Weathering the storms of life

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Life is not always a smooth sail and in this world no one is exempt from the storms of life. They can show themselves up anyhow, anyway, anytime. They can come as a crisis, shame, grief, stress and so forth, but either way they are not the best thing to experience.

A storm can be defined as a violent disturbance of the atmosphere with strong winds and usually rain, thunder, lightning or snow; a tumultuous reaction; an uproar or controversy.

This means that their presence in our lives disturbs our peace and calm. Most of the time, when we experience the storms, we find ourselves restless and doing anything and everything we can to bring the situation under control, yet most of these times, we fail miserably.

At one point, the disciples of Jesus found themselves in the middle of a stormy sea:

That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to His disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” (Mark 4:39- 40).

Just like the disciples of Jesus, we tend to think that God does not care about what we are going through. We end up thinking that He left us a long time ago or that He wants us to perish, but the truth is that He does care. He sees and knows everything. The fact that Jesus was sleeping in the same boat that was about to be swamped by the storm does not mean He was not aware of what was going on. But the disciples had to wake Him up.

I think that his disciples took control of the boat and began talking as they enjoyed the ride. They did not engage Jesus in the conversation and therefore He stepped at the back of the boat and slept off. He had told them to cross over, they heeded Him, but did not allow Him to be part of the journey – after all some of them were used to being in the sea because they were fishermen. They thought it was going to be a smooth sail, but it turned out tough than expected. But the moment they remembered that Jesus was actually there, they turned to Him wondered if He actually cared they were about to perish. Jesus calmed the storm and everything cooled down.

Sometimes we set on our journeys and begin with Jesus, but on the way, we forget that He was a part of that journey. The fact that we have Jesus in our lives does not mean that we will sail freestyle, as a matter of fact, that’s when it all gets tough. But the fierceness of the storms in our lives is not what matters; it is the presence of God. Many times we suffer the ‘wrath’ of the storms and they make us feel their weight and fierceness simply because of allowing Jesus to take the back seat. In every step of the way, we must involve God.

When He is ‘active’ in our lives, even when the storms come, we will be able to sail through. Acts 27 gives a clear picture of what it means to sail on a stormy sea with God actively involved in the journey. Despite the fact that there was a great storm and wind blowing against Paul and the crew, God encouraged the people through Paul that no matter what happens, they will reach to their destination safely.

All we have to do is to let God walk with us. Our suffering is not a surprise to Him, and letting Him be God in our lives helps us in preparing for the hard times ahead of us. More than that, He orchestrates our circumstances for His own glory and our benefit according to His perfect will. We must discipline ourselves to fix our attention on the Lord and keep walking because when we deviate our eyes and fix them on the storms we sink deeper into our own troubles and lose our focus.