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.
...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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