Step into a scene with me for a moment… on a boat in the Sea of Galilee, around 2,000 years ago…
As our boat journeyed over the waters, I closed my eyes to pause and just enjoy the moment. A warm breeze brushed my face, carrying the scents of sea and fish. The boat gently rocked in rhythm with the waves, soothing in its motion. Snatches of banter and laughter from my sailing companions reached my ears, and I smiled. This is the life, I thought.
At the cry of a gull I opened my eyes and stared up to peer at it. As its wings beat up and down at a smooth, steady pace, I stared, transfixed by how it appeared to move so effortlessly, so freely, through the brilliant blue backdrop of sky. The gull dipped down close to the water, and I noticed the sunlight made the surface appear to be strewn with sparkling diamonds.
As I continued to watch, clouds began to roll in, blocking out the rays of the sun. The sky darkened and the waters started to churn and rise.
My companions were no longer laughing. Shouts and orders competed with the sounds of the storm. All sense of peace gone, I fought against growing panic. What chance did we have of survival amidst these crashing waves and howling winds?
Huge waves tossed the boat about like it was a toy and water poured onto the deck. I carefully made my way across the lurching surface of the boat to help my fellow sailors until a thought stopped me in my tracks. Where is Jesus? When did I last seen him?
I wiped seawater from my eyes and glanced about. I heard shouting from the direction of the stern and made my way there.
What I found shocked me speechless for a moment before I joined in with the shouts of the others.
Jesus sat with his head cushioned on his arm, his eyes closed. The wind whipped his hair and the waves sprayed him, and yet he slept!
“Save us!” We cried. “We’re going to perish in the storm!”
When all our shouting finally roused him, Jesus took a moment to give each of us a look in the eye. When he spoke, his tone was a mix of rebuke and reassurance in one.
“Why are you so afraid? Where is your faith?”
No one had an answer. We watched in awed silence as Jesus rose and faced the raging waves.
With a voice that boomed so loud and commanding it could be heard even above the fury of the storm, Jesus cried out, “Peace! Be still!”
The sea stilled, and the storm subsided. We looked at him, we looked at each other, and we could do nothing but marvel and wonder.
This is one of my favorite snapshots of scripture, found in Matthew 8:23-27, Mark 4:35-41, and Luke 8:22-25. It convicts and reassures me at the same time.
Life is full of storms. Storms that knock our boats off kilter and pitch them willly-nilly, making us question if we will ever see the shore again.
I have weathered many storms. And each time a new one comes, I forget all about how I made it through the last one and worry that this one will tear apart the boat and leave me drifting and helpless.
I tend to respond like the disciples, and forget about faith.
And where does that get me? What does that accomplish?
Nowhere and nothing.
If I look at the rising water and roaring winds, then I fall into a panic and succumb to the stress. I fret and fear and grow weary with the worry.
How long til the storm passes? Will I make it to the safety of the shore? What condition will I be in when I reach the shore? How am I going to get through this? What do I do? Why is this happening? These questions can go around and around with no answers in sight as the storm keeps raging on. And I just keep wondering whether I can weather this storm.
And all this questioning and striving for solutions gets me is restlessness, headaches, an inability to concentrate, sleep deprivation, and a complete loss of relaxation or enjoyment of any activity.
Can you relate?
Well, the good news is there is a much better way…
It’s all about my focus. Is it on the waves and the wind, or the one who commands the waves and wind?
When I finally choose to look at God, His promises, and how He has helped me in the past, it is then, and only then, that I am at peace. This verse has proven true for me time and again, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.” Isaiah 26:3-4
This requires a deliberate shift in thinking. It is not easy at first, but once you do it, oh the joy!
What helps me is to look through scripture – there are so many wonderful treasures in God’s word. The Psalms are one of my “go to” places when I need uplifting, but there are several encouraging snippets sprinkled throughout the scriptures that are soul-soothing.
I also look back at how God has been faithful in the past – to me personally, and what is recorded in bible stories. In fact, that idea itself is in the bible: “I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your wonders of old.” Psalm 77:11
And sometimes it helps to put myself in a bible story and make it come alive, like I did with the above story.
While the storms won’t stop coming, and they won’t always pass swiftly or easily, as long as I can see Jesus in the boat with me, I have the strength to make it.
What helps you hold on to Jesus?
© Seeking Life Beyond
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Hi, I am Angela, and welcome to my blog. I am a woman trying to rise above the tides of this life, seeking to grow closer to God and share His love in the process.