Meteorologists use color codes to describe the severity of storms. They range from code red, the worst, to light yellow, the least powerful.
I sometimes wonder how we’ve made it this far through the many storms of life without color-coded warnings. Imagine what life would be like if colors appeared in the sky for some of the personal storms we encounter.
For example, green could indicate incoming trouble, such as getting ready to leave for work and finding you’ve misplaced your car keys or wallet. A yellow-coded storm would be when the car won’t start and you’re already late for an important appointment. An orange-coded storm would be an accident in which you or a family member experience some life-threatening trauma. Red-coded storms, would be those no one wants to experience, for when they hit, life just stops. Nothing else seems to matter.
God sometimes allows fierce, violent storms of life.
Four code-red storms are recorded in Scripture, each representing experiences we’ve either had or will encounter while waiting for the second coming of Christ.
The first is in the Old Testament book of Jonah, in which the Lord Himself hurled a great wind on the sea so that the ship was about to break up. What do we do when it’s God, not Satan or nature, who hurls a huge storm into our lives? Do we drown in despair, or will we sing, “Purify my heart, let me be as gold and precious silver”?
The other three code-red storms are in the New Testament. One occurred when Jesus walked on water to meet His disciples (Matt. 14:22-33). One involved the apostle Paul on his way to Rome for trial (Acts 27).
The fourth code-red storm is so significant it’s reported in three of the four Gospels (Matt. 8:23-27; Mark 4:35-41; Luke 8:22-25). Jesus’ disciples felt that they were going to perish in a storm on the lake.
Here are a few lessons we can learn from those storms:
Like Jesus, we have to know when to leave the crowd behind, not just people who disrupt peaceful protests, but also those with personal doubts, fears, anger, and attachments to things or persons without whom they think they can’t be happy.
Remember, even when Jesus was asleep, in His divinity God was still very present. “He who watches over you will not slumber” (Ps. 121:3).
When code-red storms of life come, especially when life seems to be going fine, before accusing Jesus of not caring, we must ask, “Where is our faith?”
God sometimes allows fierce, violent storms of life. If you don’t know that yet, ask the Christians whose loved ones are numbered among the more than 100,000 U.S. victims of COVID-19, or the families of those whose lives were snuffed out because of the color of their skin.
The apostle Paul said, “No temptation [not suffering or untimely death, but temptation] has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted [not suffer, “tempted”], he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it” (1 Cor. 10:13).
Hyveth Williams is a professor at the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary at Andrews University.