Imagine standing on the edge of a field facing a storm. The air is charged with tension, foreshadowing the thunder and lighting. The rain hasn’t begun to pour yet, but in the not far off the greatest threat of the storm seems to be heading your way. The tornado is ripping at the ground, pulling up trees, sucking up rocks and other debris. The wind whips at your hair and you know there is no chance of escape.
When you look to where Jesus is He is unshaken. He has no fear, His isn’t panicking, He isn’t encouraging you to move; He knows everything will be alright. Our Lord has the capability of calming storms and, if it be His will, He can stop this one. One question must be asked, however, in a situation like this: if He doesn’t calm the storm, will you still trust Him?
“Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, ‘Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” He replied, ‘You of little faith, why are you so afraid?’ Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. The men were amazed and asked, ‘What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!’Matthew 8:23-27
Life is filled with several storms of different types. Some are small with some rain here and a thunder clap there. Yet, others are large, producing winds both hot and cold that combined into a terrifying, spinning funnel of mass destruction. The latter will threaten to rock you to your core, shatter everything around you, and leave you weak, begging to be saved. It’s easy for us to handle the small storms; tomorrow is a new day. It’s the larger storms that worry us when, in all actuality, they shouldn’t.
The storms of our lives can come from us when we refuse to let go of anger or when we cling to grief so much we become bitter. Storms can also come from the enemy who never stops trying to destroy us and our faith in Christ. Peace, on the other hand, comes from Jesus. If we focus solely on Him we will find refuge from the storms. God can even use our experience through these trials for good.
“You planned evil against me; God planned it for good.”Genesis 50:20a
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.”James 1:2-3
“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”Romans 5:3-5
It isn’t going to be easy, it might even be messy. Jesus didn’t promise everything would be okay once we devoted our hearts to Him and promised to follow Him. Instead, He warned us that following Him was no easy path. It’s a path that leads us to face persecution, ridicule, and troubles. The lives of the disciples and Apostle Paul are examples of this. Peter was crucified upside-down. John was left isolated on an island. Paul was flogged, beaten, chased out of cities, thrown into prison, and beheaded. All these things were done to those who followed Christ and proclaimed the Gospel. In this evil world, such things are inevitable for those of the faith.
Thankfully, this isn’t the end. For if one’s faith is in Jesus Christ (confessing with one’s mouth ‘Jesus is Lord’ and believing with one’s heart God raised Him from the dead), then one will leave this evil place some day and walk into the loving arms of the Lord, experiencing eternal life with our loving Father. While we are here, though, we will face the storms.
I can only imagine what it was like on that boat. The scriptures don’t go into too much detail about what happened. For all we know, when the storm hit and the waves started churning, one of the disciples might have started to be a little dramatic in their panic. They might have clutched two of their nearby friends, wailing ‘we’re all going to die!’. Someone might have been biting their nails. Another might have been paddling with all his strength to try to make it to shore. When nothing seemed to work by their own doing, they turned to Jesus who slept through it all (He must have been one heavy sleeper) and woke Him up to ask for help.
I don’t know about you but when faced with a storm, if Jesus is a sleep then I have nothing to worry about. If He who knows all is unperturbed by what has arrived, then we can rest assured everything will be okay.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”John 14:27