Monday, October 7, 2013

"The Anchor Holds..." ~Matthew 8: 23-27

      Are you fighting through a storm?  Do you feel like a little boat being tossed around by huge waves, crashing rain?  Do you feel helpless, hopeless, afraid?  Like you have lost all control?  Have you really "given up" and feel you‘re about to drown?  I know those feelings well.  
     There were so many people in scripture who shared those frustrations.  Some oblivious ones were Jonah, Noah, the disciples in the storm.  Other, less oblivious characters, were people Jesus encountered along his travels who were struggling with sin, with disease, with failure.  Broken, hurting people.  Not the great speakers, city leaders, kings.  Jesus was drawn to the people in the storm…to rain and pain.  To fear.  To failure.  To hopelessness.
     I’ve fought the rain and wind in a boat without a steering wheel, drifting without any control of where I would land, just like Noah.  I’ve run from God, tried to hide, and found myself swallowed up in dark nasty places, just like Jonah.  Sadly, I’ve run from God more than once.  
     But the story that really speaks to me is the one about the disciples in the storm.  I’ve been in that little boat struggling to stay afloat as wave after wave crashed down on me.  I’ve felt that fear as I struggled to catch my breath before the next disaster hit me.  I’ve tumbled around, trying to get my feet under me, just to be knocked down again and again.  Day after day, month after month.  I’ve been there.  I’ve wondered if Jesus was still with me.  If He saw what was happening.  If He even cared.  I’ve felt alone.  Abandoned.  Exhausted.
      The sad thing for the disciples is they had Jesus right there with them.  Not ten feet away.  Such an untapped source of strength and peace and stability.  They had traveled with Him, watched him heal people, forgive people, perform miracles right in front of their eyes.  They looked into His eyes every day.  Saw His power.  And yet, in the middle of the night, in the raging storm, they got scared.  And so do I.
     I think they got a little angry.  A little resentful of Jesus.  Sleeping soundly as they fought the waves.  I think they felt a little abandoned out in the that dark scary place.  And I think they thought for a while that they could handle things on their own.  And waiting so long to call on Him for help almost got them drowned.
     I have watched Jesus perform miracles.  Over and over in my life.  I have walked with Him, looked into His eyes.  Watched Him heal people, forgive people.  And yet, just like these men who fought the storm, I have gotten scared in the dark waves.  I have tried to fight on my own.  Rely on myself.  And have almost drowned because of it.  Sadly, not just once, but over and over.
      At times I have turned to Jesus as a last resort, just like Jonah.  After I’ve been swallowed.  After I have run and tried to hide.  After I have caused more damage than was there to start with.  I have waited until the storm had me beat down, the waves had taken all the life out of me, and finally I turned to Jesus in despair.  And there He was, waiting for me, just like the disciples, ten feet away.  Peaceful.  Strong. My life preserver.
       My favorite thing about the storm story is His calm.  He got up and rebuked the waves, and the sea. I love the peace after the storm.  I love the thought of Him speaking quietly to the waves, the chaos, the drama, the powerful forces of nature.  I love the way the weather instantly obeyed Him.  That’s my favorite part.  His quiet and steady power.
     He’s waiting in my storm.  He’s my peace.  He can speak to my chaos and drama.  He can make it stop with just a calm word.  Why do I wait so long to go to Him about it?  Why do I go as a last resort, when I am exhausted and almost drowned?  I’ve seen His miracles, His power, so many times.  And yet, sometimes I still choose to fight the storm on my own.  To struggle in the tall waves.  To gasp for breath when I could breathe easily.  I don’t understand why.  But He does.  And He lifts me gently from the deep water and places me back on solid ground.
      Because always, in the end, he’s my Lifeguard.  My Anchor.  Always.  Oh, thank you, God, for rescuing me, over and over, from the storms.

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