I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. Ephesians 3:16
The month of June falls during storm season. For a stretch of two weeks in June 2015, the National Weather Service issued a new watch or warning for some area of the state almost daily. As a storm brews, the air gets heavy. The clouds darken. The wind picks up.
Sometimes storms catch us off guard. “Tragedy happens to others,” we think, “not to me.” And we go on living our lives with the presumption that reality is keeping time with our imagination.
On a Saturday evening, Father’s Day Eve actually, of June 2015, a storm caught a community of farmers in southern Iowa off guard. No one saw it coming. A thunderstorm warning was in effect, but a tornado warning was never issued.
A tornado touched down and followed a five-mile path southeast destroying rooftops, electric poles, barns, and silos along the way. At one farm, the twister needed only ten seconds to cross the yard. In those ten seconds, every building, including two silos, were demolished. Several more farms sustained similar losses. When the storm had passed and the farmers in the area were assessing their damage, it was noticed that only one silo in the entire region was left standing.
“Why?” I asked one of the farm owners on Sunday afternoon.
“Because that silo was filled to the top,” he answered. He went on to explain how only 90 minutes before the storm hit the young farmer who owned the silo, along with his dad, had finished filling it to the brim with chopped hay. Screaming winds at 110 miles per hour failed to shake it.
Filled to the top. These are the words Dr. Luke uses to describe Stephen in the book of Acts. Chapter 6:5 says, “They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit.” Also, in verse 8, “Now Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, did great wonders and miraculous signs among the people.”
The Apostle Paul wanted the same thing for the church in Ephesus. “I pray tht he may strengthen you through his Spirit.” Stephen was full of faith and full of the Holy Spirit. He was also full of God’s grace and power. The result? Strength.
If the farmers of Paul’s day would have used silos, I wonder if he may have pointed to one and asked, “Is your silo full? Do you have Christ within strengthening you? Can your faith withstand the storms that are sure to hit? Are you, like Stephen, filled to the top with God’s grace, his power, and his Holy Spirit?”
He would ask the same of us today. Are we filled to the top with Christ’s presence? Are we filled with God’s grace, power, and Holy Spirit? Can our faith withstand the storms?
Those southern Iowa farmers never expected a storm. They never expected tragedy to happen to them. But it doesn’t really matter anymore. A full silo, just like a full heart, can stand strong through the worst of storms.