Sunday, August 30, 2015

Calm in the storm - Matthew 8:26...


Walking and living with Jesus for almost a quarter century has given me daily opportunity for His Word to teach, correct, chastise, encourage and direct me.
"alive and living" (Hebrews 4:12) this Word is a constant and faithful guide into spiritual truth and revelation, so I know that during past seasons when I was not as earnest to study it as I am now I missed out on answers which would have helped me avoid bad decisions and dispelled my fears.

About six weeks ago I was studying the Gospel of Matthew, and even as I progressed through each chapter over my morning coffee I would keep turning back to chapter 8:26 and repeat it over and over before continuing on. 

My heart was drawn to it like a bee to honey - you see, there was a sweetness in that passage which changed my life.

This passage tells us of the great storm which whipped up on the sea as Jesus slept at the back of the boat. I studied each verse in my concordance and discovered that the great 'tempest' (verse 24) was like an earthquake! Immediately I got a deeper understanding of the fear the disciples experienced faced with a storm of this magnitude and why they hurried to wake Jesus and beg him to save them.

Imagine what was going through their minds? 
A simple wooden boat caught in wild weather they could not control. Perhaps they had seen or heard of other boats destroyed in such conditions? Friends who had perished at sea in a storm such as this?
Their fear was palpable and Jesus felt it.

Before he does anything to calm the tempest He looks at them all and says, "Why are you fearful?"

My instant response would probably have been - "Lord, can't you SEE the storm?! Can't you FEEL the winds?! Aren't you soaked to the bone from the waves crashing over the boat?!" 

And Jesus did see the storm, did feel the wind, and probably was a bit wet.
But He was not fearful.

"Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?"

Day after day I read this, letting it soak deep into my thoughts like rain soaks through me in the wet season, and one day I got it.

Jesus knew that storm would not harm them. He knew it because they were with Him.

Storms come in many disguises. There's severe weather events like the disciples were caught in, but there's also emotional storms that catch us off guard and tip our lives about scattering debris of pain and confusion, grief and anger, shock and loss - everywhere. 

If you were like me you'd be praying, pleading,  with God to calm the storm and remove you from the tempest it had created. I used to long for Him to 'beam me up' and out of the situation or wake me and let it all be a bad dream. 
But you know, that rarely happened.

Matthew 8:26 taught me that I'm going to face tempests all my life on this earth. Some I will see coming, while others will catch me off guard and threaten to tip me over the edge.

BUT...

 ...I need not fear for He is with me, and if I am in the boat with Him I have His protection though the storm rages around me. In HIS presence I shall not fear the evil or the storm, but I shall stay beside Him and rest in His eternal protection. I will feel and see the effects of the tempest, but it shall not take my peace because my beloved Saviour is my Protector and my safe haven.

I am changed by this revelation.
I now realise the need to daily choose to be in His presence. I must seek Him out and not avoid Him to pursue other 'priorities'. I must be as close to Him as I possibly can. He will not leave me, but I must make the decision to not leave Him.

"Why are you fearful, Jenny?" 
"Lord, now I am not."



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10 comments:

krayolakris said...

That's one of my very favorite stories, and a verse I can't repet enough!! Thank you thank you for sharing.

Tanya Hughes said...

Oh my goodness Jenny
I have just read today’s blog entry and I feel as though it were written just for me...
Thank you.
I needed this so badly this morning. I am in the middle of a storm. One I did not see coming and I have been frightened...not anymore...your blog entry has calmed me and reminded me not to be afraid...
I cannot thank you enough for always being brave enough to share so generously of yourself...
Take care Jenny and have a wonderful day
Love
Tanya Hughes in Western Australia
xxx

shez said...

I really love this post Jenny,it was very meaningful. And so true,hope you have a beautiful Sunday my friend xx

Brenda said...

Jenny, Thank you for sharing this teaching this morning. Until my teenage years, I stood confidently beside Jesus and life was good. When I reached the teenage years I began pulling away until eventually only a tiny thread held on. After some very traumatic events, I began to hold tighter and grasp more and more threads of the strength of our Lord. Storms still happen, events that cause great pain and confusion still happen and so forth, but as soon as I stop to take a moment for a prayer, read scriptures or even talk to my husband about the Strength of the Lord my faith grows and the storm does calm. It is wonderful to read how someone else turns to the Word or our Lord to get through the storms and grow more with Jesus. Have a fantastic day with our Lord!

desertskyquilts said...

It's so interesting how often our thoughts and studies parallel each other. I've been thinking a lot about this very thing in my life the last couple of weeks. He never moves. I move, and sometimes I think He has, but no, I am the one who drifted from my mooring. When I ask, "Where are you Lord," I really need to be asking, "Where am I?" What did I let slip? Did I forget to read my scriptures, or ignore a prompting for service? Did I let myself get caught up in the daily tempest and forget to look for the peace? Thank you once again for a timely scripture and your thoughts.

Sharon - creativity and family said...

I love you Sunday posts Jenny, beautiful. x

Martha M Roberts said...

This was so timely for me. We are struggling with some hard decisions about a dearly loved elderly parent who needs to be in an assisted living facility. I just had tears flowing as I read this devotional. The Lord was speaking very clearly to me. He knows the plans He has made for this dear person and I should let Him lead the decisions that are made. I was sharing this with a friend who suffers with anxiety attacks and it brought her to tears also. The fear that brings on her anxiety attacks is one of being in close places like elevators. Unfortunately she has to use elevators to get to various doctors' offices. Thank you, dear Jenny, for letting the Lord use you as a messenger for the good news found in His word.

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Moira said...

Just now reading this post, but it is still so very timely for me as I work to find a new place to live from out of state and sight unseen. All factors adding up to a storm but holding fast to that boat with Christ take the fear out of the storm!

Carla said...

I'm just now reading but this post is timely. Plus I just saw the movie "War Room"
Only problem I found with the movie is God's answer was like instant. Sorry don't buy that.
prayer can change lives but not instantly.
My current storm is waning but I'm afraid it will rage when it comes back around.