No one likes going through hard times. No one likes waking up to another day of harsh uncertainty and chaos. We all want the smooth sailing parts of life. The sunny and 75 kind of days. But the truth is, storms come upon us all.
Even Jesus went through storms, but was his peace shaken? Was he unsettled? Was he making a list of 30 ways this could end bad? No, remember Jesus asleep in the boat during the storm? Remember his absolute confidence in the middle of the chaos? Remember his assurance because HE HAS THE POWER TO CONTROL THE WINDS AND WAVES. He has the power to make it all go away, in fact, he had the power to keep the storm from ever even showing up, but he didn’t did he? He let the storm roll in, he let the skies get dark, he let the boat rock. He allowed the storm.
Matthew 8: 24-27 “Suddenly 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!”
Sometimes Jesus allows the storms in our lives to prove his power alone to calm them.
He’s the one I want to be sitting close to in that rocking boat. I want to be holding on to him. It is the storms in life that bring us closer to the only one who can save us. Sometimes that’s the only purpose of the storm. Just to bring us closer. It’s not to destroy us. Not to punish us. Only to bring you in closer to the one who wants to show you the way to a better life.
Jesus allowed the disciples to go through this storm so they would understand His power. And it was His power that would show them how to live a better life.
Could this storm, the one you’re in right now, the hardship and struggle you woke up to this morning … could it be for the sole purpose of bringing you back to the Almighty? Have you been trying to do this on your own? Have you lost the purpose behind it all? That’s okay, the storm is here to bring you back to Jesus. Grab the seat next to him and he will guide you through this. When he feels the storm has served it’s purpose for good, he will call it to calm.
Our storms are only relative to what we’ve experienced before. If you’ve only gone through little stuff, you can naturally tend to blow the little stuff way out of proportion. Little problems become big problems when our world is so darn small. This is why God called us to a BIG Life.
2 Corinthians 6: 12-13 MSG “Your lives aren’t small, but you’re living them in a small way. Open up your lives. Live openly and expansively!”
Why? Because if you don’t open up your life and start living BIG, your small life will be overwhelmed with small problems that look really big.
I host women’s adventure retreats. I spend my days dreaming up beautiful places to explore and awesome adventures to experience, then I create a retreat to share it with others who want to step into their BIG Life. One of my most memorable retreats was our first trip to Colorado. What’s the perfect summer adventure in Colorado … whitewater rafting of course!!!!
I chose a level 3 rapids for our group. 3 on a scale of 5 seemed like just enough action and adventure without actually killing anyone. That’s always the goal.
To my great surprise, on the week before our scheduled trip there was a massive snowfall on the mountains and when all that snow melted, the rivers were roaring with more water than ever before. More water means more rapids. More rapids mean more adventure. More adventure means “holy crap Pamela, what have you gotten us into?”
I prayed my way through that entire ride. It was wild and amazing, and WAY MORE than we signed up for. We all floated in looking like a bunch of drown rats, but not a single one of us fell out of our rafts and we were all so proud of our bravery. We were told our little class 3 rapids were more like a 4.5 that day. Our chests swelled up with pride, and we drug our exhausted butts back to the bus where no one could move a muscle.
The next summer, I took another group of women ready for an adventure to Colorado for retreat. I took them on the same exact stretch of the river to give them the same exhilarating experience. I told them all the stories of the wild heroics of the year before and they were ready.
Y’all, it was more like a float ride just floating down the river with the occasional splash. The water was low that year instead of overflowing, and to me the thrill was gone. But to the first timer who had nothing else to compare it to, it was the wildest ride ever. We had 2 girls fly overboard in the excitement of it all.
Why 2 overboard on the much easier ride, and none on the wild ride the year before? Because we got lazy. If you’ve ever been whitewater rafting, you know there’s only one way to stay in the boat, LOCK YOUR FEET IN. You shove your feet between the sections of the boat, you sit on the very edge and paddle, and when those pounding rapids come at you, it’s only your secure feet that save you.
Well, when the rapids are less threatening, you loosen your feet a bit and then before you know it, that little unsuspecting rapid just landed your butt in the middle of the river without your paddle.
And this is exactly how we lose our way sisters. When life is easy and we’re floating along, we loosen our grip. We get stop demanding the seat next to Jesus when we feel everything is going okay. Heck sometimes we even decide to boat hop and get on another boat. Jesus, you can be on that boat, I’m going on this boat … we’ll meet up later.
Uhhhhh huh, that’s exactly what we do.
Maybe if you look around at the boat you’re on today you realize you aren’t even on the boat with Jesus anymore. You jumped ship sometime ago when things started getting a little easier. You wanted the boat that went faster. You wanted the one that looked more fun. The only thing wrong with that is, you forgot to ask if that’s where Jesus was going too.
I betcha Jesus likes fast boats. And I bet he likes fun boats. Jesus was afterall the life of the party. He wasn’t some fuddy-duddy sitting with his arms folded shewing away all the fun. He loved and he laughed, he showed up for the party, and when the wine ran out, he made more. So there’s nothing wrong with fast boats and fun boats, what’s wrong here is jumping on a boat without Jesus.
Did you ask him if this was a good boat? Did you ask him if this was the best boat for you? Did you look around to make sure he was on the boat with you? No … well, this might be where a storm happens.
And there’s another story about Jesus and a storm that tells us even when we wake up in the middle of a storm and realize we got on this boat without Jesus, he will come rescue us.
Oh yes he will.
Remember the disciples out on a boat, this time without Jesus, and a storm rolls in.
Matthew 25: 14-32
“Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.
But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
“Come,” he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
Maybe it’s time in this storm to call out to Jesus. Maybe to some it’s not a big storm, but to you it’s big because it’s all you know. I’m pretty sure Jesus responds to thunderstorms and tornadoes alike. A storm is a storm and Jesus is the master of all. You don’t have to be all overly dramatic and make it worse than what it is. Jesus will come when you call. Nor do you have to wait until it gets way worse to call him in. He can show up today!
This storm is not here to destroy you, it is here to draw you close to Jesus. It is here to help you dig in again. It is here to redirect you and focus you. It is here to show you the power of God in a way you may have never seen before.
If you’re in the boat with Jesus, notice he’s not freaking out. He’s still full of peace here. Claim the seat next to him and watch him calm the storm.
If you look around and realize somewhere along the way you got in a different boat going away from Jesus, the only thing you have to do now is call out to him and ask him to come get in the boat with you. He will ride this storm with you. He will join the fight with you. He will get right in the middle of this mess with you, and while he won’t excuse you from doing your part to clean it up, he will help you in the process. He’ll bail water with you. He’ll make repairs with you. He will redirect this ship with you. WITH YOU.
You with Jesus and Jesus with you.
That’s the way you’re going to get through this storm.
What will he do for you in this storm? Oh he might calm it all today and make it stop. He could do that, and if that is what is absolute best, then that’s exactly what He will do. But he might also invite you to sit in close by him and ride this storm out. He might offer you his peace, and that peace is the kind that just doesn’t make any sense at all, but it is real! Or, he might just offer you the opportunity to walk out on the water with him today. To do the impossible right in the middle of this storm. To witness miracles right here. And well, that would be pretty darn awesome too.
So, we open our lives up to God here and say, whatever you want to do in this storm, I trust you. I just want to make sure I’m sitting next to you.