Troubled Waters

3 Kinds of Storms—And Where They Come From

By Charles F. Stanley
  • January 12, 2018

The underlying foundation for understanding the storms of life is found in Psalm 103:19, “The Lord has established His throne in the heavens, and His sovereignty rules over all.” And in Psalm 107:23-32, a descriptive example of a literal storm provides insight into the Lord’s role in the various storms that come our way.

The scene is a ship at sea battling the wind and waves. In the midst of misery and helplessness, the sailors call out for God’s help, and He brings them out of their distress by calming the storm and safely guiding them to their desired haven. In response, they thank the Lord for His lovingkindness and wondrous deliverance and extol Him to the people.

Was God in the storm? According to verse 25, the answer is yes: “For He spoke and raised up a stormy wind, which lifted up the waves of the sea.” Sometimes the Lord interrupts our lives by sending turbulence, but on other occasions, we create the chaotic conditions with our sinful choices. Our troubles could also be the result of natural occurrences. No matter what the source, ultimately, God is in every situation because His sovereignty rules over all. Let’s consider what kind of storms we might face and where they would come from.

There are three kinds of storms:

  1. Natural storms. Hurricanes, floods, and tornadoes fall into this category.

  2. Emotional storms. These are often worse than physical storms and include the following situations:

  • Poor health.

  • Financial struggles. Economic downturns or the loss of a job challenge us to believe the Bible and trust God to comfort, support, and provide.

  • Relationship difficulties. Stormy conditions in the home or feelings of rejection cause stress and grind at our hearts.

  1. Spiritual storms. Disobeying God and choosing our own way results in spiritual turbulence as the Holy Spirit convicts us. Being outside His will changes our conduct, conversation, and character, making us at odds with what the Lord wants us to be.

What are the sources of our storms?

Ourselves. We can bring trouble upon ourselves with willful disobedience. As a result, we may become fearful or anxious, feel distant from God, blame others, become useless for God’s work, or ruin our testimony.

The devil. Satan can create a storm through temptation. David’s sin recorded in 1 Samuel 11:1-5 shows the progression of temptation.

  • David was where he shouldn’t have been. When his army went to battle, David stayed at home instead of taking his place with his troops.

  • He saw what he should not have seen. As he walked on his rooftop, he saw a woman bathing. Instead of turning away, he kept looking.

  • His look turned to lust, and he sent for her.

  • His lust gave birth to an act of sin.

David was in the wrong place, at the wrong time, with a wrong look, wrong thoughts, and the power to act on his lust. The result was pregnancy, a continuing course of sinful actions, and painful consequences that lasted a lifetime.

God. Sometimes the Lord brings storms into our lives for His divine purposes. Although they are painful, God is motivated by His love for us.

What kind of storms are you facing today? Whether they’re of your own making or not, know that God is in control. When we keep our eyes focused on the horizon of His eternal love and sovereignty, we can ride out the waves that come our way—and come out for the better on the other side.

This article is adapted from the Sermon Notes for Dr. Stanley’s message “Life's Passing Storms,” which aired this past weekend on TV.

Related Topics:  Temptation  |  Sexual Sin  |  Discouragement

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19 The LORD has established His throne in the heavens, And His sovereignty rules over all.

23 Those who go down to the sea in ships, Who do business on great waters;

24 They have seen the works of the LORD, And His wonders in the deep.

25 For He spoke and raised up a stormy wind, Which lifted up the waves of the sea.

26 They rose up to the heavens, they went down to the depths; Their soul melted away in their misery.

27 They reeled and staggered like a drunken man, And were at their wits' end.

28 Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, And He brought them out of their distresses.

29 He caused the storm to be still, So that the waves of the sea were hushed.

30 Then they were glad because they were quiet, So He guided them to their desired haven.

31 Let them give thanks to the LORD for His lovingkindness, And for His wonders to the sons of men!

32 Let them extol Him also in the congregation of the people, And praise Him at the seat of the elders.

1 Now Nahash the Ammonite came up and besieged Jabesh-gilead; and all the men of Jabesh said to Nahash, Make a covenant with us and we will serve you."

2 But Nahash the Ammonite said to them, I will make it with you on this condition, that I will gouge out the right eye of every one of you, thus I will make it a reproach on all Israel."

3 The elders of Jabesh said to him, Let us alone for seven days, that we may send messengers throughout the territory of Israel. Then, if there is no one to deliver us, we will come out to you."

4 Then the messengers came to Gibeah of Saul and spoke these words in the hearing of the people, and all the people lifted up their voices and wept.

5 Now behold, Saul was coming from the field behind the oxen, and he said, What is the matter with the people that they weep?" So they related to him the words of the men of Jabesh.

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