In the context of this heavy climate due to the Corona Virus, I would like to begin with a bit of humor: It goes like this: Jesus does take naps! In Luke 8:23, it says, rather casually, “As they sailed, he fell asleep….”
Some storms require to be rebuked. Some we are required to simply endure. Others, in biblical terms, we are required to embrace. Simply, hunker down and wait it out! My personal sense is that this global, viral storm, pandemic in nature, will require all three of these, collectively, for us to come through victoriously. My objective is to help us know how to do all three at the same time. We cannot stay down, however much we may have been knocked down!
That particular storm, in which Jesus was engaged, required rebuking. That fact alone, should allow us to understand that the storm itself does not originate in God the Father. In a fallen world, crises are present, repeated, and unavoidable.
Our human problem can be that of being too hyper. We seek control to avoid being affected. In total contrast we can be overly hypo, hardly able to acknowledge there is any storm. This kind of response whistles past the graveyard, giving the observers the impression that we live above all of the danger and clamor.
Let me relate a true story, no exaggeration or Hollywood. 1954, as a new believer, I returned to my Naval ship. We sailed to Taiwan, off the coast of China. Alerted to a serious typhoon, the preparation was immediate and serious—all hands-on deck type of preparation. The storm was ferocious, death-producing to say the least. Many ships were lost.
All that could be done was accomplished. Then this “new Lord” I was now following said: “I want you to wedge yourself into your bunk and go to sleep!” Both of the portholes looked like washing machines. The ship rolled to the degree it was in danger of capsizing. Now under Kingdom orders, not of my own liking, I slept like a baby. Everyone else thought I was out of my mind.
The next morning, we discovered all of the lifeboats had been ripped off of the deck of the ship due to the ferocity of the storm. A strange aura hung heavy in the air. Later that morning, sun shining and beautiful, several of the other sailors came to the sick bay to tell me: “The rumor among the men is quite strong.” Many of them know that you have recently become a Christian and know that you slept through the night!
Thus, my “nap” became a testimony that the Lord used to influence some 29 more sailors to embrace this Christ whom I was seeking to please.
One of my personal heroes is E. Stanley Jones, a missionary to India. In a book entitled Abundant Living, pg. 343, he records the following five words:
- CRISIS: All crises force us to engage, participate, and respond. The nature of the crisis is compelling and unavoidable. We cannot disappear. Being required to show up is, in itself, most demanding.
- ORDEAL: Every crisis precipitates some form of discomfort and danger that can be identified as an ordeal. Some ordeals are mini; while others maxi. Regardless of their intensity, both serve an identical purpose.
- CATHARSIS: The ordeal generates forms of deep cleansing and serious readjustment of nearly everything in our world. It is not easy, but extremely necessary. Please absorb the word deep; we would not, could not accomplish this on our own.
- CHARISMA: The cleansing, adjustment of the ordeal releases a fresh encounter with the Living Christ. The fact being this encounter is the very one for which we prayed and forgot to recognize when the strange and alien answer came.
- RESURRECTION: When we emerge out of death producing crises, we do experience the Life of the Lord in resurrection. Due to the authenticity of the encounter, we are aware that we have been realigned. There follows a supernatural Peace. This is a governmental word, identifying an unruffled maturity and relationship with our Lord. Then comes the Joy. It, too, is supernatural. How can we have joy when the crisis is this serious? All of this is carefully explained in Rom. 14:17 as a Kingdom encounter: “righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.”
SUMMARY: As Kingdom believers, we cannot and must not run, hide, or shift blame. Please be increasingly careful when you are proceeding to ‘rebuke the devil’ to stop the storm (hyper). Be equally cautious when you embrace denial and project that this does not affect me (hypo).
Please make the time and effort to embrace these five words seriously and personally. They will take us through all kinds of storms, providing a testimony that will bring Glory to the Lord whom we love and serve.