Calm in Calamity

Proverbs 14:32When calamity comes, the wicked are brought down, but even in death the righteous seek refuge in God.”

Calamity: an event causing great and often sudden damage or distress; a disaster.

I’ve never been through a hurricane, I’ve watched the news and seen the videos and personally, I’m glad I’ve never had to ride out such a storm. The closest I’ve come to experiencing a significant storm is when a micro-burst came through our area a few years ago. Within a few minutes we went from sunny weather to black clouds, high winds and torrential rain. Afterwards, trees were laid out like fallen toothpicks and the clean-up began, we have still been cleaning up from that storm.

Calamity is a general term for such a storm. The term can be applied in multiple circumstances, whether it’s earthquakes, tornadoes, pestilence, or famine, calamity can strike unexpectedly and leave devastating results. Following in calamities wake are the questions…why God? Why me? Why did you let this happen? What did I do to deserve this?

Many times these questions are left unanswered and the victims lives in a process of recovery. I’ve had these same questions myself. Living in the Pacific Northwest all of my life, I’ve had it pretty easy when it comes to storms, and yet, storms can look very different depending on your perspective. Just like in the tornado alley of the Midwest, a storm may hit one house and miss another yet at times, it seems as if it was all ordained. Cancer can seem to act in a similar fashion, one person may contract cancer while another remains free of this scourge. Lives may be lived similarly and yet there seems to be no pattern we can trace to understand or gain an explanation.

What can we gain biblically from calamity and why it occurs?

Proverbs 1:27-30When your terror comes like a storm,
And your destruction comes like a whirlwind,
When distress and anguish come upon you. “Then they will call on me, but I will not answer;
They will seek me diligently, but they will not find me.
Because they hated knowledge
And did not choose the fear of the Lord,
They would have none of my counsel
And despised my every rebuke.”

Now, scriptures like this one found in Proverbs, don’t indicate that storms are initiated by God. What it seems to be declaring is for those who consistently reject God’s call, those who never respond to his rebuke, or who do not honor Him as Lord and King, when storms do come and they cry out for God, they will not find Him.’

What does that mean for us?

Storms serve a purpose. When storms arrive, and God promises they will arrive, as we walk in the Spirit, we will see Him in the midst of the storm and will have peace.

When Jesus traveled with His disciples across the Sea of Galilee, a storm arose and the disciples feared for their lives. Jesus awakens and says, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.” The disciples eyes were opened to the magnitude of Jesus’ power over the elements. What does this tell us about God’s command of the elements?

Psalm 107:24-29 —-These see the works of the LORD, and his wonders in the deep.

25For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof.

26They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths: their soul is melted because of trouble.

27They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wits’ end.

28Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses.

God uses storms to draw us closer to Him. He reminds us, we are not in control, He is. He reduces our pride, He causes us to be less reliant on ourselves and others and to place that reliance on Him. When God’s people weather the storm with their eyes on Him, trusting in His love, they come through the storm wiser, stronger, and with more faith.

*What about those who reject the Lord and and His provision of grace?

Proverbs 24:15-16 Do not lie in wait, O wicked man,against the dwelling of the righteous;
Do not plunder his resting place;
For a righteous man may fall seven times
And rise again,
But the wicked shall fall by calamity.”

Calamity that falls upon the wicked leads to their ruin. They strive against the winds, only to find their efforts are in vain. They may come through a storm devastated and chalk it up to bad luck or the wicked may come through a storm unscathed and chalk it up to good luck. Either way, they lose what positive effect a storm can bring…trust in God.

*Jesus brought a storm upon the land when He walked the earth.

Matthew 21:44 And whoever falls on this stone will be broken; but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder.”

The Rock of Christ Jesus is immovable and it crushes. To those who are broken, they learn to die to themselves and be made new in Him. To those who refuse to comply, who continually hold fast and deny His mercy, they eventually give way…His way is like diamond upon sandstone. The diamond will wear the stone down until it submits to it’s shaping. If the stone refuses to submit, it is simply ground to dust…nothing will be left. We can either allow God to shape us through adversity, or we can harden our hearts and be reduced to rubble.

Nova Petropolis, Brazil – July 20, 2019. Sandstone sculpture of a man with bearded face at the Sculpture Park Stones of Silence near Nova Petropolis. A lovely rural town founded by German immigrants.

2 Chronicles 20:9 “If disaster comes upon us—sword, judgment, pestilence, or famine—we will stand before this temple and in Your presence (for Your name is in this temple), and cry out to You in our affliction, and You will hear and save.’

God’s desire is to save us. Jesus declared that His mission was to “seek and to save that which was lost”. We all were His once, we have been lost because of sin, Jesus came to remedy this problem. He came to find us, redeem us from death and make us shine. It’s not easy being shaped, as a mold of clay in the hands of the potter, the shaping is for a purpose and His purposes are good!

Romans 9:19-21You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?” But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?” Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?

*Calamity brings righteousness, honor and glory to the redeemed, but to the unrighteous it forms them into something else! The bitterness, anger, rage, and hardness of heart that is created from those who reject God’s shaping is likened to a vessel of dishonor.

We are all shaped by trials in our lives, what those trials produce is dependent on how we respond.

Isaiah 45:6-7I am the LORD, and there is no other. I form the light and create the darkness; I bring prosperity and create calamity. I, the LORD, do all these things.”

What trials or calamity might you be going through right now? How are you handling these trials? Are you praying that God will stop whatever is currently happening to you? If you are, you may be praying contrary to His will. The Lord is either drawing people from darkness to light, or He is making those who have the light….brighter!

*Keep your eyes on Jesus and not on your circumstances, remember who He is, His character and purpose for your life and then rest in Him. If you do, you will find peace even in the midst of the storm.

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