Yesterday started out as a gorgeous day. I went for a long run in the morning, and then I met a friend for lunch where we sat outside and enjoyed the sunshine. But by 3:30, it was another story. The rain hit; by 4 o'clock the tornado sirens were going off, and the roads were flooded. Lightning and thunder were filling the sky with a dramatic song and dance. The storm came quickly, and left damage in one area of town, but thankfully no lives were critically injured in this storm.
As I watched the recap of storm on the news last night, I saw trucks demolished by cement blocks ripped from nearby buildings, walls torn from the sides of storefront, and numerous windows blown out. Thankfully this storm damaged property and not physical lives. However the people dealing with the physical damage of their property no doubt will remember this storm more vividly than those of us whose cars and homes escaped any sort of damage. Having grown up in the Midwest, I've lived through many storms. And each one takes me to a place of humility realizing again the power of God.
Jesus' disciples also experienced a storm that left them in awe of the One they followed. The story is found in three of the four gospels, and today we're going to look at the account from Mark 4:35-41.
35 On that day, when evening came, He said to them, “Let us go over to the other side.”
36 Leaving the crowd, they took Him along with them in the boat, just as He was; and other boats were with Him.
37 And there arose a fierce gale of wind, and the waves were breaking over the boat so much that the boat was already filling up.
38 Jesus Himself 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?”
39 And He got up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Hush, be still.” And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm.
40 And He said to them, “Why are you afraid? How is it that you have no faith?”
41 They became very much afraid and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?”
New American Standard Bible : 1995 Update. LaHabra, CA : The Lockman Foundation, 1995, S. Mk 4:35-41
Isn't this story amazing? In just a few short verses, Jesus demonstrates His unmatched authority. Jesus was sleeping in the front of the boat when the storm hit, and when His panicking disciples woke Him up Jesus did not panic. Instead, He stood up and REBUKED the wind and the sea. He said three words to the sea, “Hush, be still,” and the sea became perfectly still. This story leaves me awestruck. We live in a world where technology and scientific research has given us power over so many things and reduced miracles to scientific code. Yet, with all the research and weather technology, we can't prevent storms. Technology allows us to calculate all the facts about a storm, where it is, how strong the winds are, where the rotations may come, when it will hit different parts of town, yesterday we could even watch the storm taking place thanks to a brave man with a video camera in his car. I saw map after map telling me all the details of the storm, yet with all this information, no one had the knowledge, power, technology or authority to prevent or calm this storm. Only God has that power!
This story personally hits home with me as I face storms in my own life. I often try to reduce my personal storms down to facts and figures. If I can decode the turmoil, then I think I can prevent it or bring about resolution. There are times that my behavior has caused a storm, and thus my obedience to the Lord will bring about peace. But other times we face storms that are out of our control, storms that can only be stilled by the voice of God. In these times we must trust in the Lord. We must know His character and authority. And we must understand that He alone is God. First Timothy 1:17 reminds us of who God is, “Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.” Because He is all of these things He is able to calm the storms in our lives with just a word. He is able to at any moment say to the storm in your life, “Hush, be still.” And it will happen. If you are like me, you may have prayed for days, weeks, months or even years that God will calm a particular storm in your life. And maybe He hasn't, yet. But He has not allowed you to walk through this storm alone, and He is not ignorant to the thunder and lightning pounding on your heart and mind. He is aware. And because He knows all, He has a purpose in allowing that storm to continue to wage in your life. I don't have easy answers to why He allows storms to carry on longer than we ever expect or why He allows times in our lives when we are so emotionally beaten down that we think we can't go on. But I know in these times, we must cling to the truth of His Word! I know that we must place our hope in the fact that “He is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.” (Eph 3:20) I know in times of storms we must place our faith in the ONLY ONE who is able to calm the storm. So I encourage you today rather than be overwhelmed by the wind and the rain, look into the face of Jesus, celebrate His authority over the storm, and continue to seek His face.
Lord, you know the storms in my life. You know there are days that I can't see thru the rain pouring down on my heart. But despite my limited vision, I look to You knowing that You alone are able to say to my storm, “Hush, be still.” Today, I place my hope in you, the King eternal. I pray that You will calm the storm I am facing in Your perfect timing, and that as I walk through it each day, I will keep my focus on You and not the storm. I pray that when this storm calms, I will look more like You. I know that You are more concerned with my holiness than my happiness, so please use this storm to make me holy. I love You, Lord. In Your precious Son's name and authority I pray. Amen.