“In the eye of the storm, You remain in control. In the middle of the war, You guard my soul. You alone are the anchor, when my sails are torn. Your love surrounds me. In the eye of the storm.” This song by Ryan Stevenson has ministered to me for some time, but it became very real on Friday, March 31. We were trying to get to our house in Little Rock, but a tornado had struck our neighborhood. Roads were blocked, chaos was right before our eyes, and we wondered if we would find our home destroyed. The normal 15 minutes took almost 2 hours, and we even discussed what we would do if our home had had been destroyed.
Finally, we found a way onto our street and there our house sat, unscathed by what was total destruction and devastation less than a half mile away. It was quite surreal as we saw small pockets of homes, trees and belongings untouched by this storm, while just over the ridge the picture was completely different. Our hearts broke for those whose lives had been forever changed and we began focusing on how we could help. This storm was unstoppable and played no favorites as it ripped its path from Little Rock, North Little Rock, Sherwood and Jacksonville. The “Eye of the Storm” had passed, and life would never be quite the same.
There are many storms mentioned in the scriptures, whether they were weather related, financial, threat of war, family fighting, demons and the list seems almost endless. One storm is mentioned in Acts 27, where 276 people were on a boat at sea and their survival was doubtful. This storm was horrific, and the entire crew of seasoned seamen had given up hope. They threw all of the cargo overboard, trying every trick of their trade to make it through. (My, how “stuff” becomes immaterial and unimportant in the eye of the storm.) There was one man, Paul, on the ship who saw the situation from a totally different perspective.
Why did Paul see things differently? Paul was connected directly to the God Who oversees storms and the One Who controls the lives and futures of men. Paul states clearly in verse 25 (ESV), “Therefore, take courage, men, because I believe God that it will turn out exactly as I have been told.” In the eye of the storm, it is faith in God that sustains us in spite of the horrific circumstances that may surround us. Paul had received a word from the Lord and chose to believe God’s Word over everything they were seeing and experiencing in the storm at that moment. Ryan Stevenson said it well, “You alone are the anchor when my sails are torn.”
One local pastor commented on Sunday how all of us are either in the middle of storm, coming out of a storm or about to enter a storm. Pastors, leaders, are you living your life like Paul by placing your trust in God and His Word regardless of how things may appear in your present storm? Paul was not being presumptuous. His faith was founded upon Who God is, not upon the present situation. Are you leading your life and others around you with faith? In the midst of the incredible swirl around you that is tossing waves and bending the mast of the ship, are you hearing from God as to the true situation?
In the presence of all who are watching you and looking to you right now, are you announcing God’s faithful intentions to a faithless world? Are you bringing to the people around you that which will lift them to faith and bring them safely home? Are you singing from your heart this song? “In the eye of the storm, You remain in control. In the middle of the war, You guard my soul. You alone are the anchor, when my sails are torn. Your love surrounds me. In the eye of the storm.” Following Jesus requires constant, conspicuous steps of faith where you will have to step up and say, “Take courage, it will turn out exactly as God has said.”
If you are not leading by faith, why not? Are you being swayed by the winds of life’s storms and find yourself captured in the “vortex of humanistic fear?” Are you like the one man in Scripture who said, “Lord, I believe, help me with my unbelief” (Mark 9:24 NKJV). Stop and worship Him right now and celebrate Who He is. Psalm 34 is very clear that God surrounds us and protects us, delivering us from our trials. We are called upon to sing His praises to all who will hear, even in the eye of the storm. Man of God, whatever storm you may be experiencing right now, those around you need to hear you say with faith, “Take courage, God will make a way.”
Maybe another reason you are not leading in faith is because you are not positioning yourself to hear what God is saying. Have you become so busy and consumed with doing, that you are not taking the necessary time to listen? You must be like Samuel who said, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.” Romans 10:17 (NKJV) makes this progression very clear, “…Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” In spite of being in the eye of the storm Paul fearlessly proclaimed, “Take courage! For I believe God. It will be just as be said” (Acts 27:25 NLT). God has called you to be faithful, but He has also called you to be faith “filled.”
Maybe you are not leading in faith because you have simply chosen to not believe what God is saying. In the eye of the storm, fear is natural and it is easy to begin to question and have doubts. But you must remember Heb. 11:6 (HCSB), “Now without faith it is impossible to please God.” If your heart’s desire (and it should be) is to lead others to Him, you must lead in faith, regardless of the storms. Acts 27:44 states that every single one of the 276 on board that ship safely reached the shore. It was exactly as God said it would be, in the eye of the storm.