What do you do when you’re in the midst of a storm? What’s the first thing that happens? Emotions take over, sometimes fear rushes in, or anger or blame or a myriad of things that usually aren’t too godly. But that’s human nature, right? We’ve had a storm in our family this week, and I’ve had to preach my own lessons to myself. The story isn’t mine to tell, so I will not tell the details now, but I want to try to teach myself something and let you come along.
When we first got our scary news this week, I cried, I prayed, my mind began the “What if this” and “Oh no, not that” and “How will we manage” and on and on, like all of us do. But over all of that, God was saying, “This is mine….I started this work and I will finish it.” I could feel His peace, know His presence, but the reality still was what it was – we were in a storm that was going to rearrange our lives for a bit and we were going to have to trust God that He had it all under control. These are the times when you learn whether you really trust or not or it’s all just talk.
One time we were going through something really terrible, a nightmare that just would not stop, and I said to Tom, “How do people who don’t know the Lord deal with things like this? How do they do it? If I didn’t have the Lord to go to, I think I would lose my mind.” My ever-practical husband says, “They drink, Teresa, they drink!” He’s probably right. I’ve had a friend recently going through one of those nightmares that don’t stop, and in the midst of the walk, she was thinking God had left her, God wasn’t there for her, beginning to doubt where God was in this mess, and I remember saying to her: “Here’s the deal – you’re going through something no mother should ever go through, no person should ever go through. But you are and it isn’t going away. So here’s the choice: You want God by your side in this nightmare, or you want to shut Him out and go through it alone?” My choice is, no matter how bad it gets, I’m not blaming God, I’m not questioning Him, I’m snuggling up as close as I can get and hanging on for the ride. No way I’m living this roller-coaster of a life without Him.
Our Pastor has been going through some storms of his own, and he preached a sermon Wednesday night that I’ve heard the scripture used a thousand times, but there was one point I’d never ever thought about. The story is the one in Matthew where Jesus walks on water and calls Peter to come to him. Usually the sermon is about how Peter could do it with his eyes on Jesus but when he began to doubt, he began to sink – powerful lesson and one we need.
25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.
27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
29 “Come,” he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
We all know when we keep our eyes on Jesus, he is a miracle worker, he is our healer, he is our deliverer, but when we begin to doubt and waver, we can almost feel ourselves sinking, sinking, sinking. The point that was made this Wednesday that hit me was the last verse where it says that when Jesus and Peter climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Jesus told Peter to come, and the other disciples just sat in the boat – don’t you think they could have gone also? Peter was the one that was always out there, the Type A, constantly hollering “Pick me, pick me, pick me!” But you know as well as I do that they could have gone also. But they didn’t. They watched someone else obey and learn that lesson of faith. But when Peter and Jesus returned to the boat, the storm quit. Someone else’s obedience stopped the storm for ALL of them. Wow.
I knew as I went through our storm this week that people would watch me for how I dealt, my children would watch me, and they needed me to be strong, have no fear, trust and walk on faith – and by golly, that’s what I’m going to do. But I never thought of the responsibility and privilege of you choosing to keep your eyes on Jesus in a storm and that calming the storm for everyone – wow, powerful, powerful lesson.
My name is Teresa Evans. I am a wife to Tom, a retired Circuit Judge, and I am a court reporter by trade, a mother by God's grace and a lover of Jesus Christ. I've grown up in a family blessed with many miracles, and have received multiple miracles myself.