Encouraging Faith

Be still in the storm

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Life can feel like one big mess sometimes. It seems like when one bad thing happens, more chaos is not too far behind. Keeping focused and fighting through fear and anxiety can be quite the task. It can be really hard trying to muster up a positive mindset through the madness. 

There are days when I feel like I’m barely keeping my head above water. As I fight to stay afloat, the fear of a wave crashing into me sends me into a panic. As much as I’d like to find myself walking on water, my doubts cause me to sink.

In those moments, I think about the story in the Bible where Jesus and His disciples are out at sea during a storm. As His disciples feared for their lives, Jesus was sleeping. The only time the Bible mentions Him asleep was during a storm. I think it’s important to consider this moment. By mentioning Jesus sleeping only in this situation, it emphasizes that we need not be afraid as long as God is with us because he isn’t worried. 

Jesus was not bothered by the storm. His disciples asked if he cared for them and they said they were all going to drown. Without hesitation, Jesus calmed the storm.

Quiet! Be still!” Words that bring me comfort. What stands out the most is during the storm the disciplines called out for Jesus. After they expressed their fear, he ended the storm. You see, even through the storm, we will be fine because God is more powerful. Our fear should not be greater than our faith. Storms will come and if we panic we might do something foolish and cause bigger problems for ourselves. Instead, we should trust that God will handle it for us.

I remember a few months ago my area was under a tornado watch. The watch turned into a warning that lasted hours. My family and I had played worship music and danced around the living room. We then prayed as a family, even my then 3 and 4-year-olds said a prayer. We got into bed and I could hear a strange noise in the distance. My sister came to pray one more time and I told her that a tornado had landed. I just felt it in my spirit. She was clearly alarmed but  I looked her in the eyes and said, “I prayed, I worshipped, and now I’m going to bed because I trust that God won’t let it come   to us.” Sure enough, a tornado had touched down minutes away from us. Instead of coming straight down towards us, it turned and crossed the interstate. 

It crossed the interstate less than a mile from us. If not for my trust in God, I would have stayed up fearing the worst. When you believe that God is with you fear, makes no sense.

Reflection a year later.

I wrote the above words over a year ago. Since then, I’ve been in more storms than I can count. No, not more tornados or worldly storms. I have experienced the raging storms of a spiritual nature. Can I be honest for a second? On more than one occasion I have reacted like the disciples. I know that Jesus is with me but the force of the storms I have been going through have often petrified me.

God did not give us a spirit of fear yet somehow I felt myself being overcome with fear in the last few months. I was constantly worrying and wondering when Jesus was going to intervene and stop the waves. I mean, he could if he wanted to. 

Be still and know.

The beginning of Psalm 46:10 reads, He says, “Be still, and know that I am God.” In the middle of our storms, we need to remember who God is. I have to remind myself that God is Almighty— not kind of mighty or sometimes mighty. He is able to do what I can’t and I need to trust that he will. Is it always easy? Not at all.

Maybe the disciples never expected to be caught in a storm to begin with because Jesus was with them. We are probably all guilty of believing that the closer we are to Jesus the less likely we’ll face storms. That’s just not true. For me, the closer I get the God the bigger the storms become. 

God’s word says He will never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5) That means that even when we are fighting against strong winds and fierce waves, He is with us. Joshua 1:9, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

How can we stay calm in the midst of our storms?

Seek God. That’s it. If we think we can handle our problems alone then we can quickly find ourselves struggling to keep going. We have to read God’s word daily and seek His presence. God sustains us in the good and the bad. Each day comes with its own challenges and we must continue to put God first so that when the bad happens, He has already given us peace.

Staying connected to God is the only way I manage to handle all the chaotic things life throws at me. If not for my relationship with God, I’d be somewhere off in a corner curled up in a ball. God really gives me peace that surpasses my own understanding. Even in moments of doubt, there’s a bit of faith that I hold on to that keeps me sane.

Sometimes God won’t calm the storm right away. Sometimes He’ll allow it to go on so that we can learn to trust Him. He’ll let the waves knock us around for a bit. Just like when we were little we’ll call out to our parents when we were scared, in the same way, we need to call out to God. 

Storms will always form but they won’t be able to destroy us. God will always be right there. Be encouraged. Whatever storm you are facing, God is facing it with you. Be still and know that He is God. At any moment He can speak to your situation and turn it all around for you. Trust that he will.

As always, Hugs and love!