WHEN THE STORMS OF THIS LIFE HIT
As I pulled onto my street and neared my driveway, I saw my neighbor backing into his drive to hook up his boat to his pickup truck. So, I pulled up right beside him, our windows side-by-side, to do a little catching up. Turns out he was soon headed to do a little fishing with his son at a local lake, then down to the Ozarks for the weekend. I reminded him that we were currently under a tornado watch until late that night, and the weekend looked like rain with the high temperature in the 40s one day and 30s the next. He’s a little on the crazy side, so my reminder of these things didn’t really faze him.
The cold temperatures are one thing. But a tornado watch? On a boat in the middle of a lake?
Oddly enough I’ve spent a lot of time marinating in the Gospels lately. Just a day or two prior I had read the all-too-familiar story of Jesus and His disciples on a boat, in a storm, in the middle of a lake. And had they had TV or radio back in the first century, perhaps they would have been alerted to a tornado watch as well.
I wonder if my neighbor knows this story?
The story goes something like this:
Jesus and His disciples were in a boat headed across the lake. It was smooth sailing for a while and Jesus—probably exhausted and in need of rest—fell asleep. Suddenly a huge storm came out of nowhere. The wind and waves caused the boat to take on a lot of water and the disciples were thinking the boat was gonna sink. They were freaking out. This was scary stuff. So, they went and woke up Jesus. (Because…what else are you gonna do when you’re on a boat, in a storm, in the middle of a lake?) Jesus awoke from His siesta and told the wind and waves to cut it out. And they did. Just like that, all was calm. (Can you imagine the dead silence as the disciples looked around, speechless, wondering what the heck just happened?) Then Jesus broke the silence with an interesting question. “Where’s your faith?” Or maybe it was more like, “Why don’t you trust Me?”
Ok, this is where we gotta step back and say, “hold up.” Why did Jesus ask this? What did He mean? Why did He ask about their faith or trust? There was a vicious storm out there. They literally thought they were gonna drown. What did He want them to do exactly? Sit back and ride it out? Bail water until it passed? Part of my thinking says they opted for the best alternative here. They could sit there freaking out in the midst of their storm, or they could invite God into it.
Was the very presence of Jesus not enough for these guys? Was the company of God Himself not sufficient in their storm?
Then I wonder…Is it for us?
What would happen if instead of freaking out in the storms of this life, we stepped back and realized God is present? What would happen if in the midst of our own storm, we rested in the presence of the Almighty God? What would happen if we exercised our faith muscle? What would happen if we paused from fear and trusted Jesus?
I think maybe all too often, we just want God to act…to do something for us…to fix our problems…to come through in a big way…to take the storm away. It’s almost as if we’re saying His presence isn’t sufficient, it’s not good enough, or it’s not really what we had in mind. Like the company of the Almighty God runs a distant second to His fixing our problem.
Y’all, God may be trying to whisper to us, “I’m here. I’m present. Don’t freak out. Trust Me. My very presence is sufficient. I am greater than your storm…even if I don’t fix it.”
Maybe, just maybe this is what Jesus was hinting at with His question while on a boat, in a storm, in the middle of a lake.