Proverbs 14:32 “When calamity comes, the wicked are brought down, but even in death the righteous seek refuge in God.”
Calamity can be characterized as an event causing great and often sudden damage or distress; you can say a disaster is a calamity that occurred.
I’ve never been through a hurricane, I’ve watched the news and 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 microburst 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 calamity’s wake are the questions…why God? Why me? Why did you let this happen? What did I do to deserve this?
If you’ve ever asked God these questions, your not alone.
Numbers 11:11 “He asked the LORD, “Why have you brought this trouble on your servant? What have I done to displease you that you put the burden of all these people on me?”
Like Moses, we are often lacking understanding as to why God acts as He does. Many times the questions are left unanswered and the victims of a calamity left to recover. 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 1:27-30 “When 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.”
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 but they will do not find Him.’
What does that mean for us?
Storms serve a purpose. When storms arrive, and God promises they will come, 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 was displayed.
When we witness God’s authority over the elements, we begin to see they are not as out of control as we might have thought.
Psalm 107:24-29 —-These see the works of the LORD, and his wonders in the deep. For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof. They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths: their soul is melted because of trouble. They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wits’ end. Then 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 while 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 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 spiritual storm upon the land when He came 2000 years ago.
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. For those who have been redeemed, they’ve learned that to die to themselves and be made new, they have to trust in the Lord.
For those who refuse to accept Christ , who continually hold to their own self righteousness and deny His mercy, they eventually harden their hearts toward God. We can either allow God to shape us through adversity, or we can keep our hardened hearts and be reduced to ashes.
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 were formed by Him, we were separated by sin, then Jesus came and remedied our 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 9:19-21 “You 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 those redeemed, but to the unrighteous it forms them into something else! The bitterness, anger, rage, and hardness of heart that is created in 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 to Jesus.
Isaiah 45:6-7 “I 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.”
Which trials or calamity are you 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 and that He loves you. Remember God’s character and purpose for your life and then rest in Him and trust Him.
If you learn to trust Him, you will find peace even in the midst of the storm.