The Anatomy of a Storm
Storms. Unexpected tests we can’t cram for.
They have the uncanny ability to reveal by our reaction what we have solidly attained thus far in our walk with the Lord. Not what we WISH we had, or what our best friend has, but what we truly know and believe, deep inside us.
Beyond the facade.
I have never been good at math. When I was a kid, my dad would try to help me with my math homework. That was usually not a good situation. Put one brilliant but not very patient person with someone who gets confused and intimidated easily and doesn’t “get” math at all, and you have a prescription for some unhappy homework sessions.
In those times of anxiety, my math IQ was bumped back down to 3rd grade. I would only be SURE of the very basics – the things I had learned years ago and were now a part of me. Basic addition. The multiplication tables. Simple division. Anything beyond that, anything I was working on but didn’t own yet, flew out the window.
The storms of life affect us in much the same way. What we have solidly acquired is what will see us through. The rest flees at the first hint of trouble, like dandelion seeds blown from the stem in a gust of wind. Like nebulous math equations that haven’t yet congealed in our brains.
The disciples were in the same boat. They had no unfair advantage in spite of being in close physical proximity to the Teacher. We’d like to think they did, but their test results show otherwise.
Let’s dissect their storm in Matthew chapter 8. Although theirs was an actual storm of wind and waves, it has many parallels to the ones we so often face.
“Then He got into the boat and His disciples followed Him. Without warning, a furious squall 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 wind and the waves, and it was completely calm.”
Matthew 8:23-26, NIV
Jesus didn’t prioritize His disciples’ comfort over their spiritual maturity. Prioritizing comfort produces weakness. Jesus didn’t say, “You know guys, I think we may want to walk around the lake this time.” No – He led them straight into the path of the storm because only in going through the storm would they receive the value of the storm.
Storms have value. Sometimes Jesus leads us into them so that we can know what we have attained and where we need to grow. If we never NEED our faith but live always in comfortable, unthreatened security, we will never know what is on the inside of us. It is in the exercising of a muscle that one can ascertain its strength. I can’t tell how many pounds I could bench press by sitting on the bench sipping a milkshake and reading a magazine.
His presence is enough.
“Jesus was sleeping”. Have you ever felt like Jesus went to sleep on the job in your life? I know I have! But the point is His presence. He was with His disciples, and He is with us, always. Even when He is silent, He is still there, interceding for us that our faith won’t fail, and providing us with what we need to grow into maturity.
HOUSTON, WE HAVE A PROBLEM
When is it time to panic? Apparently, never.
Jesus asked His disciples why they were afraid BEFORE he calmed the storm…while they were still having to shout over the wind. He presented His pointed query while the waves were lashing their faces, drenching their hair and clothes and swamping the boat, putting their lives in great danger (or so they believed). In the middle of their terror, Jesus asked them why in the world they were afraid.
Why should they NOT be afraid? Because they had Jesus right there in the boat with them. His presence is the key – not His perceived inaction. We know this math – it’s a simple equation.
God’s presence + my problem = the power to prevail over it. Click To Tweet
Friend, you and I have the promise of His presence too. Just as real. Just as powerful.
What storm are you facing today? Be encouraged to know that if you belong to Him, He is in the boat with you, and His presence gives you the power you need to prevail over your storm, too.
Not currently caught up in a storm? Think back to the last one you experienced. What did it reveal? Quiet trust in the faithfulness of God, or something else? Ask Him to show you where He wants to grow you and spend time meditating on His Word. Ask a trusted friend to pray for you, and pray for them as well.
After Jesus rebuked the wind and waves, it was “completely calm”. The calm between the storms. If the purpose of a storm is to reveal the condition of our faith, then perhaps the calm seasons are to be used to grow it. If we use every calm to just bask in the relief and entertain ourselves until the wind picks up again, will we be any better off in the next storm?
If you find yourself feeling battered and shipwrecked by the storms of life, would you allow me to pray for you?
“Gracious Father, I pray for the ones who feel like they are being destroyed by the storms of life. I pray that you would give them eyes to see You alongside them in their boat. I pray that You would shift their focus from the waves around them to Your peaceful, powerful presence. Strengthen their faith, and give them a desire to actively grow it by time spent in Your Word and with Your people. Bring them safely through their current storm and use it to help them attain maturity in You.”
I want my next storm to reveal greater faith and strength than the last one did, so I’m joining those of you who are praying to that end!
Remember – God’s presence + my problem = the power to prevail!
With faith, hope, and love –