Ask Donnell - How Do I Hear God In A Storm?

Ask Donnell - How Do I Hear God In A Storm?

Welcome to Part 23 of this blog series on The Will of God. If you don't know God's Will for your life or you don't know what's going on around you, this blog series is for you. For Part 22, "The Art Of Hearing From God" click here.

We received the following question from Martin;

"My question is ”How do we hear God through the storms?” and ”Can we tell life’s situations and challenges “Be Still!!!” ?” I know we can because we have the authority in him but how do we actually do it?"

Martin, this question is awesome. I'm not going to beat around the bush with you today so I'll get straight to the point. The first thing you have to do is define the cause of the storm. There are two general causes of storms; obedience and disobedience. If you don't know what type of storm you are in, you need to find out. Why? A different response is required for each particular storm. If you don't know that, you might suffer much more than you need to.

1) Storms of Disobedience

Isaiah 48:17-19(NLT) - This is what the Lord says— your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: "I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is good for you and leads you along the paths you should follow. 18 Oh, that you had listened to my commands! Then you would have had peace flowing like a gentle river and righteousness rolling over you like waves in the sea. 19 Your descendants would have been like the sands along the seashore— too many to count! There would have been no need for your destruction, or for cutting off your family name.”

In this type of storm God spoke to you already and you chose to disobey. If you're in the middle of this type of storm and you expect to hear from God you'll have to keep waiting. God's already spoken so there is nothing else for Him to say. If He says anything it will either be a reminder of what He has already said or something like; "Repent!" This is not the type of storm you want to go through. You want to get out as soon as possible.

John 16:8 says that The Holy Spirit will bring conviction of sin to the world. If you're a Christian, Romans 8:9 says The Holy Spirit lives in you. Therefore, He'll also bring conviction to your heart if you're in disobedience. Nonetheless, don't expect to hear anything profound in this storm. You already know what God has to say. Here's an example.

Case Study #1 - Jonah

Ask Donnell - How Do I Hear God In A Storm?

Jonah 1:1-12(NKJV) - 1 Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, 2 “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me.” 3 But Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa, and found a ship going to Tarshish; so he paid the fare, and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. 4 But the Lord sent out a great wind on the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship was about to be broken up. 5 Then the mariners were afraid; and every man cried out to his god, and threw the cargo that was in the ship into the sea, to lighten the load. But Jonah had gone down into the lowest parts of the ship, had lain down, and was fast asleep. 6 So the captain came to him, and said to him, “What do you mean, sleeper? Arise, call on your God; perhaps your God will consider us, so that we may not perish.” 7 And they said to one another, “Come, let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this trouble has come upon us.” So they cast lots, and the lot fell on Jonah. 8 Then they said to him, “Please tell us! For whose cause is this trouble upon us? What is your occupation? And where do you come from? What is your country? And of what people are you?” 9 So he said to them, “I am a Hebrew; and I fear the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.” 10 Then the men were exceedingly afraid, and said to him, “Why have you done this?” For the men knew that he fled from the presence of the Lord, because he had told them. 11 Then they said to him, “What shall we do to you that the sea may be calm for us?”—for the sea was growing more tempestuous. 12 And he said to them, “Pick me up and throw me into the sea; then the sea will become calm for you. For I know that this great tempest is because of me.” 13 Nevertheless the men rowed hard to return to land, but they could not, for the sea continued to grow more tempestuous against them. 14 Therefore they cried out to the Lord and said, “We pray, O Lord, please do not let us perish for this man’s life, and do not charge us with innocent blood; for You, O Lord, have done as it pleased You.” 15 So they picked up Jonah and threw him into the sea, and the sea ceased from its raging. 16 Then the men feared the Lord exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice to the Lord and took vows. 17 Now the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.

