On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. …And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, …But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” …
From the rising of the sun to its setting, life provides us with countless opportunities to make decisions. Some decisions seem mundane and inconsequential while others are potentially life-altering, character shaping and may affect not only our own life but the lives of others as well.
The Bible tells us that the disciples were provided an opportunity to make a choice. One evening, Jesus said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” They were faced with making a decision to either stay on the shore or join Jesus in the boat. We read that the disciples joined Jesus in the boat, leaving the crowd and the shore behind.
This story reminded me of the time when I made my decision to follow Jesus. He had been drawing me to himself long before I decided to jump in the boat with him. I wish I could say my decision was motivated by something other than what it was but, for me, my resolution was one made out of desperation. I’d spent years of my life on the shore and found my existence there increasingly futile. Something was missing from my life, I just didn’t know what, or more importantly, who. Jesus saw my desperation and lovingly drew me unto himself. The enormity of the commitment I made to Christ would be revealed to me as the years unfolded. In time, I came to realize that moment to be the singularly most important, life-altering decision I would ever make.
The Bible story continues, “And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”
If I had believed that life would suddenly become easier as a result of surrendering myself to Jesus, those thoughts were not permitted to linger long. Trials and temptations did not cease but in fact became ever more intense. The storms in my life threatened to shipwreck me while my faith was repeatedly tested. As Christs’ followers we are not immune to situations and circumstances that often make us feel as though we are drowning. Some may be drowning in financial debt, others are drowning in unresolved relationship issues and still others drowning in unrelenting physical and/or emotional pain. Over the years, I learned that my faith in Jesus grew with each passing storm. In fact, each storm provided the opportunity for me to know and love Jesus in a new and deeper way as he continually proved himself faithful.
“And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, ‘Peace! Be still!’ And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, ‘Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?’”
Ironically, it is during those times when the storm is the fiercest that Jesus reigns supreme. When fear assaults our sanity and the tempest threatens to overwhelm us, he stills our hearts and we are hushed into silent reverence in his presence. It is precisely at these most desperate of times that He proves He is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble (Psalm 46:1). He is the silver lining in every dark cloud.
Charles Swindoll has said, “We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations.”
Only Jesus Christ, our beautiful redeemer, has the power to turn impossible situations into great opportunities. We face our storms courageously, for the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, guards our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus.
With the dawning of each new day, I have the opportunity to choose to trust Jesus and let him take me to the other side of my circumstance, or stay on the shore. Heading into a storm with Jesus is far more comforting to me than staying on the shore without him. God’s sustained faithfulness enables me to face my unavoidable storms with courage and hope. He continues to shine the brightest when life is the darkest. I’ve learned to trust in his sovereignty observing his divine care revealed in infinite ways through many situations. His love protects me in the midst of life’s storms and when he speaks, and I am engulfed in a sea of enduring calm.
Zephaniah 3:17 reminds us, “The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; He will exult over you with loud singing.”
Father God, Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever.
In Jesus’ name. Amen.