This morning I thank God for the sight to look ahead even in the darkest moment. My brothers and sisters in the Lord and The Mystical Order we are to look out as watchmen from the hill. Things that make a difference will be seen in the distance. This morning we want to talk about the storms in our own lives. Let us turn to or scripture reading for this message. In the book of St. Mark 4:35-41
Storms are a fact of life. Over the course of our lives we will experience many different types of storms. Some of us have lived through rainstorms, snowstorms, hurricanes, tornadoes, and other types of storms. Some were more severe than others, but each had its own unique features. The challenge in all cases is to weather the storm and make it through safely or without being adversely affected by the storm.
While there are storms that occur in our world, there are also storms that occur in our lives. These storms are very similar to the ones we experience in our world. They are called storms of life. Like the storms in our world, they are formed naturally. The storms of life form when the forces of nature or other people exert their power in our lives and wreak havoc in the atmosphere around us. Two or more elements conspire together and act in concert to pummel and saturate our lives. A major problem with the storms of life is that they disturb the atmosphere around us, and when the storm is severe it tends to create dangerous or life threatening conditions. The calm and tranquility that we were experiencing is transformed into tumult and chaos. One thing upsets every other thing. When things are not going our way, sometimes we feel that others are working spiritual warfare on us. Trouble looms and we run from pillar to post to reverse the spiritual war.
A storm by definition is a disturbance of the normal condition of the atmosphere manifesting itself by winds of unusual force and direction. We will know we are in a life storm when the force of changing winds upsets the normal condition of our lives. When the atmosphere around us has been adversely disturbed and we have no idea which way things are going or where they are going to end up, we are probably in the midst of a life storm. When our lives have been turned upside down by illness, financial difficulty, job loss, relational or marital problems, or some other force that upsets the normal condition of our lives, we are facing a life storm.
I say to you this morning, “All people are either going into a storm, in the midst of a storm, or coming out of a storm.” I want to remind you that even though we may be experiencing a period of calm today, we need to be aware that at some point in the near future a storm of life is brewing on the horizon. I implore you not to get too comfortable because even if we have just come out of a storm, there is another one looming.
Armed with the understanding that we cannot avoid the storms of life, the question we must ask ourselves is how will we respond when we find ourselves in the midst of one of life’s storms? In the fourth chapter of the gospel of Mark, Jesus and His disciples were confronted with this same question. After a time of preaching and teaching, Jesus informed His disciples that they were going to change venue and head out for another location. In order to get to their desired destination they needed to cross over to the other side. They got in the boat and set sail. During the course of their travel they encountered a “Furious squall” (ask any fisherman) that made their trip interesting. This is my understanding of a squall is “Never a single gust, nor a steadily blowing wind, however violent; but a storm breaking forth from black thunder-clouds in furious gusts, with floods of rain, and throwing everything left and right.” Let us be clear this was no passing rain shower, but a full-blown storm with gusting and violent winds accompanied by heavy rain. This storm was so powerful the winds were literally tossing the boat across the water while the water was battering and filling up inside the boat.
Jesus, for His part, was asleep in the back of the boat. The disciples who were gripped by fear and panic ran to where Jesus was woke Him up and made Him aware of the urgency of the situation. Jesus then spoke to the storm the winds died down and the atmosphere became calm. Jesus challenged His disciples to consider that in any storm there are always other options beside fear. While fear is a normal reaction to any life threatening condition or situation, Jesus points out that if He accompanies us on any journey fear is not an option. What other options were available to the disciples, and to believers today?
If we keep in mind that storms are preceded by period of calm it would be wise during these periods to prepare for storms that are looming on the horizon. This much we can bank on, over the course of our lifetime we will face our share of life’s storms. In almost all cases, before a storm hits it will offer some kind of advanced warning. Prior to its arrival we will see the skies around us begin to turn to overcast and things will look and seem dark and bleak. We will notice a change in the atmosphere around us. People’s attitudes and behaviors will begin to change. They may become short, testy, or even combative with us or with others. Opportunities and resources will begin to dry up and diminish. Whereas, we may have had our choice of jobs we now can only find minimum wage dead end opportunities. In sunnier times we always had something left over at the end of the month and could go where we wanted when we wanted or do what we wanted whenever we wanted. Now as the skies turn to overcast what is coming in does not cover what we are paying out and our balance sheet is in the red at the end of every month. The things that we were once physically able to do are now compromised because of illness or diminished capacity. All of these and more are signs that a storm is brewing and we need to prepare for its coming. It is easier to handle things and weather them when we are aware of what’s coming. When we see storms forming it gives us time to brace and prepare ourselves for what is coming. I trust that you will have a great day and we will continue this message tomorrow.
Your servant and brother,
+ Sir Godfrey Gregg
Archbishop and Presiding Prelate
Administrator and Apostolic Head
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