Jonah heard from God and disobeyed so God spoke to Him through the storm of disobedience. What did God say? OBEY OR PAY! So Jonah heard Him loud and clear! There's only one way out of this type of storm. Confession and repentance. According to 1 John 1:9, if you confess your sins, God is faithful and just to forgive you. There's nothing noble about a storm of disobedience and there's nothing to shout about. You don't praise through this storm until it stops. It won't stop until you stop disobeying God.

However, pay close attention to Jonah 1:17. God had prepared a great fish ahead of time to swallow Jonah. Why is this important? God had a plan.

1 Corinthians 10:13(KJV) - There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

In a storm of disobedience, God creates a way of escape which you can access when you're ready to repent. He did it for Jonah, He'll do it for you.

Even though Jonah was out of The Will of God, the mercy of God was still extended to him. God always creates a way of escape out of storms of disobedience. You don't go through these storms expecting to learn valuable lessons. You look for a way of escape and get out as soon as you can. There's nothing to learn in this storm except, "Don't disobey God!" These storms can be avoided so avoid them. There's no need to go through hell on earth because you reject God's directions.

Ask Donnell - How Do I Hear God In A Storm?

2) Storms Of Obedience

John 16:33(KJV) - These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

This type of storm is inevitable. We live in a fallen world so we can expect to constantly run into storms. It's in these storms that your faith is tested. I heard someone wise once say; "A faith that has not been tested cannot be trusted." You can actually draw closer to God in the midst of trials and hear from God clearly if you choose to tune in. Now, let me show you something fascinating in a very familiar scripture.

James 1:2-8(KJV) - My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; 3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. 4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. 5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. 6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. 7 For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. 8 A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.

Do you know that the verses in James 1:2-8 were meant to be read together? Most times, we pull out verses 2-4 and teach entire sermons on tribulation and temptations. We tell people that life is supposed to be hard, God never said it would be easy. We scream; "Hallelujah! Praise God!" However, there's a reason why verses 5-8 followed directly after.

In the middle of tribulation you need to ask God for wisdom. When you can't see your way and your patience is being tested you have to say; "Lord, I'm confused. I don't know what to do here. I need wisdom." The Bible says that He will speak to you and give you the wisdom. However, only on one condition. You have to ask in faith.

Matthew 8:26(KJV) - And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.

Fear and faith can't exist together so you're either going to be in a state of fear in the middle of a storm or faith. If you're in a state of fear you will receive nothing from The Lord because it will cancel out your faith. You won't get wisdom. You won't know what to do. You won't hear God. If you're fearful, expect to remain in the storm for a while. So to make it simple, in the middle of a storm of obedience, ask God for wisdom to navigate the storm. You won't always get a quick exit like you would from a storm of disobedience but you will get peace on the inside to ride it out if you have to.

Ask Donnell - How Do I Hear God In A Storm?

Case Study #2 - Jesus and His Disciples

Matthew 8:23-27(KJV) - Now when He got into a boat, His disciples followed Him. 24 And suddenly a great tempest arose on the sea, so that the boat was covered with the waves. But He was asleep. 25 Then His disciples came to Him and awoke Him, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!” 26 But He said to them, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. 27 So the men marveled, saying, “Who can this be, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?”

Mark 4:35-41(KJV) - And the same day, when the even was come, he saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side. 36 And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships. 37 And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. 38 And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? 39 And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40 And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith? 41 And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?

The most important thing you can have in a storm is faith. What is faith? Complete trust in the invisible evidence provided by The Word of God confirmed by commensurate action (Hebrews 11:1, Romans 10:17 and James 2:17, 18). The same power which was available to Jesus was available to His disciples but He had enough faith to calm the storms and they did not.

That's why when you go through storms of obedience you have to look for ways to build your faith. It's your faith that allows you to execute your authority. Every Christian has the same authority but we all don't operate in the same level of faith. Go back to yesterday's blog on hearing from God and you'll realize that the first step is the written Word of God. Your faith comes by hearing and hearing by The Word of God.

