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Calming the Storm

April 10, 2015

It stormed today. Like really stormed.

Thunder, lightning, rain, wind…

It marks the first storm Jonah is big enough to really acknowledge. We didn’t have storms in Alaska. And he doesn’t seem to remember the ones we had last summer.

But today he did.

Today he heard the thunder and after one loud clap, started crying. He came and crawled up in bed beside me where I was reading and buried himself next to me. I shushed him, rocked him, and finally got him calm. All he kept saying was “dat scares me mommy…the torm (storm for those who don’t interpret toddler) scares the baby…

I reassured him that it was okay. Promised him that I was right there and that everything was okay.

That’s when I realized…doesn’t God do the same when we face our own storms?

Oh sure, we don’t curl up next to him in bed while he rocks away our worries. But, he does reassure us that the storm is going to pass. And that we have nothing to fear.

For you have been a stronghold to the poor, a stronghold to the needy in his distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat… [Isaiah 25:4a]

Like I mentioned yesterday, we are guaranteed hard times in this life. It’s a given that there are going to come days in which things just don’t work out like we think they need to. Man, how I wish I could change that. Doesn’t it seem like it would be so much easier if all the things we thing we want/need/deserve would come to pass? But it doesn’t. Because we aren’t God.

And we don’t know the final ending to the grand story of our lives.

I was laying beside Jonah as the storm started to fade away into the distance and there was nothing but rain left to listen to, and began to think about the night that Jesus walked on water and calmed the storm with his hands.

I went back to the book of Matthew and started reading Chapter 14.

And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there. But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary. [vs. 23-34]

Now, Jesus was tired guys. Probably exhausted. John the Baptist had just been beheaded. He’d tried to escape the masses, but they followed him. I can’t guarantee it, but I’m guessing he was trying to find a bit of solace so that he could grieve in peace for a few minutes. Rather than getting angry (which, speaking from lack of experience in grieving properly…I’m certain that most any of us would have lost it completely), Jesus demonstrated compassion for them. In fact, the NKJV says “He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick” [vs. 14].

So, we’ve got him mourning the death of a dear friend, then supernaturally feeding the 5,000 and healing a multitude of sick people. So when he finally gets away, he tells the disciples to go on without him. He needs to meet with his Father; so he goes up on the mountain to pray by himself.

While he’s praying, the disciples are out on the boat and it starts to storm. Much like the storm we had today…wind, rain, lightening, thunder. The only difference is that we were on dry land and not the ocean. I don’t know about you, but I’m not one for sea sickness and rocking boats. I do well to get on a roller-coaster. But, I digress.

This boats out there rocking and bobbing and I’m going to guess, that it’s taking on water. I took a moment to study that word contrary in the NKJV. The ESV says that “the wind was against them.” I pulled up this particular verse using the Greek Lexicon and pinpointed that word contrary. It held two definitions:

  • over against, opposite
  • opposed as an adversary, hostile, antagonistic in feeling or act; an opponent

The wind was blowing against them, causing the boat to rock, splashing the waves, probably scaring the living daylights out of the crew on board.

when the waves crash

But what about the wind in our personal lives? The storms in our personal lives? Don’t our struggles and “storms” generally come from our own making? From our own sin?

And who is the father of sin?

Satan himself…whose Hebrew word שָּׂטָן satan, means “adversary” (source).

Hang with me here…I’m about to make the connection…

So back to the boat…the disciples were scared. They look out onto the water and see Jesus walking across the top of it. I don’t know about you, but storm or not storm, if I saw a man walking on top of the ocean it would have absolutely freaked me out. And I’m sure he sensed that in them because he immediately tells them not to be scared. To fear not, for it was only him. Peter asked to walk out there with him. So Jesus commanded him to get out of the boat and start walking.

And he did, until he panicked.

He was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.”Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt? [vs. 30-31]

Notice that the Lord didn’t let Simon Peter splash around in his panicked state. He didn’t stand on top of the water with his arms crossed, tapping his sandal and wait for him to regain his composure and climb back on top of the water beside him. (I don’t know about you, but I kind of see this almost as if Peter fell through some thin ice…Jesus standing on top, him splashing around in the ocean knowing that if he doesn’t get back on top of the water, he’s going to die.)

No. Jesus IMMEDIATELY reached out his hand and took hold of him. He grabbed him. He pulled him up, stood him up and then simply asked him why he doubted.

It’s our lives over and over again guys.

The storms may not be hurricane sized storms. They may not be sinking ships, but they are sinking hearts.

Yours…mine…your husbands…your children’s…your friends…

We fight battles and bear the storm in secret all too often. Hiding behind the smiles and the makeup and the put together composure of who we are supposed to be. We wage the storms of the one true adversary right by ourselves in the forms of temptation and sin, without ever telling anyone because “what would they think?”

But, guys…he knows. HE knows.

He’s waiting day after day, minute after minute for us to simply cry out to him, Lord, Save me! And he’ll do so immediately.

Once Peter cried out for help and Jesus took hold of him, they climbed back into the boat-together-and the wind ceased.

I know it isn’t always as easy as a simple prayer and then the worlds problems, or even our personal problems are resolved. That’s not what I’m saying.

But I am saying, that the boat doesn’t rock nearly as bad when he’s taken hold of you. When we place our trust in him…believing and accepting that he is in control and can calm the storm…it’s much easier to see the storms begin to calm.

He just wants to know, why did you doubt?

 

  1. renée says:

    Hi Courtney, I just found your awesome blog and I love it. I think it’s interesting to note that Peter only started to sink when he took his eye off of Jesus. If we stay focused on Him we will never sink. He loves us and He want us back. Thanks for your insight here and your willingness to share.

  2. Alia Osburn says:

    I love this post so much, my family is going through a storm of sorts and man has it really affected my behavior 🙁 SO encouraging to read this! xoxo

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Courtney Kirkland is a Sacramento, California photography and design business. Since 2008, Courtney has passionately provided beautiful, meaningful documentary-style photography and intentional, high-quality design.  Value and celebrate the beautiful, messy, and uniquely-special moments of everyday living.