When God Leads You Into the Storm (on Purpose)

This story caught my attention as I was reading the other day in my One Year Bible.  Mark 4 tells us of the time when Jesus suggested to his disciples (after a long day of ministry) that they set off for the other side of the lake and leave the crowds behind.  Sounds like a nice, relaxing, 3-day weekend.  At least, that’s perhaps what the disciples were expecting.  They’d been working all day and now it was time for some smooth sailing with Jesus.

But if you know the story, you’ll know that’s not what happened.  As they sail away from the coastline, a huge storm breaks out.  Waves are crashing over their boat.  It looks as though they are about to capsize.  And where’s Jesus?  He’s the one who led them into this mess in the first place!  He’s sleeping.  Nice.  The disciples are P.O.-ed!  “Don’t you even care if we drown?!” they ask him.

I’m sure that he did care.  But Jesus is just as calm in the storm as on the beach because he knows he is in charge no matter where he is.  He tells the storm to die down, and it obeys.  The disciples are amazed.  Literally in awe.  They ask themselves who this man is, that even the wind and waves obey him.

I can’t help but wonder if Jesus knew the storm was on the horizon and set out anyways.  He wasn’t fretting.  He wasn’t upset.  Whether he knew what would happen or not, he was at peace.  He wakes up, stops the storm, and questions his disciples as to why they are so afraid.

Fear is a natural reaction in the face of danger.  But we must not let it control us.  In any given situation in our lives, we can ask, “What is Jesus up to?”

Granted, some storms we cause ourselves, but some storms come as we follow him.  And some storms he seems to lead us right into…on purpose!  Is it to show us his power?  Is it to show us our hearts?

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My husband and I don’t receive any income (in the traditional sense).  Since 2004, when I began a career in missions, we have partnered with like-minded people who support our work with financial gifts.  They enable us to do the work that we do.

We’ve always had all of our needs met, one way or the other.  And many of our “wants” as well.  But the last two years have been more stretching than in the past.  Regardless of the reasons, we’ve had to learn to trust in God month by month when the books said that there wasn’t enough money to make it.  In the end, there always was, but we didn’t (and still don’t) know where it would come from each month.

At times, it consumed me with worry.  I would plot out how to get a job (even though we felt God wanted us to stay working in full-time ministry), how to start up X amount of side hustles to earn some extra income, etc, etc.  Not that any of these ways of getting money are wrong, but my heart was not in the right place.  It got to the point where I finally just had to say, “Okay, Lord, let’s see what you are going to do this month!”  My attention turned from my big problems to my bigger God.  And in that turning, my heart changed.  It was no longer about how I could make it happen.  The amount was too big for us to come up with on our own.  It was now an adventure to see what God would do to meet our needs as He promised to if we followed HIm.

And He did.  And He has, month by month.  Not always in the way I planned or in the timing I would have liked, but always faithful.

It’s still a challenge- will I keep my eyes on Jesus or will I put my eyes on the waves around me?  Does God really care if I drown or does He have my back?  That can only be tested in stormy waters.  Smooth seas do not a skilled sailor make.

I don’t like the stormy seasons.  I’d rather be on the beach with a good book and a frozen drink, chilling with Jesus, having a good time.  But it’s in the stormy seas that I see His ability.  I see His goodness.  I see how much He cares for me.  I come to know Him more as a Father.  And that understanding of Him cannot be gained in calm waters.

I don’t know what’s ahead of us tomorrow- stormy waves or seas of glass, but I know who’s in the boat with me.  Peace incarnate.  And for that, I am confident that we will make it to the other side.

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