freedomfrom fear

Dark storm clouds came up on the boat that Jesus and the disciples were in. Rain came pelting down and gale force winds whipped their boat in circles. Wave after wave splashed into the boat soaking the men and swamping their boat. The disciples were rowing and rowing as hard and fast as they could to get out of the furious squall and make it safely to land, but they couldn't make any progress – they were stuck in the middle of the sea about to capsize and drown!

The disciples were soaked in panic. They were drenched in doom. And Jesus was sleeping peacefully! Finally, they screamed at him in frustration: "Help Jesus! We're going to drown! Don't you care about us?" (Mark 4:35-41).

<3>The Storm of Storms

Here In the United States we have experienced some incredible storms and natural disasters over recent years. Perhaps the one most vividly etched in people's minds is Hurricane Katrina.

On the morning of August 28, 2005, the National Weather Service issued an ominous-sounding alert that would affect the large port city of New Orleans. Hurricane Katrina, previously listed as a category 1 level storm, had suddenly morphed into a category 5 hurricane heading straight for New Orleans. The prediction went on to include extensive damage to homes and commercial buildings, power outages, and widespread flooding. Water shortages were anticipated as well. All in all, the people of New Orleans could expect a prolonged time of suffering.

By daybreak of August 29, the cable news coverage revealed that Katrina was in fact the most damaging hurricane in U.S. history. Worst yet, the physical damage was not the only challenge. Looting, crime, rape, and sniper fire all joined the mix. Most Americans will never forget the scenes on television. The residents of New Orleans certainly won't.

But you know what? Six years later, New Orleans is still on the map. The New Orleans Saints won a Super Bowl and the residents of New Orleans have continued to demonstrate amazing resiliency. Granted, there is much left to do, but the city continues to move forward.

<3>How About Your Storm

Many of us often react with stress, worrying, complaining, or getting frustrated. All we see is the storm and so we worry about the waves that were threatening us. All we know to do is to obsess on how we can fix things by rowing safely to shore. Perhaps we'd say a prayer, but generally, for most people, we feel like we are on our own to deal with the problems.

What happens to us is not the key issue. What matters most is our response. We don't have much control over circumstances. However, we do get to choose how we will react to the situation. Let's briefly examine one storm that the disciples experienced. They never anticipated what was coming. Earlier in the evening Jesus had told them to get into some boats and head to the other side of the Lake of Galilee. No biggie- they had done this many times. In fact, some of the disciples were professional fisherman who had spent their entire lives fishing in this water.

Yes, the storms of life will come. They will come suddenly, and there is usually nothing we can do to change it. It's not about being a good or bad person. It happens to all of us. The only thing we can do is respond. My mind flashes back to dozens of times I have been with people who have just been hit by a storm. Some reacted well, some panicked, and others remained in denial.

At this point, I imagine you have thought about a few of your own storms and how you were able to handle them. Perhaps you are passing through a storm now. It could be a storm involving health, work, relationships, finances, addictions, depression, virtually anything. It's not so much what the storm is, but rather how you will react. Remember, you're not helpless and you'll get to choose how you will respond.

What About Me?

For me, my reality was the storm. My identity was tied up in how I dealt with wind and waves. My solution was to work hard and smart to make things better for myself.

It was not until i studied How Jesus dealt with the Storm that I have been able to change my response.

Then I looked closely at Jesus and saw him being one with the storm!

How could Jesus sleep in the boat while the storm raged on? How could he be so relaxed when he was rain-soaked, chilled to the bone, the disciples were yelling, and everyone was in great peril? He and his friends were about to drown! You might think he was calm because he was the Son of God and he knew he could calm the storm with a word. I don't think that's why.

Jesus was also a human being. The Bible tells us that Jesus was tempted in every way that we are, including to worry and to give into fear (Hebrews 4:15-16). And he was tempted to take matters into his own hands and act on his own, without the Father (Matthew 4:1-11).

The Source of Peace

So what's the answer? Why didn't the storm make Jesus afraid? How could be so calm in a crisis? Because he knew the Father's love.

You see, Jesus wasn't just in the visible storm – he was in the invisible kingdom of the heavens. He saw more than the waves – he saw his Father and many angels in action all around him. He heard more than thunder and the wind whipping the boat – he heard the words of his Father. He felt more than the cold wind and rain – he felt his Father's care.

So when Jesus awoke to face the storm he didn't command the wind and waves on his own. He simply said what he heard the Father saying, as he always did (John 14:10, 24). Jesus faced all kinds of trials, injustices, and hardships throughout his life and he didn't anxiously rush to fix these things on his own – instead he relied on the Father with him, rested in his easy yoke, and followed his lead. This is why he was at peace in the life-threatening storm. Jesus' heart was full of divine peace and so it came out of him – it was the peace in Jesus that quieted the storm in the sea and the one in the disciples' souls.

May the peace of Christ calm your soul and help you to rest in the Father's arms.