spiritual power: transforming, yes; but not yet perfect – far from it.  But like Jesus, these disciples are riding the wave of popularity and notoriety.  They’re glorying in their ministry successes.  They’re close to “sailing through the tube,” and they should be proud of their progress!

   But Jesus is concerned about it.  He knows that the enemy’s tongue is a fire that can burn even the most fire-resistant believer.  He knows that slander is the second greatest tool of the flatterer; lying is the greatest.  He teaches his disciples,

Enjoy the thrill of the Spirit.  But beware of what they'll be saying about you.  They'll crucify you with words in secret places.  They'll hold you up to ridicule behind your backs.  They'll say all manner of evil things about you falsely.  Their slander is like yeast - a little dab sours the whole loaf.  But they are hypocrites - actors - merely putting on an apron of righteousness over hearts tarnished with lies, jealousies, and intrigues.

   Friends, whenever there’s a move of the Spirit, the devil and his bunch are stirring up “secret storms.”  Storms may start in an innocuous way, with an idle comment, a hurtful remark, even a casual word; but before they blow out, they may wreak spiritual devastation.  You know the truth of this saying because, at one time or the other, you’ve been victimized by idle or untruthful tales: some have over and over again.  If tales have burned you, consider it a test of your fire-proofing mechanism.  If you’re working all right, your spiritual sprinkler system should quench the flame before it spreads.  If yours is a manual system, maybe you’ll have to climb into your rafters and crank in on!

 

Little Katrina

   It’s the year 2013.  The Jones' family is driving to the Platinum Corral for lunch after church.  (The Golden Corral changed its name to “Platinum” when gold bottomed out in 2009.)  In their hydrogen-powered Cooper, Dad remarks that the new preacher’s just too loud and too long.  The only gift he could grab was the gift of gab.  And besides, he doesn’t knock on enough doors to suit anybody.  Mom agrees, and adds that the lay leader ought to step down after all these years: he’s too darn old and she doesn’t approve of the company he keeps.  Then Sis, a brilliant music student in high school, insults the pianist, who’s fat and makes lots of mistakes.  Granny chimes in about that song leader – the old hymns were good enough for her and she wasn’t about to learn any new ones.  Gramps actually likes church now –he finally sees a spark of life.  But he says nothing, wishing to avoid a confrontation with Granny. 

Little Katrina, named after the hurricane that was brewing when he was born, is in the back seat with Sis, taking it all in.  She’s impressionable and interested.  The family makes it to the Corral and there meets the Smith family.  Together the families indulge in a fatty meal.  They eat the preacher, the lay leader, the song leader and the pianist before they have some of the other church families for dessert.  Daddy Smith and Daddy Jones go round and round.  Of course, Grampa doesn’t say a word the whole time, though he knows this kind of talk is all wrong; but, after all, blood is thicker than water.   

Finally Little Katrina, who enjoys church, trumpets proudly, “I’m with you, Daddy.  I hate that bald guy in the front who gives his testimony all the time.  But you gotta admit – it’s a great show – and it only cost you five bucks.”  

   As a pastor I can tell you that the best way to know what the people in the church are saying about you behind your back is to observe how their children act toward you.  Children do not make good hypocrites.  Like Little Katrina, they haven’t yet mastered the art the secret storm.  

 

The Feast Was You

   The Word of God never returns void – and neither does the word of cruelty.  What goes around eventually comes back to haunt; for

Jealousy is a feast,

a table laid before you

with delicious and plenteous delicacies,

and you are dining with abject delight

on juicy morsels and sweets and dainties,

your mouth slick with oil,

your belly about to burst. 

But it is only in the end,

when the feast is finished,

and the table is bare,

and you've picked your teeth clean,

that you realize

what you so relished

was you.


Fear God

   Jesus admonished, “A little yeast leavens the whole loaf.  A little poison pollutes the whole pot.  A little dab ‘ll do ya.”  His brother also wrote on the subject saying,

James 3:5,6 So the tongue is only a tiny part of the body, but its boasts are great. Think how small a flame can set fire to a huge forest. The tongue is a flame too. Among all the parts of the body, the tongue is a whole wicked world: it infects the whole body; catching fire itself from hell, it sets fire to the whole wheel of creation.

A little hurtful talk can ruin years of fruitful ministry – such has devastated many a Christian family.  Friends, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees!  Bridle the tongue.  Judge with right judgment.  Let only appropriate words depart your lips.  Fear your god. 

