The Eye of the Storm

stormToday, I want to visit about faith.  Most of us know Hebrews 11:1 or 6.  Most of us would consider ourselves “people of faith.”  But what about when the storms seem insurmountable?  In other words, it’s easy to have faith while sitting in a church gathering.  What happens when you’re in the middle of “the storm?”

There’s a story of a man named Stephen in our New Testament.  Stephen was one of the early disciples.  In fact, he was picked to “serve tables” and was noted as being “full of faith and of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 6:5).  Luke goes on to prove what he says.  He [Stephen] was “full of grace and power, … doing great wonders and signs among the people” (vs 8).  Everything is going good.  “But they could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking” (vs 10).  And all goes South.  Word spread.  He was blasphemous.  He lied.  He should be stopped!  He’s then taken to the chief priest and has to answer false accusations.

Do you hear the thunder?  The wind has suddenly gotten stronger.  The storm is coming.

So Stephen preaches to those in power.  And gets to this line:  You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit.  As your fathers did, so do you.  (7:51)  Talk about an altar call!  You’d be convicted, right?  I would.

But notice their response.  “They were enraged, and they ground their teeth at him….They cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears and rushed together at him…They cast him out of the city and stoned him” (vss 54, 57, 58).  So I guess no one came down the aisle.  It’s fair to say the storm is evident now.  And Stephen finds himself in the eye.

So how does he respond?  “But he, full of the Holy Sprit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God…And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, ‘Lord Jesus receive my Spirit.’ And falling to his knees he cried with a loud voice, ‘Lord, do not hold this sin against them” (vss 55, 59, 60).  And he died.

So that’s the end?  He died?  Yep.  But I thought those with faith…  I thought God would rescue those who were devoted.  I thought God would show up, rebuke the heathens, and reward the faithful.  But in this case, He doesn’t.  What went wrong?

The answer: nothing!  Stephen died.  Fair enough.  But he also saw Jesus.  He also knew God was with him.  You see, God calls us to be faithful – despite circumstances.  Regardless of what’s going on, we are called to be faithful to the end.  He may show up and deliver us.  But He may not!  Yep, I said it.  He may not.  And there are times we find ourselves in the eye of the storm.  I’m not sure we can say with certainty what we’ll do at the time.  I pray I have a strong faith.  I pray you do.  Regardless, genuine faith is that which may not change circumstances.  It’s faith despite.

So prepare for the storms.  Know that the eye is coming.  Strengthen your faith before the storm comes.  And get ready to see Jesus.

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2 Responses to “The Eye of the Storm”

  1. Faith despite… the coming of the storm… “Be courageous” – “I am with you” – so strengthen your faith – loved this, thank you for sharing!

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