Resting Amid The Storm

April 27, 2010

Friends,
I really like to meditate on the experience that Jesus and His disciples had when they were all in the boat when a storm suddenly came up. Do you know what my favorite part is? Well, yea, besides the fact that He calmed the storm. It’s the fact that Jesus was sleeping –during it! He was at rest… at peace… unafraid. This teaches me a lot.

We’re to be like Jesus, right? –Conformed to His image, His thoughts, His ways… Right? Then if so, it means that I, too, can be at rest through a storm. This is great news! For storms sure do come our way, don’t they? Little ones, big ones, short, long-lasting, unforeseen, sudden, devastating… Yes, storms sure come our way –to all of us.

So how are we to handle them? We are to rest. We are to be calm, at peace, and unafraid. Likely we will be impressed to continue doing / working / moving forward, but even so, we are told to rest. How? It is by being close to Him, trusting Him, hearing Him… and it’s done through –yes, faith. Faith that He is in control. Faith that He knows all about what’s going on. Faith that He’s allowed it, or even caused it.

What?! –Caused the storm? –Caused the grief… the anguish… the rejection… the illness… the loneliness… the heartache…? Yes. Sometimes. Even often. Why? –To stretch our faith. To test us. To train us. To make us strong. Make us empathetic. Make us wise. Teach us endurance, obedience, and trust. Form us into Christ-like vessels.

How can He do this if we drift through life like a piece of wood floating lazily along with the current? –If we have no troubles? No concerns? Needing nothing? How can we even think we are anything close to being Christ-like if we are never confronted with anything difficult? We can’t. And without the stretching, the exercise, the training, we won’t. –Won’t be Christ-like. We will crumble. For the muscles have to be used in order to keep working. Kinda like elastic which must be pulled often, or it gets brittle and its elasticity completely ceases. Same with our character. And the Lord knows this. So it is His kindness that brings the storms.

Look at the Gospels’ record of who initiated setting out in the boat that day. (Matt. 8:23 & Mark 4:35 & Luke 8:22) It was Jesus. Yet did He know a furious storm would come upon them? He must have, because we read that Jesus could read thoughts (such as in Matt. 9:4), and that He could see events even when He wasn’t in the vicinity. (Such as in Matt. 17:27 & Mark 11:1-6 & John 1:48) It’s like He planned this lesson.

So there they all are, crossing the lake, with a sudden storm whipping up around them. Yet Jesus is “in the stern, sleeping on a cushion.” (Mark 4:38) And verse 37 says that the squall was so furious that “the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped.” But did Jesus awake? No. The frightened disciples finally had to wake Him! “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” (Matt. 8:25)

Look at His immediate response: “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.” (Matt. 8:26) Mark and Luke record that Jesus asked them about their faith after He calmed the storm, but likely it was both times. Mark 4:40 records, “He said to His disciples, ‘Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?'” And Luke 8:25 says, “‘Where is your faith?’ He asked His disciples.” Yes, where? For they were His “disciples” –who had been under His teaching for some time already, and had witnessed His miracles.

Do we sometimes get all panicked when waves of suffering break over our boats –our lives? We do. But we should not. For it shows we lack faith. And having faith is serious stuff to God. As Heb. 11:6 says, “…without faith it is impossible to please God…” Impossible. Impossible to please God. Hmmm…… Then we better get faith!

But how? –when we’re afraid, upset, panicked…? It’s called: Prevention.

We don’t wait until the storm happens to read the Instruction Book. We read it, we study it, we meditate on it, and then… –battle! Then… –hurricane! Then… –a test! Sure, we will falter, stumble, even “go to pieces” sometimes… But that’s at the beginning of our training. Soon we find we are meeting the trials with better expertise –more strength, more faith, more peace, more Christ-likeness.

And that’s the whole point. The trials are in themselves the training. For if there is no training, then there is no skill to be practiced, no victory to be won. And the world needs –desperately– expert spiritual soldiers, Olympians, surgeons, fishermen of men… But it won’t be acquired by walking through flowery gardens or having others feed us. It is acquired by meditating on the Word of God ourselves. For there is where we get to know the Lord –where we learn how He operates, and where we hear His voice speak into our spirits through what He leads us to read that day. Furthermore, soaking in those words brings us comfort, strength, and… –faith.

So faith –faith in Who we’ve come to know, love, and trust– will enable us to relax, sleep, and rest. –Through any and all storms. Even the most ferocious.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

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