Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…
“By now it was dark…a strong wind was blowing and the waters grew rough…they saw Jesus approaching the boat, walking on water…they were willing to take Him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading.”
John 6:17-21 (NIV)
As I sit here this morning, the sun is beginning to come up.
The recent spray of rainstorms has passed. Another reminder of a season of icy winds and wicked weather touching all of us in one form or another.
But at least for now—a moment of calm.
A peace has rolled in as I watch the sparkling drops of sunshine dance around the room. More peace surrounds me this morning than existed through the unsettling occurrences and happenings of the last month or so. It seems that the storms outside have been matched by the storms within because of things that I did, or failed to do. Storms magnified by moments I had hoped not to face—at least not yet—which rose up before me. Moments where I felt like I was being thrown up the side of one wave, and down another, wave after wave. Perhaps you know what I mean and how I felt.
Those disciples in the boat on a storm-tossed sea would have known how I felt. Knowing better and knowing Christ was there, yet they were still confused, unsettled, disoriented and anxious about the storms swirling around them. And then I heard again His words, words I knew, but words I had forgotten in the midst of the storms of the moment. It’s humbling to have to admit to myself that—in the midst of the storms all around me—I forgot for the moment that He was still in my boat. I forgot that He was still in control. I forgot that He still cared. But the reminder came, through those words I reread a few days ago in the Gospel of John…
“They were willing to take Him into the boat,
and immediately the boat reached the shore…”
I wonder if there are any storms in your life at the moment? Or perhaps you’re just coming out of some storm. Maybe you can see dark clouds gathering on the horizon of your tomorrows. We know that at some point of time for the rest of our lives we will go through them. They will come our way. As much as we would like to avoid them, they will surround us and buffet us. The issue for us when they occur will be how we will choose to go through them. Defeated and in despair or with a sense of optimism and hope believing that we will eventually come out on the other side. And also, whom will we choose to go through them with us? With Him, with someone else, or as we too often do—by ourselves.
Perhaps we will try to convince ourselves that we can avoid them. Yet careers are thrown off track, finances run short, loved ones are lost, unexpected illnesses occur. It’s going to happen. Maybe we would do well to remember that no matter how we live our lives, the rains will fall on the “just” and the “unjust.”
We can try to weather them by ourselves—we have all done that before by putting God in that little box we all keep nearby. Perhaps we will try to fix them ourselves, again. Remember the last time we tried to do that by ourselves? Or instead, we can look to Him and remember His past faithfulness to us, His presence with us, and realize that in the midst of the storms of our lives, He is probably preparing us for something else, something better, something else to do with Him.
We can stay in the boat hanging onto the rudder all by ourselves, hoping to make it through, hoping to eventually make it to shore. We’ve all done that before—just open your hands and look at the residue of calluses which linger there. Or, we can let Him into the boat—turn over control of the rudder to Him—and find ourselves immediately at the shore. The wind may still be blowing and the rain falling in torrents, but now it’s with our feet standing next to His, and back on solid ground.
In 1873, when he had just learned that his four daughters had drowned as the result of the collision of two vessels in the Atlantic Ocean on their way to Europe, Horatio G. Spafford, was no doubt about to experience the worst storm he would ever have to face. And even though he knew that his four daughters were now with their Heavenly Father, he probably had more reasons at that moment than most of us will ever have in a lifetime, to throw God out of the boat, to take over control of the rudder himself, to turn from God—and to reject the peace, power, presence and love of God in his life.
Instead, he wrote this:
“When peace like a river attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll; whatever my lot,
Thou hast taught me to say, it is well, it is well with my soul.
It is well…with my soul; It is well, it is well with my soul.”
No matter where we are in life, no matter what storms we face or find ourselves in the middle of—no matter the losses, the challenges, the valleys, obstacles or heartaches we are in the midst of, or find ominously looming in front of us—we can all decide how we will choose to go through them.
With Him or without Him.
Let me suggest—with Him. Invite Him—invite Jesus—into the boat. Turn the rudder over to Him—the Calm in the storm—and then see how long it takes you to get to the shore. But brace yourself before you do, because scripture says…
“And immediately the boat reached the shore…”
Amen! and Amen!
In His Name—Scott