Storms of Life
Jesus Calms the Storm
Then Jesus 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
In a house of four grown adults, three children, two puppy dogs and a partridge in a pair tree, you can imagine the noise that I hear waking me up in the morning. “Mom, can I have some chocolate milk?” “Mom, I’m hungry.” “Mom, mom, mom…”, “Dad, can I have your your iPad?” “Stop chewing on that.” “The dog had an accident.” “Stop hitting me!” “Trey won’t let me use the iPad.” I try to zone out the noise so I can sleep. However, this morning I awoke to a sound that I hadn’t noticed in years, the sound of a storm.
Growing up in the Midwest, thunderstorms where very common to me. No matter how bad they were I could always manage to sleep through them; but it’s been awhile and it was a sound that I couldn’t place as I was coming in and out of sleep. Once I realized that it was raining and raining really hard, I quickly jumped out of bed ran to the window to survey the damage to our yard.
Typically I wouldn’t pay much attention to the rain, and would rejoice to have it, but right now I am in the middle of replacing the rock in our yard with grass so our kids have a place to play (the things parents and grandparents do for their kids). We are at the stage where all the rock is gone, sprinklers are in and dirt needs to be leveled so the grass can be delivered tomorrow. I had a whole day of work planned for Becca and my parents to do before the grass came, but the storm had different plans.
By the time I got in my car and headed to work it had stopped raining. So despite being a little disappointed that the yard would have to wait another day, I went about my drive to work as normal. Again my plans failed. It didn’t take me very long to see the damage that the storm had caused to neighborhood and community. There were roads closed, cars stranded, fences knocked down and road crews strapping the debris from the road. No one had planned on dealing with this storm today, but yet the storm came any way… as they do in our lives from time to time, bringing to mind a few observations.
1) Storms will come. No matter who we are or where we come from there will be storms in our lives. Some will inconvenience us a little, while others will shake the very foundation on which we stand. No matter how much we try to prepare storms can be scary. Many of the disciples spent their entire lives on or around fishing boats. Storms and boats would have been something they were used to and normally wouldn’t fear. However, there was something different about this storm, this storm made them fear for their lives.
2) Storms will go. The storm that rolled in this morning was gone by the time I was ready to leave for work. Another storm rolled in twice as strong as the first and in less than an hour it too was gone. No matter how bad storms are, they will pass. No matter how bad a storm might seem (the disciples thought they were going to drown!) it will pass and better, brighter days wait on the other side. No rain, no rainbows!
3) Storms affect people differently. The storm this morning knocked out my satellite for a few minutes. It prevented me from getting some work done around the house, and made my 10-minute drive to work 25 minutes. It really didn’t affect me too much, but for others it flooded houses, totaled cars, and endangered lives. Sometimes we see the same clouds, hear the same thunder but because we are all unique, no storm is ever the same.
The storm that the disciples faced in that boat was like no storm they had ever faced, but, as we know, it was not the last. They waited and waited and waited, until the point they thought they were going to drown before they bothered to wake Jesus. Why? He was in the same boat and in the same storm they were in. If they thought he could do something about it, why are they so surprised when he calms the wind and waves? Perhaps it is because the disciples, like us, don’t want to bother Jesus. We think “Jesus has better things to do”, “he has other people who need more than I do”, or “I shouldn’t be so selfish to ask Jesus for myself”. We convince ourselves that other people need Jesus more than we do and it is only when we start to drown in the midst of a storm, that we finally ask Jesus to help us. We often find ourselves using Jesus as a life preserver. We know that he is there, but it is only if things get really bad that we will ask for his help. This is ok, but not what Jesus really wants.
Jesus wants to be our boat, not our life preserver. He wants to be the vessel that we use to sail through life. His love was intended to permeate our beings, to be with us always, not only when drowning. I urge you today to feel his presence, to invite him to all parts of your life, to look for him in the sunshine, not just the storms. But most of all, we need to remember that if the storm we’re looking at seems too dark, too dangerous, too all-consuming, like it will never end…you…are…not…alone. You are not going through it alone, he is carrying you. Take a moment in the midst of the storm to feel his arms around you and know that God is bigger and God’s love is greater than any storm.