Sea Storm

Strategies for Storm Survival

Years ago, I cruised through Alaska’s inside passage. Majestic tree-lined forests tower far above the cloud level, framing the ocean waters that spread between the shorelines in calm quietness.

The inside passage cruise is unique in that there are only a few hours when the ship sails through the open ocean without visible land on both sides. The ship sways a bit more, but for the most part, the inside passage is very serene.

We had been on the open ocean for less than 30 minutes when the captain said we may have some rough waters ahead . . . which was the understatement of the century. Not long after his announcement, 50- to 60-foot waves crashed against our ship. The crew tried to slam the doors shut, but water came pouring in, drenching the passengers.

Suddenly, no one cared how others looked—we were just trying to survive.

Not long ago, I ran across another interesting storm story. While in the throes of a tempest, the captain slept. Actually, the storm was on the Sea of Galilee, and the captain, so to speak, was Jesus. Matthew 8:23–26 tells us that Jesus and His disciples had boarded a boat on the Sea of Galilee after preaching and healing many people. The Sea of Galilee is positioned in such a way that massive storms sometimes arise without warning. Sitting well below sea level, the cold and hot air collide and create awful storms.

The disciples, who had just watched Jesus’s miracles and had sat front and center listening to His Sermon on the Mount (see Matthew 5–7), were terrified by the storm. They ran to Jesus, who was asleep, and shouted that they were about to die. But Jesus calmed the storm with a word. Because God created all things, cares for all things, and keeps all things in balance, Jesus’s nap seemed to the disciples to be ill-timed; but it wasn’t.

Nothing about Jesus is ill-timed.

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Letting Go of the Good Things

Truly, God uses the storms in our lives in profound ways. When waves crash against our lives, we have to let go of everything and cling to something solid. On earth, there are so many things we can cling to . . . and good things, but even good things can’t take Christ’s place.

Maybe you have to let go of trying to control something or someone. Sometimes we spend our lives wishing for a different path or less pain. Maybe you’re clinging to the hope that healing will happen or that God will stop that antagonizing person in his or her tracks and teach that person a thing or two. Really? Don’t you and I have a thing or two to learn? Let’s forget about everyone else and focus on trusting God in the midst of our storms.

Storms reveal a lot about our human condition and can teach us some vital lessons, like these:

  • Storms teach us to search for help and to seek Jesus with all our beings.
  • Storms teach us about God’s sovereignty and love—He’s in charge; we are not.
  • Storms show us there is wonderment and freedom in surrendering to God’s will.
  • Storms show us we cannot survive on this earth without Jesus and the hope He provides.
  • Storms remind us of what is truly significant in life.
  • Storms remind us there is sorrow and loss in this world and that our eternal focus is of highest value.
  • Storms reveal the depth of authentic faith.
  • Storms reveal our need for a Savior.

Let Me Hear from You

On the Sea of Galilee, Jesus calmed the storm and restored peace to the troubled waters. Jesus can calm the storms in your life, or He may allow them to rage while He offers you a hand to cling to. Either way, it’s a win-win if you place your trust in His love, care, and sovereignty.

Let’s talk about that this week.

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