Posted by: mikenicholsblog | October 12, 2011

the wind and waves

Only in Tennessee! On a visit to that great state this summer, I had the encounter with my squirrel hunting friends looking to shoot out the window. On my visit this week, I stayed with some friends that have always mentored and encouraged my wife and I.  You will appreciate my dismay at what happens next. After a great dinner about 25 miles from their home, we made our way home through the hills and curves of Tennessee. Along the way, my stomach started relaying the message to me that things were not good.  Immediately after arriving back at my friend’s home, it happened. And there is no easier way to say it … I threw up (sorry for the details). Can you imagine how embarrassed I felt?

In my life, I have learned that winding roads, roller coasters and rough waters are not my friends.  And it was the latter that I ran headlong into as I read Tuesday morning.

In His wisdom, our Lord uses rough water days to help us learn and re-learn how to depend on Him. You know the story, but travel back with me to a stormy day in the life of Christ and His disciples. Faith and fear come into clear focus, and I am sure you can relate.

Mark 4:35-40 (MSG)
Late that day he said to them, “Let’s go across to the other side.” They took him in the boat as he was. Other boats came along. A huge storm came up. Waves poured into the boat, threatening to sink it. And Jesus was in the stern, head on a pillow, sleeping! They roused him, saying, “Teacher, is it nothing to you that we’re going down?”  Awake now, he told the wind to pipe down and said to the sea, “Quiet! Settle down!” The wind ran out of breath; the sea became smooth as glass. Jesus reprimanded the disciples: “Why are you such cowards? Don’t you have any faith at all?”

I believe Christ absolutely knew what He was doing when He suggested that they cross the Sea of Galilee. He was leading them into a storm! Sometimes storms result from our disobedience. But at other times, the Father’s design is to send us headlong into troubled waters to teach and mold us … but never without an anchor.

The disciples found themselves in the midst of a furious squall. So intense were the waves that they broke over the boat. Without question, they had some serious concerns about drowning. And through it all, Jesus was sleeping! You may not have been as expressive as the disciples were with Christ, but you have probably had similar fearful thoughts. They had real waves, and we have our individual “storms”. When faith and fear collide, emotions can easily lead to a drowning feeling. It is far wiser to run to Christ.

With simple words, Christ calmed the wind and waves. The Creator of the Universe was in control of nature. It is amazing to me that Christ followers accept His control over our eternal destiny, yet we struggle with the daily storms. If you are anything like me, you have met some stormy days with strong faith, and others with that fearful drowning feeling. But why would we ever doubt that He is in control?

Christ had strong words for His disciples after calming the wind and waves. “Why are you such cowards? Don’t you have any faith at all?” His words undoubtedly made an impression on the disciples. All of us have stormy days when faith and fear are apt to collide. Even if you have too often faltered and failed when rough waters came, remember God is still in control, and we can view our personal storms with eyes of faith. We have a choice!

In case you were wondering, I recovered quickly from my upset stomach.  But the intersection of scripture and my every day once again led me back to an important truth.  I am never without an anchor no matter how strong or prolonged the wind and waves.

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