All of us have experienced a storm in our lives at one time or the other. Not just a little rain but an all out trees down, roofs blown off, loss of electricity for days kind of storm. I am not talking about weather but using this metaphor for the seasons that sometimes come into our lives.
They are threatening. They are terrifying. They may involve someone dying or leaving. It is that moment when you and I realize that we control nothing. We are at the mercy of the situation. Often during these moments both the religious and the non-religious turn to God. We want Him to work on our behalf. We want a positive outcome and usually we want it now.
It is fascinating to listen to our language sometimes or what we say about God. A staff member at a church I lead, who’s father had survived a serious medical procedure, stood up and announced to the congregation that everything had turn out good but then proceeded to say, “God was faithful.” It was innocent enough for a son to be happy his dad was going to be okay but the truth is if his dad had died during the procedure God would still be faithful. I doubt that he would have used that language because we rarely think that way.
Lazarus’s sisters Mary and Martha accosted Jesus when He showed up after their brothers death. “If you had only been here!” they cried. God is everywhere. He stands beside you and in you during the worst days and the best.
Jesus was with His disciples one day on the Sea of Galilee. As they traveled, Jesus fell asleep and they were besieged with a horrific storm. They were afraid for their lives. Remember some of them were fishermen and yet this storm had them reeling. Jesus stayed asleep until they finally shook Him awake and confronted Him with these words, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”
How many times have we been at this place in our lives for one reason or the other? The storm is raging so to speak and we cry out in desperation to Jesus. We may beg and plead and even feel angry. We quickly go to, “If you loved us you wouldn’t let this happen.” Depending on how it turns out often our faith increases or decreases. Somehow we have to come to believe that God is alway faithful and alway good. He always has our best interest in mind and sometimes through the trials we grow spiritually in way unimaginable during peaceful times. We long for peace and calm but it is in the storms of life that we learn to trust and have faith no matter what happens.
It’s interesting in this story that before they woke Jesus they were afraid but when He stands up in the boat and commands the storm to be quiet and be still and it happens the bible says, “They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey Him!””
It is one thing to confront the power of mother nature but in this story they are confronted with a picture of the God that loves beyond our imaginations and yet possesses power over everything. This is the God we surrender our lives to. And you know what? You have to believe that He both loves and is in control. Nature just happens and you may die from it in a hurricane, a tsunami, or a tornado but when confronted by our circumstances in light of the God we serve we must trust His love for us and know that when the terrible happens He still loves us and is faithful.
This is much easier to write then live out. I lost one of my most loyal and faithful friends this past week and as I write this a friend from college that I talked to by phone often is hanging on between life and death after a tragic car accident. I am watching the update posts by his family and seeing the pictures of his small congregation now congregating in the waiting room of the critical care unit at the hospital. I can’t imagine what his two children and wife must be feeling inside. Hundreds of Facebook friends have prayer chains going and churches today are praying around the country for this much loved individual. They are praying for rescue and healing. People are grieving.
Through it all I keep reminding myself that God doesn’t cause car wrecks or babies to die but in His Sovereignty He will use our storms and circumstances to cause us to look to Him and to think about Him. Seeing God can be terrifying but in the end we trust Him and we believe that He is good. Oh how He loves us. Oh how He loves you today. You may not feel Him or know it but He loves you and knows exactly where you are. His will will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
In the words of the ancient hymn, How Firm a Foundation the author reminds us how much God cares:
“When through the deep waters I call you to go,
the rivers of sorrow shall not overflow,
for I will be with you in trouble to bless,
and sanctify to you your deepest distress.
4 “When through fiery trials your pathway shall lie,
my grace all-sufficient shall be your supply;
the flame shall not hurt you; I only design
your dross to consume and your gold to refine.
5 “The soul that on Jesus has leaned for repose
I will not, I will not desert to its foes;
that soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no, never, no never forsake!”