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Mon, Aug 31 2009 - 03:10 PM

The Storm

 16 That evening Jesus’ disciples went down to the shore to wait for him. 17 But as darkness fell and Jesus still hadn’t come back, they got into the boat and headed across the lake toward Capernaum. 18 Soon a gale swept down upon them, and the sea grew very rough. 19 They had rowed three or four miles when suddenly they saw Jesus walking on the water toward the boat. They were terrified, 20 but he called out to them, “Don’t be afraid. I am here!”

John 6:16-20 (New Living Translation)

 

Usually when the above story is read, the focus is on the fact that Jesus walked on water and no one can deny, that was truly amazing.  But, as I read the story today, the Lord led me to focus on the storm.

 

I can really picture myself in the disciple’s situation. 

 

You hop in the boat heading to your destination.  It will be dark soon so you want to hurry.  Everything seems to be going fine.

 

Suddenly a storm emerges.  Then, the night grows dark and scary.  The air almost feels heavy, engulfing.  You can hear the water all around you but you cannot see anything because of the thick, consuming darkness.  All you can focus on is getting the boat safely to shore but the storm keeps raging. 

 

I imagine that the wind was blowing against them.  As they rowed, they were fighting the wind that was stronger than all of them together.  They rowed and rowed and rowed exhausting themselves in an effort to move against the raging winds but made only a small amount of forward progress.

 

The waves were crashing against the boat sounding as though they might rip it apart.  The boat moved up and down, side to side, tossed by the waves with no way to steady itself.  It seemed hopeless.  Surely the boat would sink and they would all die in the darkness, swallowed by the angry waves.

 

As they cling onto the boat, searching for the shoreline, they see something or someone.  But how is that possible?  The darkness is still pitch black.  They cannot possibly see a person when they cannot even see the water or the wave. 

 

They blink and look again.  The figure is still there.  He is right there in the middle of the storm.  He is just there.  The wind doesn’t seem to be affecting Him.  The darkness isn’t concealing Him.  The waves are not moving Him.  What or who is this that can withstand this storm?

 

“Look,” someone exclaims.  “He is walking towards us.  He is reaching out His hand.  He is trying to get on the boat!” 

 

Just when they thought they could never be more afraid, they suddenly were!  Fear overwhelmed them.  They rowed harder trying to get away.  No way were they going to let this person or thing on the boat!  They had enough problems to deal with.

 

Then He spoke.  Kind, gentle words but spoken with great authority.

 

“Don’t be afraid.  I am here.” 

 

It should have been impossible to hear Him speak –the storm was still raging.  The wind was still blowing.  The boat was still being tossed about by the waves.  But, they did hear Him and they knew Him.

 

Verse 21 of the passage states, “Then they were willing to take Him in the boat and they immediately reached the shore.”  

 

Jesus was in the middle of the storm the whole time.  They just didn’t recognize Him.  So, they refused to let Him in the boat.  They fought to escape the One who could bring them safety and get them to their destination.  The storm confused them.  The storm frightened them.  The storm prevented them from seeing that Jesus was right there—walking on the storm tossed waves, walking against the raging winds effortlessly with no hint of fear or despair.  I found it interesting that Jesus didn’t calm the storm this time.  He allowed them to experience it.  He just moved through it. 

 

So, it is with the storms of our life. 

 

The darkness blinds us.  The winds fight our efforts.  The waves toss us about making us feel as though we are victims of our circumstances—unable to hold ourselves steady.  We try and try to “row” on our own but we get nowhere.  We aren’t strong enough to fight the wind, the waves and the darkness.

 

As with the disciples on the lake, if we look, we will see Jesus in the middle of our storm.  He is right there--peacefully, effortlessly and joyfully walking on the raging waters that engulf us.  He is reaching out His hand.  He wants us to let Him in the boat with us.  But, we don’t recognize Him in this storm.  We try harder.  He keeps hanging around, reaching His nail-scarred hand toward our boat.

 

Suddenly, when it seems things are hopeless, if we are paying attention, we will hear a whisper through our tears and fears.   The storm almost drowns it out, but we strain to hear the whisper so that we can know what the voice is saying. 

 

Maybe it is a song on the radio.  Maybe it is a sermon.  Maybe it is the faith-filled prayer of a child.  Maybe it is the kind words of a stranger.  Maybe it is a scripture that jumps off the pages of our Bible.  Maybe it is just that we got quiet and could finally listen.  Maybe it is that we finally dropped to our knees in exhaustion and gave up fighting on our own.

 

Whatever the delivery method, the voice says, “Don’t be afraid.  I am here.”

 

Jesus patiently waits for us to say, “Please come aboard my sinking ship!”  Then, He steps in and our view changes.

 

Praise the Lord!  Hope is restored. 

 

“It is going to be okay,” you say to Jesus.  “It is going to be okay now that You are here.”

 

Jesus smiles and says, “I have been right there in the middle of the storm the whole time.  Didn’t you see Me?  I promised that I would never leave you.  Why were you so afraid?”

 

Good question.

 

You vow that next time you’ll search for Him the minute the storm hits.  Next time you’ll invite Him in the boat sooner.  Next time you will recognize Him right away.

 

 

Is it next time, yet?  Are you in a storm?  Have you looked around and found Jesus patiently waiting?  If you haven’t, why not do it now? 

 

Don’t you hear the whisper?  He is saying it again.  He is talking to you. 

 

“Don’t be afraid.  I am here.”     

 

Grab his nail-scarred hands and let Him in the boat!

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Name: worknmom

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About: I am a married, working mother with 2 children a daughter age 17 and a son age 14. I have a passion for writing and feel led to work with pre-teen girls. I blog mostly about my spiritual journey as I seek God's perfect will for my life.

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