The waves and wind still know His name.

Years ago… I sat in my minivan in the Target parking lot and sobbed after a particularly intense battle with a strong-willed child.

Why hadn’t God changed me, made me more patient?  Why hadn’t God eased this constant turmoil?  Why hadn’t God repaired what was broken in our relationship?

“Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown?”

That’s what Jesus’ disciples asked him that night they were in a boat with him and the storm was closing in (Mark 4:38).  And that’s how I felt that night in the parking lot.

I have been captivated by this story for several years now.  I think it’s because I see myself and my own story reflected in it so clearly.

Here’s the whole story, told in the gospel of Matthew (New Living Translation):

Jesus Calms the Storm

23 Then Jesus got into the boat and started across the lake with his disciples. 24 Suddenly, a fierce storm struck the lake, with waves breaking into the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. 25 The disciples went and woke him up, shouting, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”

26 Jesus responded, “Why are you afraid? You have so little faith!” Then he got up and rebuked the wind and waves, and suddenly there was a great calm.

27 The disciples were amazed. “Who is this man?” they asked. “Even the winds and waves obey him!”

Do you have (or have you had) a storm in your life that pulls you down, that threatens to overtake you?

I know I have.  And I’ve often wondered why God has even allowed the storm to begin with.  (or taken it away after I’ve prayed about it the first time, or the tenth time, or the 100th time)

I think this story – and, by the way, it’s told in Matthew, Mark, and Luke – has so much we can learn from!  Why did God send that storm?  He’s in control of all things, his son was in that boat and wanting to cross over the lake – so what was the point of the storm?

Four things I have come to understand after reading and praying and pondering:

The storm gives Jesus an opportunity to display His power.

The storm allows us a front-row seat to be amazed by Jesus.

The storm increases our trust and faith in Jesus.

And the storm helps us learn to turn to Him when we are afraid.

One of the things I think is so cool about being able to read this story from the perspectives of three different writers is that there are different nuances emphasized in each.  Mark, for example, says the disciples didn’t only declare that they were going to drown, but they also asked Jesus if he even cared that they were going to drown!

Isn’t that the way it is sometimes?  Not only are we afraid for the outcome (and at least in my life I assume the outcome is going to be the very worst!), but we are also afraid that Jesus doesn’t even care – that he’s abandoned us.

Jesus, don’t you care?

Haven’t you felt that way at some point?

Here’s the good news:  the answer is always yes.  A resounding yes.

We just don’t always see the bigger picture.

But we must cling to what we know is true – God is good.  He is faithful.  He is with us always.  His plan for us is good.  He is in control.  He loves us deeply.  Our knowledge and wisdom is limited, but His is not.

Nehemiah 9:17 “But you are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love.”

and words straight from the mouth of Jesus,

“And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)

May we lean into the lessons he is teaching because we know His awesome goodness, faithfulness, and love.  And may we remember that the waves and wind still know his name.

 

 

 

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The Last Week in Pictures

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Tuesday: My youngest turned 10! How did that happen!

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Wednesday: Major windstorm knocked down this beautiful evergreen in our front yard. Thanking God that it only fell on our garage but damage was minimal!

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Wednesday, continued: Can you believe the tree missed Dave’s car by mere inches?

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Thursday: Dave home from China with a cold and a story of a Chinese pharmacy adventure.

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Friday: Rehearsal for first musical! Hairspray! And did I mention this girl turned 16 two weeks ago?

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Saturday:  My niece’s wedding!  A full day of visiting with family – including my two sisters from out of town.  It doesn’t happen often, but it’s so wonderful to have us all in the same place!

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Sunday: Hairspray!! Even after missing a few rehearsals because of the windstorm, the kids did an amazing job!

Monday: Tree being removed from the garage roof.

Monday:  The tree getting removed.

Tuesday: Snow day! Deer looking for food.

Tuesday:  Snow storm and another day off of school!  Deer looking for food in the backyard.

 

 

 

God’s Word for me…

My pastor preached two Sundays ago on the story in Matthew 8:23-27 where Jesus calms the storm (emphasis mine). 

23 Then Jesus got into the boat and started across the lake with his disciples. 24 Suddenly, a fierce storm struck the lake, with waves breaking into the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. 25The disciples went and woke him up, shouting, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”

 26Jesus responded, “Why are you afraid? You have so little faith!” Then he got up and rebuked the wind and waves, and suddenly there was a great calm.

 27 The disciples were amazed. “Who is this man?” they asked. “Even the winds and waves obey him!”

My pastor made some great points about this story that we can apply to our lives today:

When you are in the middle of a storm:

  1. ask God!
  2. question your fears instead of your faith!
  3. remember that Jesus is in the boat with you!

Those are such powerful truths from God’s word and I’ve been thinking about them a lot.  (by the way… I am so, so thankful for our church, where the Bible is taught and the lessons are relevant – every week!!)

But that wasn’t all God wanted to speak to me about that story.

I thought it was interesting how the disciples asked.  They said “we are going to die!”.  It struck me as kind of bold and presumptuous that they would dare proclaim the outcome of the situation to the God of the Universe – the One who controls everything.  A little backwards, isn’t it?

And I think that is why Jesus said they have “little faith”.  They were in His hands, but they didn’t have faith that He controlled the outcome.  And what’s more, they didn’t have faith that He knew and wanted what was best for them.

This story is also told in the gospels of Mark (chapter 4) and Luke (chapter 8)- and in Mark the disciples words that are recorded reveal a bit more: 

They say in Mark 4:38, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown?”

And what is even more remarkable in Mark’s retelling of the story is that before they even got into the boat, Jesus had told them the outcome.  In Mark 4:35, Jesus said,  “Let’s cross to the other side of the lake.”

Not only were the disciples were worried about the outcome, but they also worried that Jesus didn’t care about them.  And that’s understandable – when things are going wrong, don’t we jump to the conclusion that He doesn’t care?  In our earthly logic, when the outcome doesn’t look good, then God must not care.  But, oh, to have Jesus’ perspective!

 

Why don’t we believe when God speaks?

Why don’t we trust?

Why do we focus on the storm instead of the One who can calm it?

Why don’t we believe that He cares for us and desires good for us?

 

I do this so often in my own life!  How many times have I proclaimed the outcome of certain situations in my life – I blogged a little bit about my tendency to believe the worst outcome here.  And when I insist on doing this, I proclaim my monumental lack of faith and lack of trust!

The truth is this: 

God is in control.

He knows the outcome of each and every circumstance in our life.

He uses all things for the good of those who love Him – even those things that don’t make any sense in our own way of thinking!

He is good and He cares.

He is trustworthy.

 

 I’m praying that He will help me remember!