Regular readers of mine are aware than I often mention current weather conditions in these jottings. That’s because winters here in Central New York are usually noteworthy. Where I am sitting, Lake Ontario often releases what is known as Lake-effect Snow. I’ll save you the science lesson and simply say that the relatively warmer air flowing over the cold water of the lake produces these events. Proof in point: we received about 12 inches of new lake-effect snow over- night.
Those who know me personally are also well aware of my angst when it comes to TV weather-people and their inability to forecast these snows (and most any other weather!) with any accuracy. Locally televised weather reporting spends the majority of its time telling us what the weather was like over the previous 24 hours. I lived it and don’t need a recap. Please just tell me what is ahead!
But I really don’t want to rant on about the nice folks that report the weather on television. After all, they are doing their job the way they are told to and the current procedure seems to bring in ample advertising dollars.
Besides, I have lived in this area all my life and as a bit of a weather geek, I am quite capable of formulating my own forecasts. There is little that happens in the local weather here that surprises me. Storms, be they lake-effect or other types, come and go; so I will keep my snowblower, shovel and chainsaw in good working condition.
There are other storms that I am still blindsided by, however. These would be the far less meteorological ‘storms of life.’ They often come from out of nowhere and can rage on endlessly, upsetting the quiet calm that I so love. Much like Jesus’ disciples felt fear when a sudden storm came up while they were in a boat together, I can quickly become unsure of things as a storm of life blows up around me.
Without warning, a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. 25 The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” (Matthew 8:24-25 NIV)
We know that at least four of the disciples were experienced fishermen, yet the text seems to indicate that all twelve were fearful for their lives. Sudden storms were not rare on the Sea of Galilee, but even so, this one appeared to be bad enough to bring a feeling of certain doom to the group.
Obviously, the storm the disciples were in was an actual physical emergency, whereas the personal storms I referenced above are usually relational/personal in nature. Regardless, the lesson to be gleaned in how to deal with them is found in the disciples reaction.
Note first that they were not hiding how they felt. They were scared to death! Their urgent plea to Jesus reveals this. Not hindered by concern over admitting the fear they felt, the disciples exercised their best option; they ran to Jesus. There was no trying to turn the boat around or maybe into the wind to stabilize it, they rushed to wake Jesus to save them.
The bible says that after Jesus chastised his guys for their lack of faith, he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm (Matthew 8:26). Even though the disciples lacked a measure of faith, nonetheless the Lord granted their request as He miraculously silenced the wind, thus calming the sea.
Oh that I would run post-haste to Jesus when a storm of life blows up around me! The disciples did and their problem was solved. Do I believe things happened the way they are recorded in this passage? Absolutely! Do I believe Jesus can and does still speak into the circumstances of people’s lives when they run to Him seeking comfort? Indeed I do!
So why is it I don’t always follow the example of what the disciples did on that stormy boat ride when life throws a storm at me? Is it a lack of faith? Sometimes. I know I trust my salvation completely on Jesus, no doubt. But being honest, there are times when I think what is happening to me is somehow off of His radar and I’ll go tearing off looking for advice or a quick cure or just a metaphoric shovel to bury whatever it is that is troubling me.
The usual result of these efforts for my part is the opposite of what the disciples experienced when they sought the help of Jesus. What can I do? I can put myself in that boat with them, meaning I can confess my fear, uncertainty, etc. and swallow my pride and say, “Lord, I’m going to drown” in this. Please help me.”
How about you. What fears do you have? Are there things you struggle with and yet don’t bring them to the Lord? Why? I’d love to hear from you and how/if God has calmed the seas of your life.