In the middle of a storm, God will speak to you. He will speak through scriptures. He will speak through your pastor. He will speak through other people. He will speak through signs. Whatever it takes, if you ask God for wisdom in a storm, He will speak. When you hear from God, if you have faith in what you hear then and only then can you execute your authority in the face of the storm. The name of Jesus gives you authority but faith is what you need to execute it.

Ask Donnell - How Do I Hear God In A Storm?

3) Storms of Disobedience and Obedience Combined

Sometimes you may be caught in a special type of storm that may be a result both of disobedience and obedience. How is that possible? You may be in obedience while someone else may be in disobedience and because you are together you both go through the storm. For example, Jonah was in disobedience and all the other guys in the ship had to go through the storm because of him. Now, here's an example that clearly shows this type of storm.

Case Study #3 - Paul

Acts 27:9-26(NLT) - We had lost a lot of time. The weather was becoming dangerous for sea travel because it was so late in the fall, and Paul spoke to the ship’s officers about it. 10 “Men,” he said, “I believe there is trouble ahead if we go on—shipwreck, loss of cargo, and danger to our lives as well.” 11 But the officer in charge of the prisoners listened more to the ship’s captain and the owner than to Paul. 12 And since Fair Havens was an exposed harbor—a poor place to spend the winter—most of the crew wanted to go on to Phoenix, farther up the coast of Crete, and spend the winter there. Phoenix was a good harbor with only a southwest and northwest exposure. 13 When a light wind began blowing from the south, the sailors thought they could make it. So they pulled up anchor and sailed close to the shore of Crete. 14 But the weather changed abruptly, and a wind of typhoon strength (called a “northeaster”) burst across the island and blew us out to sea. 15 The sailors couldn’t turn the ship into the wind, so they gave up and let it run before the gale. 16 We sailed along the sheltered side of a small island named Cauda, where with great difficulty we hoisted aboard the lifeboat being towed behind us. 17 Then the sailors bound ropes around the hull of the ship to strengthen it. They were afraid of being driven across to the sandbars of Syrtis off the African coast, so they lowered the sea anchor to slow the ship and were driven before the wind. 18 The next day, as gale-force winds continued to batter the ship, the crew began throwing the cargo overboard. 19 The following day they even took some of the ship’s gear and threw it overboard. 20 The terrible storm raged for many days, blotting out the sun and the stars, until at last all hope was gone. 21 No one had eaten for a long time. Finally, Paul called the crew together and said, “Men, you should have listened to me in the first place and not left Crete. You would have avoided all this damage and loss. 22 But take courage! None of you will lose your lives, even though the ship will go down. 23 For last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me, 24 and he said, ‘Don’t be afraid, Paul, for you will surely stand trial before Caesar! What’s more, God in his goodness has granted safety to everyone sailing with you.’ 25 So take courage! For I believe God. It will be just as he said. 26 But we will be shipwrecked on an island.”

The sailors didn't listen to Paul so they ended up in a storm of disobedience that could have been avoided. It was not Paul's fault that they were in that situation but Paul was in the same ship. However, even in the midst of the storm, God sent an angel to speak to Paul. It was this Word which saved them. Had Paul not been there they would have probably died. Paul was confident in the storm because He received a Word from The Lord because he was positioned to hear from God. He was doing God's Will, living in obedience and most importantly, he was in faith because he believed God. As a result, they all made it through the storm and nobody died. Therefore, you must do the same.

Since faith comes from God's Word. Meditate in God's Word and practice living by it daily so your faith will be ready for the storm. If you're already in the storm, ask for wisdom. God will answer. He gave you His Word on that in James 1. If you can't hear from Him yourself, spend time around people who hear from God, go to church, read books, just position yourself where you can hear from God. He'll speak through someone. If you're in faith you will hear God. Also, if God gave you a Word before the stom that means He gave you The Word to take you through the storm. Let it anchor your soul. There's so much more I can say but I'll stop here. The Lord has spoken!

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