God's Purpose in the Storm
Charles F. Stanley
Scripture: Romans 8:28
"For years we have witnessed on television the devastation from storms in other parts of the world. Now this same devastation is occurring in America as recent hurricanes have pounded our shores. But as I think of these storms, I also think about the storms that occur in people's lives every day across this country. Storms that are very private and personal, but just as destructive. So that's what I want to talk about today as we look at God's purposes in the storms of life that have nothing to do with the weather." Charles Stanley
Romans 8:28 is often misunderstood. God CAUSES everything to work together for good, but we must respond properly. We must look to Him and ask - "What are You doing in my life?"
Six purposes that motivate God for allowing the storms of life:
1. Cleansing - to get our attention Psalm 119:67, 71
2. Companionship - God desires that we walk in an intimate relationship with Him. We must be reading His Word, listening to Him; talking to Him and seeking His mind and heart to find His will for our life. Psalm 57:1-3 Psalm 63:6-8
3. Conformity - conforming us to the likeness of His Son
4. Comfort - God does not always want to just do something IN us, but often His ultimate goal is to do something THROUGH us. But if you want to be a blessing to others, you have to be broken. A vessel that's unbroken has very limited use. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
As we go through storms, He's preparing us to be a blessing to others who go through similar difficulties. We must come to the place where we can say "Not my will but Thy will be done." When God breaks your heart He makes you useful but He also props open the door of your heart. You become very sensitive to people around you who are hurting. You don't even have to open the door when encounter one who is hurting…it automatically opens and you become a walking valuable vessel and tool in the hand of God. The deeper the valley, the darker the storm and the more intense the pain, the greater the preparation of your heart to be a blessing to other people.
5. Convictions - pain and suffering solidifies your conviction that God is sufficient, He is with you and He will take care of you.
6. Change - Paul is a great example of one who changed when God got his attention on the Damascus Road. God had tried once before to get his attention at the stoning of Stephen, but it took three days of total blindness and helplessness for change to occur.
The intensity of the storm and the length and depth of the valley can be determined by God based on our rebellion and indifference. But also the depth of brokenness required can be equaled to the degree of usefulness God sees in His purpose for us.