Monday, December 24, 2012

Appreciating the Storm

Almost two years later, I'm still learning the lesson of the previous post, though in a slightly different way. "Why are ye so fearful, O ye of little faith?" (Matthew 8:26) Why, indeed, are we so quick to panic when we lose our semblance of control, when circumstances seem set to overwhelm our futile efforts to save ourselves and keep the boat afloat? How is it that we so easily forget Who is in the boat, and why we are here in the first place? Do we really recognize, do we really know Who this is, asleep in the back of the boat? Despite all appearances to the contrary, our Keeper does not slumber nor sleep. (Psalm 121) He is never absent or preoccupied, (1 Kings 18:27) but is an ever present help in time of trouble (Psalm 46:1) and his ears are open to our cry (Psalm 34:15). He is never taken by surprise, never overwhelmed, never out of control. Why then do we become afraid? Are we, like the disciples, surprised to witness His power to calm the storm, to experience the reality of His authority over all creation? We have chosen, as did the disciples, to follow Him, despite the inconveniences (Matthew 8:20), perhaps even at an inopportune time (21 - 22). But do we really trust the One we have chosen to follow, the One we call "Lord"? Does He really know what He is doing, can we really rely on Him in difficult circumstances? Laying aside the storm for a moment, does He even know where He is going, where He is taking us? Can we really trust our future to anyone besides ourselves? More to the point, can we put our hopes, our dreams, our very lives into the hands of One who is sleeping in the back of the boat when we most need Him up front?

How quickly we forget who it is that should lead and who follow; who is servant and who is Lord. We are here for His purpose, not He for ours. This is His plan, His purpose, His journey, His ocean, His boat. It is not our place to navigate or to row. We are His. He leads. He steers. We simply follow. He made us. He called us. He loves us. He has His plan for us. Whether in storm or calm, following charted course or launching into the dim unknown, we do not need to know, we do not need to understand, we do not need to see, we do not need to have control. We need simply to trust, and not be afraid. Far more than merely surviving the storms, we will then be able to truly appreciate them--maybe even enjoy the ride!

Further thoughts...

Think of the extreme sport that you always wanted to try but are wise enough to abstain from. What if Jesus came along and did it with you? Imagine the thrill of abandoning yourself completely to the experience without fearing the risks!

Welcome to the Christian life! Only this time, you're going along with Jesus, not the other way around. If He invites you to go skydiving, why in the world would you stay in the plane?! If only I could learn to look at life that way! Dear God, speak peace into the storms of doubt that trouble my soul, that I may learn to overcome fear with faith and be able to truly enjoy the ride.