Pastor Bob Alderman

First Baptist Church

How do we find God in the midst of tragedy?  Well, we need to know where to look and listen.

1 Kings 19:9-14 “There he came to a cave and lodged in it. And behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and he said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” He said, “I have been very jealous for the Lord, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away.” And he said, “Go out and  stand on the mount before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake.  And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper.  And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And behold, there came a voice to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” ESV

When bad stuff happens, whether it be a tornado, earthquake, wildfire, or any other type of disaster, we often focus all our attention on the problem.

We want to know how big the storm was, what it rated on a scale and how devastated our community is after the storms passing.

We will miss God if we are obsessed by the storm.  God is not in the storm.

Even in the most violent earthquake or devastating hurricane, there is calm and peace just a little ways away.   Moreover, there is peace heading your way.  The storm will soon end.

Take a step back, pray fervently, have a good look around.  God is not in the storm, God is inside of you and the lives of those who now respond to help.

Elijah could have given into the fear he must have felt and ran away; but he would have missed the voice of God.

Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” ESV

Faith makes more sense that human reason and logic, especially in times of trial and trouble.  Trust God, not your thoughts.

Perhaps God was even speaking about earthquakes when He led Isaiah to pen this scripture, Isaiah 54:10 “Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you.” NIV

It sure sounds like Jesus was speaking of a terrible storm when He spoke these words in Matthew 7:24-27 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.  And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.  And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.  And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” ESV

The message?  Build your house on the solid rock of the Word of God!  Then you can face any kind of storm with faith and not fear.

God understands our fears and our doubts.  God also knows that we will have times of terrible tragedy that we doubt we will survive.  He will be there, not with more devastation, but with love.

This should be our cry,

Psalm 69:1-2 “God, God, save me! I’m in over my head, Quicksand under me, swamp water over me; I’m going down for the third time.” The Message

Do you feel like you are about to go under for the final time?  Are you about to give up all hope and give up?  Call out to God!  He will hear your cry and respond to you.  Trust in Him and not yourself.

God is able to do far more than you, or anyone else in the world is able to do.  Trust God.

The great thing about God is that once you have Him, He will always be there for you!  Friends and family may desert you and your boss may fire you; but God will never give up on you!

Romans 8:38-39 “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” ESV

Hebrews 13:5b “for he (God) has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” ESV

Tragedy, trouble and disaster will come and there is nothing we can do to prevent them!  We can be protected from them by the Grace of our Savior Jesus.

Jesus Himself said,

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” ESV-John 14:27

God wants us to call upon Him for help.  God is near those who need Him.  Our very salvation is based on our realizing our need for His Salvation.

Matthew 5:3 “God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.” – Jesus

Are you looking for God?  Stop looking and start listening.  Separate yourself from the noise and distractions of everyday life, and the devastation of the disaster around you and get alone with God.  Open a Bible and read, ask Him for wisdom, help and a relationship with Him that makes a real difference in your life.

God is calling your name.  God is trying to reach you.  Are you able to hear Him?

With God on your side nothing is impossible!  You can weather any storm, survive any disaster and experience real life, safely in the arms of Jesus.

Always remember that God loves you!..and so do I.