The sun is shining, and it’s a beautiful day here today. Yesterday, however, a huge storm overtook the morning. The sun came up, and it was bright and beautiful as it crested the horizon, but I could hear the rumble of thunder far off in the distance. Within the hour, the storm loomed close and the skies grew dark.
Thunderclaps, lightning bolts, and pounding rain raged outside for a few hours. Pellets of hail fell in bursts. I went online to find the forecast giving hope it would all be gone by the noon hour.
The storms of life often appear similarly, don’t they?
The sun can be shining in our lives, and we might hear the distant grumble of trouble looming.
When we’re in the depths of the storms of life, they are often all we can see.
The rest of our life is still there, but the storm is what dominates the present.
We’ll see the darkness taking over the light.
We struggle to see the horizon.
The winds feel like they are swirling around us.
We’ll often allow the negativity to overtake us.
We may feel like we’re drowning and being pelted with despair.
If you are anything like me, you wish you could have access to His forecast. If we could just know how long the storm would last and what might be over the rainbow, it would make it easier to jump into our rainboots and wade through the muddy yuck, wouldn’t it?
In Matthew’s Gospel, Matthew records an account of a storm that came in fast and went out even faster:
“Then he [Jesus] got into the boat and his disciples followed him. Without warning, a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” 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. The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!””
~ Matthew 8:23-27 (NIV)
A mighty storm raged around them, and the disciples were in the thick of it. Jesus was sleeping in the boat; He was with them in the same storm. They called upon Him for help. He provided it, but He also rebuked them for their lack of faith.
Dr. Tom Constable’s commentary in Sonic Light tells us that when whenever Matthew uses the phrase “little faith,” in his Gospel, “it always reflects a failure to see below the surface of things.” (Study Notes/Matthew/page 149)
That phrase and commentary on the phrase makes an impact on me.
When I’m in the depths of a storm, a challenge, a trial, a crisis, some kind of trouble, (…whatever label you and I want to attach to it in the heat of the moment…) I’m often self-consumed.
How will this go?
How will I be impacted?
What about this?
What about that?
What about them?
I often fail to “see below the surface of things” when the waves are sloshing over the side of the boat. I’ll have my bucket in-hand and be bailing fervently, but I’ll often forget He’s in the boat with me. Right there. Right there in my presence at all times – even in the storms.
He calmed the seas He created. He pushed back the winds He controls. He did so to the awe and amazement of His closest followers.
He doesn’t always calm our storms as quickly as we call upon Him and ask Him to do so. I don’t have the specific answers as to WHY He doesn’t, but I can imagine Him looking at me saying, “Why are you so afraid?”
I want to often skip over that “You of little faith…” rebuke, but there are times when I know I deserve it.
When I can stop focusing on trying to bail the rising water out of the boat and, instead, focus upon His constant presence with me in the storm, I can then lean on learning to grow a bit more in faith while not being so afraid.
Perhaps He desires for me to realize my “momentary troubles are achieving for us [and also for me] an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.”
~ 2 Corinthians 4:5
Perhaps He allows those winds to swirl around me, the horizon to remain hidden and the short-term forecast to be unknown because in the midst of the storm, He wants my focus to be on His presence. Perhaps He knows that when my focus is there, my faith will be greater and my fears will be calmed.
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