Navigating life's storms

October 4, 2019

When we’re feeling overwhelmed we can call out to Jesus and ask him for help.

Have you ever been in a situation where you were scared? Really scared?

Fear is a powerful emotion that can come very unexpectedly, even randomly, and it can be crippling. Sometimes it happens because of our own actions, when we’ve made choices that have left us wondering if we’ll ever have a normal life again. Sometimes we are gripped by fear because of the actions of others.

In the Bible (Mark chapter 4, verses 35–41) we read of a situation where Jesus’ fol-
lowers were so afraid they thought they were going to die. 

They’d had a busy day with Jesus, who had spent hours talking to crowds of people gathered along the shore of the Sea of Galilee. As evening started to fall, Jesus suggested they cross to the other side of the inland sea. They all boarded a boat; Jesus must have been tired because he settled himself at the back of the vessel and was soon fast asleep.

Not long into the trip a violent storm blew up and these men, even those who were seasoned fishermen, were terrified. They thought they were going to drown and in their desperation called out to Jesus saying, (and I paraphrase this):
“Haven’t you noticed the storm Jesus? We’re about to drown and all you can do is sleep! Help us!”

There are a few things to note about this story. First, Jesus was in the boat with them and these men had seen Jesus heal people, cast out demons, bring the dead back to life and turn two loaves of bread and five fish into enough food to feed thousands — yet suddenly all that seemed to be forgotten.

That’s something we often do, isn’t it? It’s easy to trust God when things are going smoothly, but when we hit a bump in the road we seem to forget what God is capable of doing.

But no matter what storm we are going through, Jesus is there ‘in the boat’ with us. We are not meant to cope on our own. Psalm 46 reminds us that “God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in times of trouble.” Like the disciples, we can call out to Jesus and ask him for help.

The second thing to notice is that Jesus, with a word, brought calm to the situation. There are many promises in the Bible — thousands in fact — that can bring calm to our hearts if we remind ourselves of them. 

The third thing I noticed was the words of Jesus before they embarked on this trip (verse 35): “As evening came Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Let’s cross to the other side’.’’ He didn’t say let’s go to the middle of the lake and drown together.

He has the same message for us today. No matter the situation, if we rely on Jesus — if he is in the boat with us — we will get through it. Because he loves us, God doesn’t want the traumas of life to destroy us. In our hardest times he promises us the presence of Holy Spirit to get us through.

He’s there for everyone; even if you’ve never called on him before, you can start now. He will always answer a genuine call.

Clair Smith serves as a Salvation Army officer in Gympie (Qld).

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Vol. 139, No. 14 // 11 April 2020

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