Storms at sea have a way of sneaking up too quickly, without any warning. Just when the waters look calm and tranquil and we are drifting along peacefully, the blue sky suddenly fills with dark, ominous clouds, and we are taken up into the throes of a typhoon.
A good sailor has to be ready for all kinds of weather. Skills that were learned and honed through experience are needed to get you through the rough waters. The middle of the storm is not the time to learn those skills. That's the time to use them.
What about us? Clouds can appear quickly. We are drifting along peacefully when suddenly life darkens, and we find ourselves caught in a hurricane. If we've never really tested the waters before, it's easy to get blown away by the force of the storm.
Are we ready when the storm hits, or are we totally unprepared to navigate our way through? Have we learned the skills that it takes? Skills such as prayer. Skills such as knowledge of what God is capable of doing. Skills such as having built friendships that we can rely on in times of need. Do we get into the storm possessing those skills, or do we try to develop them after the storm has begun? When the waters are calm and the sky is blue, it's just too easy to drift.
Storms are real. Illness. Unemployment. Death of a loved one. Divorce. Natural disasters. Our life's journey can be rerouted in an instant. If we're unaccustomed to following the winds of God's Spirit, we can find ourselves lost and alone with a clue as to which way to turn.
Jesus and his disciples were once caught in a terrible storm at sea. While the disciples cringed and trembled, Jesus slept. But when aroused by his desperate disciples, he commanded the storm to cease.
Storms pass. They don't last forever. Getting through them can be tough, but never impossible, because we don't have to go through them alone. Jesus still commands the storms, and he will cause them to cease. Even when our confidence in our own navigational skills has dwindled, we can still find comfort within the storm. God is there with us, always, reminding us that once we're through the storm, God will help us get back on course. Even if it's in a different direction.
In the name of the One who can do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine,
Bruce Jones, Pastor and Co-Creator,
Imagine Church of the Carolinas