March came in very quietly. At least for the first four days. The past two days have been bitterly cold and windy. The wind runs right through your jacket and stings your skin like you’re walking into needles.
Wind like this isn’t anomalous to this area. We don’t even talk about the wind until it is over 30mph sustained. We lived for a few years outside of St. Louis and I began walking 3 miles a day with two lovely ladies. I always listened to the weather before leaving to meet with my friends. One day I was surprised to hear this from the weatherman’s mouth, “Hang on to your hat, it’s going to be a windy day! Gusts up to 10 miles an hour!”
Wind blows from the past into the future. It is incessant, aggravating, and normal. It blows where it wants and no amount of desire can stop its blowing. I have a fairly strong will but I can’t use that to stop the gusts from taking my breath away.
We all deal with windstorms, storms that take our breath away and make it seem impossible to stand upright. These storms blow through our lives and leave us desperate to stand, to breathe, to make sense of the damage.
This morning Jesus directed my thoughts to Mark 4:35-41. This is the story of Jesus being asleep on the boat when a storm arose. The New American Standard version of this reads, “fierce gale”, I looked that word up in Strong’s and discovered it could be translated whirlwind or hurricane.
That is some kind of fierce gale, it swept in out of seemingly nowhere and battered their fair ship. Is it any wonder they were terrified?
I’ve been there. In fact, I’ve been there recently. Not in an actual hurricane, but I’ve been in an internal storm. My life has been battered fiercely and I’m very sad to say I’ve fought the storm on my own.
And failed. Miserably. Just like the disciples were powerless in the hurricane, so was I in my own hurricane. And so are you. There is only One who can immediately calm our storms. From a hurricane to a calm sea. Only Jesus can do that.
Is it any wonder the disciples were left breathless? From a raging hurricane to a calm sea. Just. Like. That.
If Jesus’ actions don’t leave you in a breathless wonder, asking “Who is this?”, can you really say you encountered Jesus? He does things no one else can do. He turns hurricanes into a calm day in a millisecond. And we should, in breathless wonder, ask “Who is this?” but instead we glibly go about our day as if that always happened.
There is another instance of Jesus in a boat in a storm-tossed sea. (You can find this one in Mark 6:45-52.) In life we have a choice, get in the boat with Jesus and look out for storms, or have Him get in the boat with us in the midst of a storm. Either way storms come and He is there. He calms them but not before we experience some of the terror of the storms.
Too often we expect our Christian walk to be care and trouble free. “Okay Jesus, I’ve got You. You’ve got me. I’m in You. You’re in me. We’re good to go!” Then when storms come, and they always do, we’re left shaken wondering where we went wrong and how could we have possibly gotten it so very wrong. We’re terrified of what this storm means. We’re shaken and shaking in the howling wind.
No, Jesus in the boat doesn’t prevent storms. They still come. They still rage. But He, with a word calms them. We have but to ask.
Sometimes that’s the hard part. We want to wallow a bit. We want to feel sorry for ourselves. But more than that, we forget. We forget Who’s we are. We forget where we belong and to Whom we belong. We take our eyes off the Storm Calmer and keep them on the storm. But that only increases the terror of them and diminishes our God in our eyes and elevates our self. We aren’t strong enough to calm the storm on our own and waiting it out is impossible until we turn to Him and say with Lauren Daigle,
Let the waters rise
I will stand as the oceans roar
Let the earth shake beneath me,
Let the mountains fall,
You are God over the storm,
And I will rest in You.
(I am Yours by Lauren Daigle)