There are times that you just have to go through the storm,
taking him at his word. He goes through it with you.
A few years back, after a hug and a kiss goodbye, my friend and I gave my mother a final wave as we headed home. Having made the return trip between Edmonton and Calgary countless times, I knew we’d have about a three-hour journey ahead of us. To the north, the afternoon sky was black as night but we were not too concerned; we had seen several quick cloud bursts pass by earlier in the day. As the official DJ of our excursion, I selected some breezy summer music, and we were on our way.
When we merged on the highway, violent wind gusts threatened to pull the vehicle off the road. My friend tightened her grasp on the steering wheel. I reassured her that the particular stretch of highway was notorious for wind shear and the gusts would die down a few miles ahead. Little did I know.
Contrary to my predictions, the storm intensified. With a crack of thunder, the skies opened. A torrential downpour accompanied the winds. I turned off the music as it jarred against the rhythm of the windshield wipers and the wind howling against our car. We had no choice but to slow down.
The clouds were dark and thick as far as we could see. As the driving rain greatly restricted visibility on the highway, we would be putting ourselves in danger by pulling over to the side of the road. We didn’t have the funds to stay overnight in a hotel. We prayed for God’s protection and continued on our way.
Although we only stopped once for a quick bite to eat, our gruelling trip took close to five hours.
One day, Peter and his fellow disciples faced a severe storm of their own as they travelled with their Master. As I read John 6:26-66, I imagine the disciples settling in, making themselves comfortable. Perhaps a few of them sprawled out on the grassy hill underneath a shady tree and lazily looked around the crowds down below. A quick afternoon nap in the warm mid-afternoon sun might have appealed to some of them. They had followed Jesus for a while now, and perhaps a wee bit of familiarity had crept in, perhaps they assumed they knew what he would share.
However, as soon as Jesus began to speak, his disciples sat upright, dumbfounded by what their Master was sharing. Did he really just say that? Did he think they were only following him for a free meal and a miracle or two?
Hurt feelings quickly gave way to confusion, then disbelief, and finally outrage as their Master continued to talk. Not only did Jesus declare himself to be the ‘Bread of Life’, he claimed that if they ate His body, they’d live forever.
It was too much for most of Jesus‘ devotees, and many left that day. Those who stayed doubtlessly, felt as exhausted as if they had spent the day on rough seas in a small boat. Those who survived the storm that battered against their religious sensibilities gathered around Jesus after he finished speaking.
John 6:67-69 – Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”
Anyone who follows Jesus will face similar testings of faith. Circumstances will shake us. Unanswered prayers, injustices, and disillusionment will batter against us, threatening to push us off course. We can turn our backs on Jesus by clinging to our own understanding, or we can walk forward, trusting God. If we choose to follow him, he will guide us through.
When we face stormy trials, the Lord asks us the same question that He asked Peter. “Are you going to leave?” Hopefully, our reply will remain the same as Peter’s. “Where would I go?”
As new creations in Christ, we have nowhere to return to, our old lives are gone. Our bridges are burned behind us. We press on, knowing that he has the words that will not just give us eternal life in the sweet-by-and-by; his words will provide us with an abundant life here on this earth.
Are you currently in the middle of a storm? Are there black clouds on the horizon? Remember this truth: you dwell in Christ, the One who rests in the assurance that he is the master over the storm.
Aggressively seek after peace! Bill Johnson often shares the secret of keeping his peace through troubled times. He begins reading the Psalms, starting at Psalm One, and he doesn’t stop reading until one of those Psalms hits home.
Create a go-to list of Bible verses that you can pull out in the midst of a storm. Keep them handy on your smartphone or write them out on index cards. Consider them your emergency preparedness kit.
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All Bible verses attributed to the ESV version unless otherwise indicated.
Until Next Week
2018 Katherine Walden
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