   And for you who are even now suffering someone’s tongue-lashing because you’re receiving a new touch from the Holy Spirit, or because you gave your testimony, or because you’re trying for perfection – take heart.  All will eventually be cleansed in the cleansing flow.  What they've whispered about you in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the rooftops in due time.  Yahweh knows and sympathizes with your struggles.  Yet struggles they remain:

Luke 12:4-7  Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by Yahweh. Don't be [discouraged]; you are worth more than many sparrows.”

   Perhaps the only way Jesus could possibly express our value as his children in words is to employ the understatement of all time: “You are worth more than many sparrows.”  What wonderful paradox!  You see, what Jesus here calls “the killing of the body,” originates in hypocrisy, striking mercilessly at a victim's feelings of self-worth and god-worth.  But never fear, for he loves you and has overcome the world for your sake.  You are indeed worth more than many sparrows.

 

Godly Men Advise

   A godly stranger once came up to me in a restaurant and told me he sensed I was struggling with a fiery dart.  He opened his Bible and read part of Psalm 139, because he thought it would help.  Psalm 139 is medicine for those who are smarting from what others have said about them.  The Psalm proves the Father’s seal of approval upon our lives, my righteous friend.  The Psalm assures us we’re marvelously constructed and of priceless value to our Creator.  Understanding and accepting this fact will improve anyone's self-image.  Read it and see. 

   In A.D. 399 Saint Augustine wrote,

People travel to wonder at the height of mountains, at the huge waves of the sea, at the long courses of the rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motion of the stars -- and they pass by themselves without wondering.

Jesus tells us that the Father cares enough to number our hairs.  Even more amazing, he formed our inward parts and knit us together in a womb.  Your birth may not have made the papers, but your debut didn’t go unnoticed by the Almighty One; and you have been born anew through the efforts of his loving Son, your brother.  You may be filled with his Spirit, and, even if you’re not, he loves you eternally and has vowed to help you regain your dignity if you’ll only seek his assistance. 

   The eminent German theologian and scholar Karl Barth wrote volumes of deep theological essays concerning the nature of the deity and salvation.  Near the end of his fruitful life, he was asked a simple, almost stupid question.  “How might you sum up all your knowledge about theology in just a sentence or two?”  For any other scholar, that request would have been impossible.  But Karl Barth not only knew theology, he knew Jesus personally.  What was his answer?  Why, you know! 
Jesus liebt mich, ganz gewiss, Denn die Bibel sagt mir dies, Alle Kinder schwach und klein, Lad’t Er herzlich zu sich ein. 

(Yea-soos leept mich, gahns ge-vees,

den dee beebel sahct meer dees.

Ahl-leh kinder schwahk unt kline,

lahdt ehr hehrtz-lick soo seek ine.)

(“Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so.  Little ones to him belong.  They are weak but he is strong.” )

All Barth’s life's collection of knowledge pointed to one very simple truth, that the Son of Yahweh loved him, and nobody's opinion would make one iota's difference in regards to that. 

 

Hurricanes Are Good (Kind Of)

   Yes, we should rather be concerned about where we stand with the Almighty.  As one author has stated, “Be wary of hypocrites, but don't fear: make G-d's opinion of you your highest concern.”  And if you do, some very good and unexpected results may be obtained from weathering those hurricane-force “secret storms” that blow your life around.

   Meteorologists say that hurricanes are essential because they maintain the balance of nature.  Even with winds of 150 miles an hour, torrential rains, glaring lightning and rumbling thunder, scientists tell us they’re tremendously valuable.  They dissipate the heat of the equator and are responsible for rainfall in the Americas.  Meteorologists no longer use cloud-seeding to prevent them; they just “let ‘em rip” because they’re convinced that hurricanes do more good than harm.  Likewise, we understand that enduring storms for Jesus’ sake eventually lead into a higher degree of spiritual maturity, greater grace and the desire to regulate our own manner of speech.

   By the way, hurricanes cause the ocean to yield those gigantic waves surfers covet.  To finish that TV reporter’s interview of the crazy surfer, she asked him if he was afraid of drowning.  He shouted, “HECK NO!  I ain’t a scared as long as I keep hooked to my board.”  Abba Father loves you, my friend; so how is your standing with him?  You’re not involved in stirring up secret storms, surely?  You haven’t drifted away from him in the currents of raging tides, have you?  I didn’t think so.  You’ll remain “hooked to the board,” weathering any storm in confidence and assurance!  Remember,

 

Storms never last, do they, Savior?

Bad times all pass with the wind
Your hand in mine stills the thunder

And your love makes the sun shine again.

 

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