As I write this on Monday, Aug. 3rd, I am sitting in my window seat overlooking a sunlit canal. An Emergency Alert just made my Apple Watch vibrate with a notification that a storm surge warning is now in effect for my area. Life-threatening flooding is forecast, and my watch advises me to “urgently complete efforts to protect life and property.” A kayak goes by and I get a CNN alert that Hurricane Isaias-turned-Tropical Storm Isaiah is now predicted to become a hurricane again as it makes its way right toward the Outer Banks tomorrow.
Oh, 2020, you little prankster, you!
Here on the Outer Banks, hurricanes, nor’Easters, flooding, and high winds are no stranger to us. I have already brought all of the potential “flying objects” in, have downloaded several Netflix movies onto my iPad, and I am planning to spend the rest of this day writing before Isaias comes barging in and possibly takes out my internet or my power. Or both.
Jesus was no stranger to storms. In so many ways, his entire ministry was a matter of moving from one storm to another. The storm of disapproval, the storm of persecution, the storm of disbelief, (even from his own disciples!) all the way up to the final storm of crucifixion.
But it is safe to say that Jesus overcame EVERY storm.
Matthew 14 (Common English Version)
22 Right then, Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead to the other side of the lake while he dismissed the crowds. 23 When he sent them away, he went up onto a mountain by himself to pray. Evening came and he was alone. 24 Meanwhile, the boat, fighting a strong headwind, was being battered by the waves and was already far away from land. 25 Very early in the morning he came to his disciples, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified and said, “It’s a ghost!” They were so frightened they screamed.
27 Just then Jesus spoke to them, “Be encouraged! It’s me. Don’t be afraid.”
28 Peter replied, “Lord, if it’s you, order me to come to you on the water.”
29 And Jesus said, “Come.”
And Jesus says, “Come.” Come to me in the middle of your personal storm…the one that is keeping you awake at night and making the daytime miserable. Come to me in the fallout of your financial storm, and I will provide in ways you haven’t considered yet. Come to me in your pandemic storm, and I will show you ways to stay safe. Just come to me.
Then Peter got out of the boat and was walking on the water toward Jesus. 30 But when Peter saw the strong wind, he became frightened. As he began to sink, he shouted, “Lord, rescue me!”
All YOU have to do is keep your eyes on Jesus in the storm. Don’t take your eyes off him for one second. Strong winds assaulting you? Keep looking at Jesus. Crashing waves threatening you? Keep your eyes on him. Starting to sink? Look up!
31 Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him, saying, “You man of weak faith! Why did you begin to have doubts?” 32 When they got into the boat, the wind settled down.
33 Then those in the boat worshipped Jesus and said, “You must be God’s Son!”
The Son of God is reaching out to grab your life and save you. It is only when you reach back that the wind will settle down.
Turn your eyes upon Jesus! Look full in his wonderful face. And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, In the light of his glory and grace.