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Standing in the Storms of Life (1 of 2)

Mike Connell

Page 4 of 8
So the second kind of storm then, is a God-directed storm; a God-directed storm. This one here, you can't pray your way out of it; you can't work your way out of it; you can't repent your way out of it. You just can't get out of the storm, because God's the one who blew the thing in, in the first place, so that's a challenging storm, another storm. We like to feel we have the power to make things happen, but sometimes we can't; so a classic example of that is in Jonah 1:4, where Jonah had been told by the Lord: go and preach the gospel in Nineveh. He said: I don't like them. In fact, actually I despise them; and I'm not going, and he got on a boat and went the other way; and he went a long way the other way. That's kind of the condition of a lot of the church. God says: go and preach the gospel - I don't want to. I don't want to. It's inconvenient. People are not nice to me. It costs my time and my money, I don't think I want to. I think I'll get on a boat and go somewhere nice. It'd be lovely to go somewhere nice; so that kind of storm, it says: the Lord caused a great wind to blow; so it's definitely true in the Bible, that sometimes the winds that people have in their life, are the winds God causes.

The worst part of it is this: everyone around you gets caught up in your storm. I mean we're meant to advance the kingdom, and bring peace and blessing; that's righteousness, peace, joy and the Holy Ghost, isn't that right? That's what should be flowing out of our lives, so people at your work say: it's great to have you working for us, we see things are right. There's peace, there's joy, it's great we've got you here. Instead of that, they're all in turmoil, because you're in turmoil, because you're totally missing it in God. I think of the marriages where the wife and family are in turmoil because the man's not doing what God says, just deliberately on a boat somewhere else. Well, that storm comes into that boat! Think about that, so some storms God lets happen, and some happen for a purpose. It's actually to realign us with kingdom. It's just to realign us with kingdom. It's to get you realigned, so you don't go off track any further.

I mean, I wonder how many of us here, are going exactly 180 degrees away from where God wanted. You can be sitting in church, and still going 180 degrees away from where God wants you to go, you know. Praise the Lord - but I'm going this way! So we come into worship: oh oh oh praise the Lord! - but I'm going this way; and God says: but I want you going over here. Why aren't you doing this? And we say: oh the worship wasn't very good today. No, of course it wasn't good today, there's a storm blowing, and God's blowing the storm around you. The reason he's blowing around you, is because you're not in a right place in your heart; and God is helping you, because he loves you, to sort something out. So that kind of storm is to bring you to surrender. It's to bring you to surrender, to bring you to the cross; where you stop fighting God any more, and say: God, I'm yielding and letting go.

Usually people are in the belly of the whale before they actually cry out the prayer, when at last the big fish closes in over you, and you're swallowed, going down into darkness, oh how your praying changes. [Laughter] It does, doesn't it? YAAAHH! GOD, help us! I'm really sorry! You know, as that fish is opening up, and you're swimming as fast as you can. It's following you. You know, you do change. [Laughter] The prayers get quite different. They're not sort of long, complicated prayers. It's just a [Sobs loudly] I'm about to go into the belly of whale, of the fish, swallow me up; and there it is, slime; and the last thing he prayed. It was a great prayer he prayed, because it brought him into resurrection. When he let go, and he surrendered, and acknowledged the goodness of God, the bigness of God, and surrendered to God, it got him into resurrection. The fish got a belly ache and chundered him out! Can you just imagine?