Two storms raged around and in me yesterday. An emotional thunderstorm shook me with the force of a hurricane! An amazing thunderstorm whipped rain and hail around our home, dropping a torrent of water that turned my driveway into a river in a moment. Storms are frightening and awesome, at the same time. The powerful surge of emotion that swept over me was a long overdue overflow of repressed sorrow and letting go released tension locked in my soul. The flood that fell from the sky washed the earth, refreshed the lakes, and reminded me of my Amazing Creator God who made this planet for our home.
This morning, I read about a storm that shook Jesus’ friends and led the to a new understanding of Who He was. It is a simple story that the Spirit applied to my stormy heart and mind. Do not let the familiarity with this passage cause you to rush through it. “One day Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s cross over to the other side of the lake.” So they got into a boat and started out. On the way across, Jesus lay down for a nap, and while he was sleeping the wind began to rise. A fierce storm developed that threatened to swamp them, and they were in real danger. The disciples woke him up, shouting, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!” So Jesus rebuked the wind and the raging waves. The storm stopped and all was calm! Then he asked them, “Where is your faith?” And they were filled with awe and amazement. They said to one another, “Who is this man, that even the winds and waves obey him?” (Luke 8:22-25, NLT)
Mark, who heard the story from Peter, tells us that Jesus stood up and spoke to the storm – “Peace, be still!” Then, He asked the men who were full of terror, “Why are you so afraid? Don’t you have any faith?” Isn’t that so like our Jesus? He so often meets us in our storms with comfort and challenge! His words make us sigh with relief – “Ah!” and exclaim with the pain of realization – “Ouch!” Comfort arrives as I see that He can (and will, if I allow Him) calm the storm in my life. Challenge comes when I hear gentle, loving His rebuke – “where is your faith?” Oh, for grace to trust Him at the height of the tempest.
What storms are raging around you today, friend? Sickness, financial loss, temptation, uncertainty, tornado, flood are but a few. Are you arguing with the Lord about why He would allow you to live through such a time? Instead, ask what you can discover of His amazing grace! And, please know this – you are a normal Christian if the tempest has temporarily caused you to lose your assurance, to be unable to sense the Presence of the Spirit. But, you are not helpless! Force feed the Word to your mind and heart. Seize passages of promise and bring them to the forefront of your thoughts. The Word speaks often about ‘walking through’ storms and God’s sustaining Presence with us. ” But now, this is what the LORD says— he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.” (Isaiah 43:1-3, NIV)
“Lord, increase my faith,” is my prayer. I admit that I pray it with some reluctance. It is an invitation for more storms! Those tempests are what He uses to produce deep faith. Like the disciples, we emerge from them ‘filled with awe,’ when we hang onto faith. Do you want to grow up in Christ, moving beyond love of this present world- growing out of preoccupations with trivia, celebrities, sports, and such things? God will let the storms blow. Follow Him with faith that goes beyond mere emotion, that is demonstrated by steady patient endurance. And, as we are relieved of our illusion of being a master of the universe, we will learn who God is and thus, to trust Him even more fully to lead us Home.
Spirit of God, descend upon my heart:
wean it from earth, through all its pulses move.
Stoop to my weakness, mighty as Thou art,
and make me love Thee, as I ought to love.
Hast Thou not bid us, love Thee, God and King?
All, all Thine own – soul, heart, and mind, and strength?
I see Thy Cross, there teach my heart to cling,
O let me seek Thee, and O, let me find!
Teach me to feel that Thou art always nigh,
Teach me the struggles of the soul to bear;
to check the rising doubt, the rebel sigh;
teach me the patience of unanswered prayer.
Teach me to love Thee, as Thine angels love;
one holy passion filling all my frame.
The baptism of the Heav’n descended Dove,
My heart an altar, and Thy love- the flame.
– George Crosby