Know Your Storm

In life we all face difficulties, some brought on by our own choices and some that just come along. As a follower of Christ, I have found that my hardships cannot be distinguished from those in the world except for this one thing, hope. I have hope that even in my difficult times, even when I'm going through rough waters, I have a Companion who will never let me down. Sometimes that is the only lifeline I have to stay afloat when all hell seems to have broken loose.

The one key I have found is to know which storm you're in because, you see, there are basically two kinds: the kind you encounter when you're running from God and the kind when you followed His instructions. Seems kind of like a darned if you do, darned if you don't scenario, but hear me out. When I am battling through the churning waters and trying to keep my head above water these are the two scenarios I find myself returning to. Am I running from or into what He told me to do?

Jonah knew what God wanted him to do and he purposely went in the opposite direction. He foolishly though that he could run from God, but God sent a storm and as it turns out Jonah's disobedience affected the sailors on the boat with him. He knew that the only way to get that storm to die down was to allow the guys to toss him overboard. I don't know what Jonah was thinking but the truly awesome part was that God then sent a whale, great fish, what have you, to swallow him and let him think about his decisions for a few days. There have been times in my life that I ran from what God had for me. I thought I could figure it out. But oh no, the Lord in His graciousness sent storms, situations, to get me back in the position of obedience. I have had to sit in time out a few times my self.

Then there are the storms like the disciples encountered. The ones where Jesus says, "Get in the boat and let's go to the other side." Jesus was there in the boat with them and a storm came along and they thought they were definitely gonna die and He wasn't doing anything about it! The Bible says that the waves were crashing over the sides of the boat and it was filling with water. The boys had a real reason to be afraid but Jesus was sleeping through the whole thing. They woke Him up, He spoke to the storm and then He spoke to His disciples confronting their lack of faith. (Mark 4:35-41)

Another time Jesus sent the boys across in a boat ahead of Him. A wind battered their boat all night. Then Jesus came walking up to their boat on the water. Peter joined him for a bit and then lost his sights and began focusing on the waves and began to sink. Jesus pulled him up and they both got in the boat. At that moment the winds died down. (Matthew 14:22-34)

These two stories bring to my attention that the disciples were doing what Jesus had told them to do and a storm came up anyway. The wind pushed against them, the waves crashed over them. Their faith was questionable but in it all Jesus still stepped in and made things right. Following after Jesus doesn't mean we are not going to encounter hard times. This is not an easy road we are called to walk and when we meet difficulty that doesn't mean we are doing things wrong. The key is to keep in obedience with what He has called you to do and then having faith that He will help you get there.

Obedience and faith.

Faith and obedience.

Two words implicated with difficulty, submission, going against the tide of popular understanding, and yet grounded in hope.


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