How many times have we heard we are in uncharted territory; that this is an unprecedented time? I think every sector has said something like that in the past few weeks. Uncharted territory can be really scary and confusing. Nothing is familiar and it is easy to lose one’s perspective. But uncharted times also allows us to do things differently. As you know, to be abundantly cautious and to care for one another, we decided not to have worship last week. Two days later our Governor has prohibited 10 or more people to gather in a variety of places including church.
I will be offering a devotion/message a couple of times a week through email and Facebook. The session and I will have a videoconference tonight to discuss other ways we can stay connected with one another. I’ll get back to you on their thoughts and decisions.
Today’s take away:
- Storms happen all the time.
- God is in the boat with us every time.
- God rebukes the wind, not us.
- Good Fridays are going to come and go. Resurrection is forever.
- Drop your fear into God’s lap through prayer.
I am always available by cell 319.480.2993 and email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jesus and the disciples are crossing the Sea of Galilee one evening. A storm hits, the waves are crashing over the sides of the boat and the disciples are afraid. They wake Jesus up and he calms the storm.
Many of us have been on the lake when a storm hits. It is unnerving, to say the least. Waves, wind, lightning, thunder, you can’t even hear yourself think. The COVID-19 virus feels like one of those storms. We are being battered this way and that. Information changes hourly and the advice we are given seems too easy or hyped up or both. We can’t even think straight.
Then the disciples notice Jesus sleeping in the boat. He has been with them the whole time! They wake him up and he addresses the storm – Be Still! These are not empty words. They are a powerful reminder of who is in charge when the storms come.
After the storm, Jesus addresses the disciples. “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” Someone said, “God’s hold on you is stronger than your hold on Him, and He has no intention of letting you go.” Can we believe God yet? Can we believe that God is bigger than our biggest storm? Can we believe that He doesn’t rebuke us—He rebukes the storm? That He’s bigger than our deepest fear, stronger than our greatest enemy because He is God? It’s a challenge, isn’t it?
Because even in Jesus’ questions, there is a challenge there: How is our relationship with God? We trust or we don’t. Have you heard the phrase, “Don’t doubt in the dark what you heard in the light?” What did you hear before the virus broke out in China? Did you hear words of comfort, a reminder of God’s greatness? Were you told of God’s tremendous love? A love that was willing to die of the virus the Bible calls SIN so that we would be inoculated, protected, SAVED. Those words are said in the calm before the storm, so they can be a life preserver during the storm.
Good Friday’s are going to come and go. Times when all we can see is uncertainty and confusion; suffering and death. But a loving reminder from your pastor, for God’s children, there will ALWAYS be the resurrection of Jesus. Jesus is always in the boat with us.
I’m going to encourage you to name the thing that has you tied in knots and pray. We know prayer changes things. It changes things, whether it’s a cry of despair or a cry of joy. But know that He meets us in our storms whatever they are and whenever they take place.
Mark 4:35-41 Jesus Calms the Storm | New International Version (NIV)
35 That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” 36 Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” 39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. 40 He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” 41 They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”