I still remember that perfectly clear and sunny morning. I was living in Santa Clarita, California, a mid-sized city about 40 miles northwest of Los Angeles. At the time, I was the pastor of a small church connected to a christian academy. While unknown at the time, the events of that day would ultimately change my life forever.
My wife and I had just sat down to eat breakfast when I received a startling call from my sister, who lived in the same neighborhood as my mother in Danville, a small industrial town in southern Virginia. Her screeching voice alone was enough to convince me that something devastating had happened--and I was right. Our beloved mother had died tragically that morning in an accidental house fire. And just like that, I was plunged into one of the greatest storms I had ever experienced.
Of course, I am not alone friend. You too, have experienced similar storms. And although they vary in form, intensity and duration, the great storms of life are simply unavoidable. In fact, Jesus even told His followers to expect difficult times when He said, "In the world, you will have trouble" (John 16:33). According to Jesus, terrible storms of death, disease, disaster and disappointment are sure to find your door, if it hasn't already.
Knowing this, real questions begin to arise: How does Jesus expect me respond? What benefit is there in warning me of the tough times ahead? Nothing helps answer these sincere questions quite like a story I once heard about a farmer who owned land along the Atlantic seacoast. The farmer constantly advertised for hired hands. Most people were reluctant to work on farms along the Atlantic because they dreaded the awful storms that raged across the ocean, wreaking havoc on buildings and crops. As the farmer interviewed applicants, most refused the job.
Finally, a small, thin man interviewed for the position. "Are you a good farmhand?" The farmer asked. "Well, I can sleep when the wind blows," answered the little man. Although puzzled by this answer, the farmer, desperate for help, hired the man. The little man worked well around the farm, and the farmer felt satisfied with the man's work.
Then one night the wind howled loudly. A mighty tempest was approaching. Jumping out of bed, the farmer grabbed a flashlight and rushed next door to the hired hand's sleeping quarters. He shook the little man and yelled, "Get up! A storm is coming! Tie things down before they blow away!" The little man rolled over in bed and said firmly, "No sir. I told you, I can sleep when the wind blows."
Enraged by the response, the farmer was tempted to fire him on the spot. Instead, he hurried outside to prepare for the storm. To his amazement, he discovered that all of the haystacks had been covered with tarps. The cows were in the barn. The chickens were in the coops. The doors were barred. The shutters were tightly secured. Everything was tied down. Nothing could blow away. Amazed and embarrassed, the farmer then understood what his hired hand meant by the words, "I can sleep when the wind blows." He had learned a great lesson that night. He then returned to his bed to sleep while the wind blew.
Preparation is the key to surviving any storm. Wise followers of Christ will learn the lesson taught by the little hired hand. They will prepare for the storm by covering their sins with the robe of Christ's righteousness--in advance. They will have tied down and secured an abiding relationship with Christ Jesus, the rock. They will have put their sins away, by sending them beforehand to the most holy place where Jesus now intercedes for the fallen race. They will have studied the life of Christ and become familiar with the character of God. They will have allowed the Holy Spirit to lead them, teach them, control them, sanctify them. And when the storm comes, because of their diligent preparation, they too, will be able to sleep while the wind blows.
Precious friend, do you desire to be ready for what's ahead? If yes, why don't you join me in renewing your commitment to Christ today by praying this prayer:
"Jesus, thank you for warning me of the storms to come. I want to be ready! I open my heart to You right now. I acknowledge my need Lord, for I am weak and helpless without You. Prepare me for the storms ahead. I desire to be forgiven, cleansed, renewed, reformed, empowered and prepared for the future by Your Holy Spirit. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Lord I believe. Help Thou, my unbelief. In Your Name, I pray. Amen."
"When you lie down, you will not be afraid; When you lie down, your sleep will be sweet" (Proverbs 3:24).
Praying for you,