I was thinking this week about Jesus and storms. In Mark 4 Jesus is asleep in a boat while his disciples sail it across a lake at night. When a violent storm arose, Jesus’ followers attempted to manage the situation alone, at first, but when the situation became dire they woke him up and asked him for help. So Jesus acted and rescued them from the storm by rebuking the wind and bringing peace.
Some time later, Jesus’ disciples were again crossing the lake and this time Jesus wasn’t present in the boat when the storm arose (Matthew 8). As they fought for control of the boat, while assuming the worst in their fate, Jesus walked out on the water to be present with them in the storm.
But this time Jesus doesn’t just calm the storm… this time… he provides an opportunity for faith to be grown. When Peter asked Jesus if he could walk out on the water to meet him in the midst of the storm, Jesus replied, “Come!” It was only after Peter’s brief defiance of the laws of physics by walking on the water toward Jesus, and his subsequent failure to maintain his unnatural levitated buoyancy, that Jesus acted to calm the storm. After the act of faith.
Was it just happenstance that these two events in the storm unfolded differently? Perhaps… but Jesus was so intentional in his instruction with his followers I find it hard to believe… he always acted with purpose.
When I was so sick with Covid, particularly in the hospital, I would ask God each night to just heal me of the virus. I would pray to the effect of, “Lord, If you could just bring a miraculous healing to my body, while I sleep tonight, I would be so grateful… but if your will is different than this request, help me to trust you fully and learn whatever you wish to teach me.”
God chose not to rescue me from the storm of Covid, but, oh my friends, he was so present! Present like I have never experienced him before! As I placed my complete trust in him and his goodness… even for my very life… He drew me to himself with such tenderhearted mercy. His nearness was at times so overwhelming that I would weep as I read scripture or prayed… not because of fear, but because of the sweetness of his presence… with me… strengthening me in the storm.
A few weeks after my Covid experience, I was again seeking God’s healing in my life this time over a hernia. You see, months earlier I was under the delusion that I could somehow channel the persona of Arnold Schwarzenegger, and attempted to move a 400 pound object myself. Actually, I did move it (I just want to point that out!), but I paid the price for my foolishness.
Then, one day, after days of asking for God’s healing… the pain was just simply gone. I could suddenly, in the middle of the day, walk without a limp, I could pick up heavy objects, I could bend and twist and breathe… all without pain… and in that moment of wonder I realized, that God had chosen to rescue me from the storm.
So what’s the point to all of this? Don’t miss this; Jesus was present in both of those storms on the Sea of Galilee — and he was present in both of those storms in my life. Jesus had a work that he wanted to accomplish in his followers. The first time they just needed to know that he was bigger than any trial that they might face, and the second time they needed to see just what faith in Jesus could really accomplish.
And the blessed Lord Jesus was with me in my storms too. With Covid, he wanted to draw me close in the storm so that my faith in him would be strengthened and my times with him precious… and with my hernia… well… He just wanted to bless me by bringing healing and peace from the storm.
Friends, sometimes God rescues us from the storms… and sometimes he strengthens us in the storms, but he is always present in the midst of the storm. Here is what I have learned — for whatever it is worth — Sometimes in the midst of a storm we think we know what is best for our lives, but God always knows what is best for our lives.
So, in the storm… trust him.