...running the course God sets before us, no matter the cost, no matter the task, to the end, for His glory

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Riding Out the Storm~ Part One

Sometimes life has fuzzy edges around the picture, a soft-focus, birds singing, a cool breeze blowing, a satisfied feeling, and no mosquitoes.

Anyway, I think it does. It does in the movies at least.

But not around here. Not lately. It seems we have been through a long, slow march through sharp reality, drought and flood, a harsh wind, and most definitely mosquitoes. It is tempting in seasons like this to think, "What are we doing wrong, Lord?"

But think about 1 Peter 4:12 which says, 

“Dear friends, do not be astonished that a trial by fire is occurring among you, as though something strange were happening to you.”

I can never quite decide if I find this verse comforting or irritating! On the one hand it reassures me that just because something is difficult it does not follow this difficulty is some sort of divine punishment. But on the other hand this verse assures me that sometimes things are going to test me to my very limits.  This verse actual informs me that difficult is normal. Sigh.

Just think about how Jesus trained His disciples. He had no problem at all sending them straight into storms. In Mark 4:36,37, He gets in a boat with His disciples and tells them to row for the other side. And then He lays down and falls asleep.

The winds howl, the waves rise, the boat begins to get swamped, and still Jesus sleeps. He sleeps through the storm that He had His disciples row straight into.

"Jesus Sleeping During the Tempest" by James Tissot
Think about how it felt for the disciples. Think about their panic and their fear.

I love this piece of art by James Tissot, a French painter in the late 1800's. It perfectly captures both the extremity of the disciples and the serenity of Jesus.

Look at how HARD the disciples are working!
Look at how panicked they are!
And desperate, and striving, and fearful.

And look at Jesus.
How peaceful, and confident, and trusting.

What a contrast.

Of course, you remember the rest of the story- the disciples freak out, they wake Jesus up, and He calms the storms. But He also rebukes them for not having enough faith! Could they have truly feared for their life when He was right there with them?

As I thought about this I realized that I have been reacting to my storms in the same way.

My prayers lately have been more like the disciples' when they woke Him saying, "Do You not care that we are perishing?" (Mk. 4:38)

It is true that Jesus stopped the storms for the disciples, but He did not praise them for all their hard work up until then. He rebuked them for their lack of faith!

So as I ride my boat through the storms of my life that Jesus is allowing I have two options:
  1. I can strain at the ropes with fear and desperation in my heart while I try to shake Jesus awake, or...
  2. I can crawl down in the bottom of the boat with Jesus, and hold on to Him, and TRUST Him to bring me through.

I. Choose. Jesus.

More thoughts on Jesus and storms next time.

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