Into the Storm
As thousands were fleeing the Carolinas in September of 2018 to stay out of the path of Hurricane Florence, my family and I flew into South Carolina just a couple of days before the hurricane was to reach land. Though we would be over 100 miles inland from the coastal areas expected to be impacted, the thought still crossed my mind numerous times to simply reschedule and visit some other time. Concerns of flooding, destruction, and power outages were just the beginning. I could give you several reasons that would make a case for either choice, but ultimately, I packed our bags, printed the tickets, and loaded up our allowed personal items for the two flights it'd take to get there. Somewhere in the middle of all the hustle, bustle, and checklists, I wondered... wouldn’t it be so nice if we could reschedule or just opt-out of the storms we will face in life?
Personally, I find Jesus' interactions with storms quite fascinating. In Mark 4:35-41, Jesus was sleeping through the storm that terrified every other person on the boat to their core. He was sleeping so soundly that they had to wake Him to let Him know that they were all about to die. It certainly seemed like a perfect time to postpone the storm, right? Their ministry was just getting started, Jesus was performing miracles, and hearts were being transformed by His great love. Certainly, this wasn't the best time for Jesus and his disciples to perish. But alas, the storm came anyway. They likely woke Jesus up because they were hoping He'd save the day, but I understand the type of fears that prompted them to ask Him in that moment, "Don't you care?" They probably thought Jesus had no idea what was going on and they questioned why He'd let such a thing happen.
Have you ever been in the middle of a fierce trial in your life and looked up to the heavens and asked, "God, don't you care?" It's not something we like to admit because it shows our humanness, our lack of faith, and our vulnerability. But we ask God anyway when the going gets tough. We wonder if He really knows what we're going through, and why He'd let allow such trial and pain. The storms are unavoidable in life, but it's up to you if you'll plead that it be delayed and show little faith, or if you'll face it with confidence in the redeeming power of Christ, trusting that you will grow stronger and more faithful because of what you've come through.
Jesus did not run from the storm, He did not wish it away, or cower in fear at its enormity. Instead, He rebuked the winds of the storm. He faced the storm and overcame it. The storm miraculously and instantly calmed and quieted down. It was over. Yes, He cared for them. Yes, He awoke to save them and fight for them. With such a grand miracle taking place, I urge you not to stop reading there. What Jesus asked His disciples afterward was intense and He got right to the heart of the matter: "Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?"
What will it take for you to be able to maintain your faith as you head into the storm? What moves us from hoping we can just miss the storm to speaking to the storm and reminding the trial Who is in charge? Here's what we learn about practicing our faith during life's storms from this account.
1. You are not alone - God is in the boat with you. When the storm comes, run to Jesus.
2. You are heard - God hears your cries, and He knows your concerns.
3. You can have faith - Go ahead and exercise the faith you've practiced. God will not fail.
4. You can speak to the storm - Rebuke and resist the enemy in Jesus' name and he will flee.
5. You will come through - God will save you according to His perfect plan.
The reality is that our trials and hardships can’t be rescheduled, or pushed aside, or put on hold until we decide a more convenient time. As true as that is, here's an even greater truth to remember: you can face whatever comes your way with full trust and peace in the Lord when you put faith and hope into action.
There are a plethora of unwanted circumstances that cause us to look up (or bow our heads) and ask that same question Jesus' followers asked Him when they, too, were in the storm. Consider the storm you are in now. Consider the winds tossing you to and fro, the rain threatening to drown your every hope,and the darkness skewing your ability to see and understand. Consider the terror of not knowing when it'll end, and if you'll even survive. Though there's nothing wrong with the question, I caution ending the conversation there. Calling on God for help, wisdom, and strength will save you and get you through whatever storm you face. Keep the faith and know that God is with you and for you. He never leaves His children and He will never forsake you. Oh dear one, how He loves you so much. He is in the boat riding out the storm with you. Fear not and trust that He will do a wondrous work to calm the storm in your life completely.
Author: Pamela Palmer