The impact of the coronavirus continues to boggle our minds. We see the shutting down of entire nations and the devastation on our livelihoods and economies! And of course there are those experiencing unimaginable grief due to the loss of loved ones. Yet, despite all this we know we must keep going and rebound. My heart and prayers goes out to you all.
Many questions are now arising. How will the economy rebound? How do we progress in unchartered waters? More importantly I ask, ‘How do we rebound if we are down?’ How do we pick ourselves up if we feeling bankrupt? How can we help others feel encouraged if we ourselves are discouraged? How do we reinvent ourselves and business, without hope and optimism? I feel we need to ask fundamentally, ‘How can we become riders of the storm?”
Storm riders travel light
Storm riders know storms. In Acts chapter 27 in the bible, as a severe storm raged, they did what they could to try to stay afloat. The unnecessary loads were discarded. It actually meant dumping things that were important, but they had no choice. They needed to travel light to get through.
Unfortunately, in this season we may have to let go of the some of the things we are accustomed to. Storm riders accept they must relinquish the excess, the trimmings, and the pleasures to get through the storm. What are our true essentials? Some may say, ‘football.’ Another, ‘Having a second house.’ Still another, ‘A new golf bag’. Are they really? We must get back to the basics and secure our boat to ride through the storm.
So for example, confinement means family time and prioritizing relationships. It’s time to go back to the essentials of actively loving, parenting, and training our kids, in this new on-line-crazed world. It can also mean coming to terms with who we are really are. Are some tensions flaring up at home? It’s essential to be a loving, responsible spouse. We need to look to God for help, who loves us, and seek help to discard our baggage if needed.
Storm riders don’t just ride on adrenaline
In Acts chapter 27 they became driven along by the storm and many had not eaten for many days. They had a burst of energy to tackle the issues. Then, they realised it would last a lot longer than they could handle. They not only ran out of adrenaline and became exhausted but, had lost morale. They became hopeless. Running on adrenaline and in hopelessness is not sustainable in the medium or long term.
Paul on the other hand, who was probably helping out, but was also seeking God. He encountered Him powerfully and was supernaturally strengthened. He was told by an angel, ‘You must testify before Cezar.’ Friends, as Paul sought God in the storm, he rode it. He was revived by this encounter with God’s presence. He had longed to share the good news to Rome and Cezar, knowing it was part of his destiny.
Importantly, that meant he knew he would survive also. He found living hope. Proverbs chapter 13 and verse 12, says ‘Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.’ God helps storm riders to be renewed in vigour to accomplish his purposes.
True storm riders persevere on and on
In Acts chapter 27 many had given up, with the exception of Paul, the storm rider. There were close to three hundred Roman soldiers on board. No doubt, they were all were seasoned, mighty men, but not qualified to ride the storm! Their strength gave out and their human frailty was exposed. They struggled to endure as they ‘gave up all hope of being saved.’
Paul on the other hand, a humble prisoner, rallied them all together to have communion and exhorted them all to take courage! He testified of his supernatural encounter, and how they would all survive and it helped them all find strength to eat.
Paul wrote in Romans chapter 5 and verse 3, ‘we rejoice in our sufferings as it produces perseverance.’ It means literally, to rejoice or boast in sufferings or pressures, difficulties, hardships or afflictions, because is causes perseverance or endurance, or resilience to endure under the trial, to reach another level. Storm riders face great tribulation require great endurance. God sustains resilience. Partner on with him to find that new vaccine, new job, new solution and new life!
Storm riders peruse God’s seal of approval
Paul explains he could rejoice in his sufferings and boast in them because he saw God’s power and greatness make up for his inadequacy. He shares in Romans chapter 3 that all the perseverance led to character. More literally he discovered God’s seal of approval; he was found proven and authentic. That is the storm rider’s destination and confirming sign. We will have the midas tough in all we do! God is good.
Friends, let us rejoice in our stormy life seasons. God is bringing us all to another level, where his grace can be upon us to shine for Him. Paul said that, ‘This hope does not disappoint’. It works! We can grow and arise. God wants to help us; his purpose is that we know his great love. “God has shed his love abroad, with the Holy Spirit, he has given us.” Perseverance releases destiny; it’s all by his love.
I took this photo of the penguins just prior to dawn. A storm was approaching as I set up. And I scrambled to wait for the birds, it began to rain. What an exhilarating experience and feeling it is to be a storm rider!
Mark Rusic was born in Melbourne and has a bachelor in Mechanical engineering. He became a missionary to many suffering hardship and poverty on Madura Island in Indonesia, for about 4 years, from 1990. He has worked as a pastor-life coach over the past 17 years in Hope International Ministries. Mark is also an artist and author and has also written two books which are a collection of his own paintings, photography and poetry. These include ‘Iconic Melbourne of Australia’ and ‘Iconic Animals of Australia with a voice to release your giant potential within.’ He has been counted among some of Australia’s best-selling authors since 2014 and is a public speaker in various community groups, organisations and churches. He has a special grace to help people find and release why they were born. See iconiccolours.com for more information about Mark’s services.