Elijah faced a storm when his brook dried up. That was his source of provision. He had to seek the Lord to find the place where God had designed his provision to come forth - and out of the most unexpected place, I might add! Storms also show us that sometimes we are picked up and sent to someone else that has a need because we are the answer they have been praying for. When the anointing in Elijah touched the faith and obedience of the widow woman, they both got a miracle. She got fed and he got a re-launch into ministry.
When Jairus had a storm and needed a miracle of healing for someone close to him, his storm caused him to seek out Jesus and Jesus sent the answer back to his house. Storms will force us out of our religious box (which indicates restriction in some form) and make us move towards where the answer lies. There are so many wonderful illustrations of people in the Bible, and I'm sure we all have our own testimonies as well, of when a pressing situation caused us to go find the answer. Most of the time it's always been right within reach, but sometimes God has to get people to the place where they eliminate all the excuses and just go get the answer. They know where to find it if they really think about it, they just have to ask God to open their eyes to see the provision He had made available. Like Hagar in the desert...or the many others that found their 'well of salvation' when God opened their eyes.
There are many situations that can cause a storm in people's lives, and we never know when one is on our horizon, but we CAN get our prayers out ahead of what's coming!
Three positive results of storms in our life, (and I know there are many more):
1. Storms have the ability to pick us up and redeposit us somewhere new. When I think of all the hurricanes we dealt with in the south, it was those storm warnings that made us willing to move.
2. Storms have the ability to connect us with new people we might not have connected with otherwise.
3. Storms have the ability to cause us to think, look, and pray for things we might not have thought to pray about. We tend to look outside the box of our comfort zone for answers. Desperation to find an answer to a pressing need can also make us bolder in asking, seeking and knocking on doors for an answer.
There are a couple situations in the gospels where the disciples encountered storms. The first one is found in Matthew 8:23. Jesus was asleep in the boat when a great storm appeared. It seems a bit odd at first that Jesus would rebuke them for being afraid, doesn't it? Yet, He was trying to tell them to take dominion over the storm and exercise the spiritual authority that had been given to them. The problem was, they didn't see themselves in that light. They were still looking as natural men, instead of men having been given authority to reign and rule over every situation, including a storm.
How does heaven see you? As royalty. We are co-heirs of the kingdom of God, which means we are kings. Rev. 5:10 proclaims, "You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth." Kings make decisive judgments and decrees. They set things in order. They 'declare a thing,' and it is established, (see Job 22:28). Jesus reminded his disciples that they had authority to calm the storm, but they needed to declare it out of their mouths in order for it to be established!
The second reference to the disciples encountering a storm is found in John 6:16. The disciples were actually already in the boat and had rowed three or four miles - in the dark, mind you, because it was at night. These guys had no light to see where they were going! Light speaks of revelation, so we can tell that they were probably totally scared at the fact that Jesus WASN'T in their boat, a great wind arose and was tossing them around on the great sea. Do you have any idea what it's like to row against a huge wind? Can you imagine how tired they were after rowing three or four MILES against the strong winds of the storm? Then somehow through the dark, the wind, the waves and the ruckus of the storm, they are able to make out a faint image of someone walking on the water, coming towards them. There's only one water walker up to that point, but they couldn't recognize Jesus at first. They were so frightened they thought they saw a ghost! Yet, look at what happened when they recovered their sight and were able to recognize Jesus coming towards them. They welcomed Him into the boat and INSTANTLY they arrived at their destination. (vs. 21).
This illustration can help us be alert to a couple of things in the midst of a storm. First, we may not always recognize the form of the Lord. We need to ask God to help us recognize the things He puts before us as His provision. Do you remember the story of a man that encountered a great flood, and he prayed and said, "God, send help!" A short time later a man in a jeep stopped to ask if the man wanted a ride. The first man replied, "No, I am waiting for God to send me help." The flood continued to rise and the man climbed out a window of his house to get to the roof. A man in a boat came by and asked if he wanted to get in. The first man declined and and said, "No, that's ok, I have prayed for God to send help. I am waiting for Him." As the flood waters rose, the man perched on his roof and a helicopter arrived. This too, he declined, saying, "I have prayed for God to send help. I will wait for Him." The man eventually drowned and went to heaven where he said, "God, I prayed for help! Why did you not answer me?" God said, "What are you talking about? I sent you a jeep, a boat and a helicopter!" The lesson here is that sometimes we have our minds so determined how we think God should answer that we end up missing out on a blessing. Make sure you are open minded and ask Him to show you the gift or the answer He has sent.
The last thing I want to do is remind you that even if you find yourself at a dead end - stuck- with no answers in sight, God is still God of the dead end. Do you remember what Moses did when he reached a dead end? Red Sea in front of him, a million plus fearful Israelis depending on him for an answer, and Pharaoh's army closing in quickly. Talk about pressure! Moses cried out to God (read Ex. 14:15) and God said, "WHY are you crying to Me?" "Stretch out your rod and command the way to open up!" (My paraphrase). God was rebuking Moses the same way Jesus rebuked the disciples - WHY? To remind them to USE THE AUTHORITY GOD GAVE THEM.
Speak to your storm. Command peace. Take authority over the situation like Jesus would do. What is your need? Call it forth. Tell it to manifest. Exercise the authority IN YOU and you have the ability to make the invisible appear in the natural. The authority in you has the ability to get you to the other side of the storm. Do you want to arrive at your destination, or be tossed around on the sea, subject to whatever the enemy throws at you? Surrendering your storm to Jesus does not mean to sit passively and do nothing. Make those kingly declarations and call out what belongs to you in the kingdom and your faith will make it appear.
I pray for my own family as well as others that may encounter a storm in their life. I ask that You will give us all peace in the midst of every storm, and a disciplined thought life so that we do not allow fear to lead us in the wrong decisions. Help us recognize the form of the Lord and your provision to our needs. Lead us to the provision you have set aside for us. I speak peace to the storm in Jesus name. Give us discernment to know when the storm is from the Lord and how to proceed, as well as when the storm is from the enemy and we need to rebuke it. I pray for us all to not keep reaching for the oars of control but to surrender control of our situations to You. Bless us with stability in every area where we have need. Help us raise the sail of the Spirit to catch a fresh wind and be guided into the safe haven You have provided for us. Give us eyes to see the lifeline of hope and provision. Lead us in the direction of the provision and salvation. Help people, in the midst of their personal storms, to call on the name of Jesus Christ so that You may answer them and send the help they need.
Father, in the name and authority of Jesus Christ, I call for heaven's resources to be made available to me. I declare provision to come forth now, in Jesus name. I declare favor, divine appointments with those that have the things I need, to come forth and make themselves known to me now, in Jesus name. I thank You for making my way prosperous and releasing blessing. I command the way to open up and I declare I am crossing over to my destination now, in Jesus name, amen.
"Fear not, for I am with you;
Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you,
Yes, I will help you,
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand." - Is. 41:10