I recently came across an article by Ed Silvoso which I found helpful and believe it is worth sharing some of his insights.
He talks about three different types of storms found in the Bible.
In the first type, believers cry out for help, Jesus rebukes the storm and it stops right away (see Mark 4:39).
The second type is a storm where Jesus invites us to face the winds and walk on water, and when we sink, He rescues us, walks with us back to the boat, and the storm stops (see Matthew 14:22ff).
The third type is the most severe storm because the boat capsizes and everything on it is lost, and the only way to survive is to hang on to a piece of wood from the wreckage to reach the safety of the beach. That was the case with the apostle Paul in Acts 26.
He suggests that COVID-19 and today’s social distress is the third type of storm. Everything we have been sailing on or with—things we took for granted—have been disappearing. Not only in government, education, business, health care and the economy, but even the way we used to do church has washed away, leaving us with little to hang on to but a plank of wood, as was the case with Paul and his fellow passengers.
That piece of wood symbolizes the Cross. When everything else is sinking, we must hang on to it and remind ourselves that we are saved by the blood that Jesus shed on that Cross and propelled by that unsinkable fact and the power it emanates, we will gain the strength to swim to a safe shore.
But make no mistake…once we get there, it will get worse before it gets better, as Paul experienced.
As he was building a fire to warm himself and the other distressed passengers, he was bitten by a viper. This caused the locals to suspect Paul of a crime for which the viper’s attack was divine punishment. But Paul shook the viper off, threw it into the fire, and survived the attack. When the locals saw this, they looked to him as a divine messenger which led to the establishment of a new church in Malta where many came to faith, including the governor when his father was miraculously healed.
The devastation wrought by the storm was used by God to establish the church in a place that otherwise would have been left without one.
In the context of today’s crisis, the fullness of the power of the Cross symbolized by that piece of wood, now that so much is going under, provides the way to not only survive, but to thrive in the storm. To see churches established in ways they would not have been without the crisis. Some storms are tough, tougher than we could ever imagine, but God can cause great things to come out of them. We have to hang on to the cross in the meantime, trusting in God.
Helpful words for today. Let’s be excited about the good things that God is going to produce out of the COVID storm.