John Owen, the great Puritan preacher, spoke the following message to his congregation on April 9, 1680:
“You know that for many years, without failing, I have been warning you continually of an approaching calamitous time, and considering the sins that have been the causes of it…I have told you that judgment will begin in the house of God; that God seems to have hardened our hearts from his fear…and that none knows what the power of his wrath will be. In all these things I have foretold you of perilous, distressing, calamitous times…These all now lie at the door, and are entering in upon us.”
God did send his awful judgments on that society. John Owen lived to weep over a flaming holocaust that engulfed London.
Yet, before he ever saw a single one of these calamities take place, Owen faithfully cried out from his pulpit, “I am going to show you how we ought to deport ourselves in and under the distressing calamities that are coming upon us, and may reach, it may be, up to the very neck.”
Beloved, we’re living in just such a time as Owen’s. And in times like these, there is only one response to the coming storm. “The just shall live by faith!”
Owen admonished his people with tears, “Get you an ark—prepare an ark for the safety of you and your families.” Then he added, “The ark is Jesus Christ. There is no other way, no other ark—for Isaiah, the prophet, said of our Lord, ‘And a man [Christ] shall be as an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest, as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadows of a great rock in a weary land.’ That is our ark! Blessed are they that trust only in him…I know of no safety, no deliverance, in the trials and afflictions coming upon the earth, but in believing Christ as our only refuge.”
We may see dangers on all sides, including a devil and his principalities who want to drown our faith in doubts. But we have a fiery guard of angels surrounding us and a God who is under oath to carry us through any disaster we may face.
So let me ask you, do you want to face the coming storm with quiet confidence and peace of mind? Then die today to all your own ways and means of saving yourself and commit the keeping of your life wholly to God’s care. He’s your good, loving Shepherd—and he is faithful to see you through all!
Fix your eyes on Jesus. He alone is our hope.