For years, her voice was one of the signature voices of Southern Gospel music. When Bill Gaither started doing his Homecoming videos, her commanding voice became known to a lot more people than ever before. She’s with the Lord now, but when Vestal Goodman was around she belted out a song, and it captivated audiences. I was actually surprised to learn that Vestal Goodman’s singing didn’t always dominate a room. And whether you’ve ever heard of her or not, it’s amazing how this all came to be. Her husband Howard said that when they first started traveling in itinerant ministry, his wife actually had this little, light soprano voice. Something obviously happened. The storm happened. This near hurricane-strength storm hit Monroe, Louisiana the day they were supposed to have a concert in their big tent. Well, those violent winds destroyed everything, including the tent and their sound system. They moved their meeting to a church that night, and Vestal asked Howard to accompany her on a song she had never sung before publicly. As he started to play that song, he said that’s when it happened! Suddenly he was hearing his wife sing with this great booming voice he’d never heard before – a voice that belted out a Gospel song; not only for the folks in the church that night, but later for millions of people for decades to come.
I’m Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about “The Good News About Your Bad News.”
While most of us will never sing like Vestal Goodman did, the same thing that uncorked her song may be what will help you find a song you’ve never had before. It’s the power of the storm. The same turbulence that can blow away important things in your life can also be God’s instrument to bring out a strength you never knew you had; to unleash from deep inside you a “song” that can touch many other lives unless you let the storm make you stop singing.
No doubt, you’re well acquainted with the pain that one of life’s storms can bring into your life. We all are. You may be in the middle of picking up the pieces of what the storm has destroyed. What we need help seeing is the potential of the storm; the possibilities that the storm brings into our life.
We see that bigger picture of the heavy blows in our life when we read Romans 5:3-5, our word for today from the Word of God. Paul says, “We also rejoice in our suffering” – Really? Yeah. “…because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit.”
The natural response is to focus on what the storm has taken. I get that. The healing response is to focus on what the storm can produce. These verses talk about a storm helping to transform us from a retreating wimp into a persevering warrior; to build or to reveal in us a character we may have never had before; to produce hope – the kind that comes when your hurt makes you a more caring and compassionate person because of what you’ve been through. And then you can give that hope to other broken people. You can give them the comfort you received from Christ.
It’s our storms, more than any other factor in our life, that make us more useful to our Master and then put us in a position to tell others who might not otherwise listen about the storm-proof Savior that we’re hanging onto. They’ll listen to you because of what you’ve been through; which may mean that someone else may be in heaven with you someday because of the hurt you’ve been through. And that will last long after your storm is past. The psalmist tells us that “stormy winds do His bidding” (Psalm 148:8). So would you let God use your storm to produce in you a strength you’ve never had before; a song you’ve never been able to sing before?
The majestic eagle, unlike most other birds, refuses to run and hide when a storm’s approaching. He actually perches on the edge of his nest, waiting for the storm. Because he lets those powerful currents carry him higher than his wings can take him – until he’s actually seeing the sun and looking down on his storm.
Like the eagle, God wants you to use this storm to fly where you’ve never flown before.