Storms are an inevitable part of life. Seems like they always have been and always will be. And I hate that fact. I want calm. I want peace. I am weary, tired of all the struggle. I want to know that at some point the war for my heart’s affections will die down and cease. However, that’s not where I am today, try as I might to get there. I’m not meant to be at that place today. But I’m learning that the storms have a distinct purpose, and it’s not just to throw me headlong into the breakers to drown.
One day [Jesus] got into a boat with his disciples, and he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side of the lake.” So they set out, and as they sailed he fell asleep. And a windstorm came down on the lake, and they were filling with water and were in danger. And they went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” And he awoke and rebuked the wind and the raging waves, and they ceased, and there was a calm. He said to them, “Where is your faith?” And they were afraid, and they marveled, saying to one another, “Who then is this, that he commands even winds and water, and they obey him?” — Luke 8:22–25
Sleeping through the storm
I find it hard to believe Jesus didn’t know this storm was on its way. And given the fact that it caused lifelong fishermen to fear for their lives, I’m really wondering how He stayed asleep. But I think the important detail is Jesus knew the storm would hit and He wanted to see how His disciples would react. They panicked, just like we humans do, because their circumstances were grave and very real in the moment. They had never been delivered from such a storm. How could they expect to be saved from one such as this?
Calming the storm
Jesus rebuked the storm and it ceased. Jesus spoke. The storm ceased. Jesus took the opportunity to reveal a bit more about Himself through this storm. Jesus used a near-death experience to show, to physically put on display, His power to speak the weather into submission. The men that had only been called three chapters before, were taken to the brink of death so that Jesus could show them another facet to His being. Doesn’t God do this for us today?
Faith never prospers so well as when all things are against her: tempests are her trainers, and lightnings are her illuminators. When a calm reigns on the sea, spread the sails as you will, the ship moves not to its harbour; for on a slumbering ocean the keel sleeps too. Let the winds rush howling forth, and let the waters lift up themselves, then, though the vessel may rock, and her deck may be washed with waves, and her mast may creak under the pressure of the full and swelling sail, it is then that she makes headway towards her desired haven. — November 12 Morning, “Morning and Evening” by Charles Spurgeon
Riding out the storms
Life without storms would be predictable and eventually get boring. Yes, these words are coming from the one who just wrote that he hates storms in life. I don’t understand how He does it, but God has used the storms in my life, and is currently doing so, to show me attributes and truths of Himself that I would not have understood or listened to at any other time. He has used calamity time and again to show me a love that is so visceral, personal, and deep as to even care about saving me from the breakers of life, small and large. He somehow uses the storms to reveal to me that His love is bigger, wider, taller, deeper than I will ever understand, but that He will also take the time to pull back the veil when I’m ready.
Storms in life do not show how mean or vengeful God is. No, they show me just the opposite. They show His love, affection, care, grace, and mercy. His salvation from these storms only highlights how awesome and loving He is. They show me that He is far more benevolent and Fatherly than I may ever comprehend. They show me that time and again He will stoop down and with a word calm the seas when I am about to drown. The storms show me that God is good.