Thursday, December 1, 2011

Calm in a storm

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.” Matthew 8:26 (NIV)

In order for me to fully understand the meaning of this story in the bible, I needed to go back a few verses. New disciples were joining Jesus at this point as he was in his years of ministry and travel. That evening Jesus was healing demon-afflicted people, curing the ill, and generally ministering to the masses. After he was through, a curious crowd gathered and Jesus told his disciples to get him across the lake for (I imagine) a bit of peace. They got in the boat and an exhausted Jesus fell asleep. A storm blew up and the disciples woke him up, saying "Lord, save us. We are going to drown!". (vs 25) He rebukes the disciples, rebukes the waves, and completely amazes everyone. "Who is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him?" (vs 27). The disciples had just seen him that same evening drive demons out of 2 men and force the demons into pigs who jumped off a cliff to die. That is not something you see everyday. Yet, when they encountered a storm that directly affected their lives, they feared the worst. They panicked.

How many times do we watch Jesus work in our lives and the lives of others? We are completely amazed as we watch people ministered to. We turn around, a storm blows up in our lives, and we completely panic. Save us Lord! We are drowning! My goodness, how many times I have prayed a form of that prayer. Many times the Lord has raised his hand and calmed a storm in our lives and I am always astounded by his power.

However, Christ doesn't always "calm the storm" in the way that we would like. Sometimes really terrible things happen and our fears come true. Our boat capsizes in the storm. Then what do we do? Do we assume that Jesus wouldn't wake up like he did that evening on the boat and so he slept through the storm? That he looked at the thunder and lightning and left us to weather it alone? These are the times that our faith comes hard. We have to know that we know the character of God-that He loves us and wants the best for us. Even more than that, he desires our obedience. In some of the very worst storms of life, obedience may just mean obeying His command to rest in Him. Sometimes that's the most we can do.

Just remember that even in the worst storms of life-the hopeless diagnosis, the financial crisis, the unexpected crushing loss-Jesus is not sleeping. He is calming storms around us and inviting us to rest in Him. His shoulders are broad enough for our anxieties and fears and he wants to carry them for us. Grow my faith, Lord!

Love to you and see you tomorrow!

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