Thursday, May 2, 2013

Meeting God in the Storms

Mark 4:35-41
     "On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, 'Let us go across to the other side.' And leaving the crowd, they took Him with them in the boat, just as He was. And other boats were with Him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. But He was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke Him and said to Him, 'Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?' And He awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, 'Peace! Be still!' And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, 'Why are you so afraid? have you still no faith?' And they were filled with great fear and said to one another who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?"
     I love this encounter of Jesus with His disciples. First, Jesus tells them they will go to the other side of the sea. He gave them clear cut directions and then entered the boat with them. In His humanness, Jesus who was the Savior, the Teacher, the Healer was exhausted and promptly found a cushion, stretched out, and fell asleep. Before long a catastrophic wind arose. It wasn't just the city boys that were afraid, it was the seasoned fisherman who became terrified because the boat was filling with sea water. 
     I've never been in a storm at sea, but one time my husband and I were taking a turn in a rubber raft on a small lake in New Mexico. Our children were waiting with their grandparents on the shore hollering for us to hurry up so they could have a turn. All of a sudden small summer storm rose out of nowhere. First, the wind picked up and then a small band of dark clouds headed our way and covered the lake. We knew we needed to get out of the lake because of the lighting so we started rowing back to shore. But, the winds picked up and the harder we rowed towards the kids, the further away we got. In my nervousness, I began to giggle so hard I wasn't much use to my husband who was frantically rowing. All of a sudden he calmly instructed me to lift one of my paddles out of the water and he changed the direction of the boat and we began to work with the wind instead of against it. It seemed counter intuitive to me, but I trusted him and did as he said. Soon we were receiving warm hugs from our kids who had been frightened by the sight of their parents being carried away by the storm. 
     Even with that experience, I can't imagine being on a ship in a storm strong enough to scare grown men who lived and navigated the sea on a daily basis. They are so frustrated by Jesus' napping through the storm that they asked Him, "Do you not care that we are perishing?" Ouch! That statement convicts me! How often I've assumed my Jesus didn't care because I found myself in the middle of a life storms. And some of those life storms weren't nearly as cataclysmic as the one the disciples were facing. I weathered some storms in faith clinging tightly to the Savior, but there are many more that I weathered in fear and frustration with that question on my lips though I didn't have the guts to speak it aloud. I even weathered a few with Him fully inviting me to come to Him, but was too terrified to do so and amazingly He kept inviting me to come to Him.
     I love how Jesus orders the seas to calm and then confronts their unbelief. He didn't confront them for waking Him, but because they were so afraid they had forgotten His Words stating they would go to the other side. They forgot they could depend on His Words. Had they remembered what he said, they might have woken Him up and asked Him to help bail water. Had they remembered who He was, they could have woken Him up and asked Him to calm the Storm.
   Interestingly Jesus calming the sea redirects their fear. They no longer fear the storm, they have a healthy fear of their Creator who has power over both the sea and the flesh. The flesh in me wants to judge the disciples for their fear and lack of faith, but I have to admit I am them. God has blessed me repeatedly with gifted Bible teachers, a love and reasonable command of His word, and a thirst to know Him. But, then a storm hits and I find myself a doubting Thomas, an impetuous Peter and a Daughter of Thunder all rolled up in one, wanting to demand Jesus explain to me about that appears to be His lack of care? 
     But then I realize I really don't want my God, my Savior, the Lover of my Soul, to be a God who only lives in my comfort zone. I want to see Him and His power in the Storms. I want to Hear His voice say, "Peace be still!" Not just to the storm, but to my terrified heart as well. He graciously tells us in His Word that in this World we will have tribulation...why, then am I, are we, so often surprised by sudden storms. I have to remind myself that my Jesus doesn't have to enter my emotional drama because He has power over the storms of my life. He is calm because He enters them with me. He is confident because He uses them to reveal more of Himself to me, which strengthens my faith, humbles my heart, and causes me to depend on Him which in turn fosters the intimacy my heart craves. 
     Maybe, just maybe, the next time I face a sudden storm I will cling to Jesus in faith and if I listen hard enough, I will hear His voice calming my heart and silencing my questions, "Peace, be still! I will meet with You in the Storm."

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Several years ago I realized that I often sped through my Scripture reading and gave it little thought. Yet, when I had meaningful conversations with friends or family members I replayed them over and over in my head. One day it occurred to me, that if I thought more about what God says in his word that I would not only know more about Him, but I would come to know Him in a personal way. I would know more about His thoughts, His character, His intentions, His passions, and His actions. So, I began to take one verse at a time and think on it and then journal about it. At the time I was served as a volunteer in youth ministry and shared my “Thoughts on God” with those girls. For a while I have been rewriting and posting them on this blog. I have realized when I am in the Word or move through my day focusing on God's presence that I have wonderful opportunities to Meet God in the Everyday. The Everyday can include storms, blessings, hard things, scary things, exciting things...just any where, anyplace, any time. I hope that you will be able to engage with what I write with both your head and your heart. I also hope you will be challenged to love, trust, and know the God of the Scriptures. It is my prayer that as you read you will experience Him at a deeper level and share pieces of your journey in the comments. It is my desire that we form a safe community of believers who pursue the God who loves us radically, eternally, and without reserve. As a precious pastor once told me, "Don't forget, Wendy, God is Good!" I find myself compelled by His Goodness and His Love to share so others can know Him through all the ups and downs of life. Please feel free to dialogue back and to share how each passage impacts you. If if there is a passage you would like me to write on or if you would like to be a guest blogger, please let me know. I am just learning to navigate this blog and appreciate the kind comments you have made in the past...I promise I will even try to respond if you leave a note. If you are blessed please share the blog with friends!