Soft ocean breezes. The smell of salt in the air and the sound of gulls flying overhead. Walking barefoot in the sand everyday in the summer, getting a free pedicure. Every. Single. Time. I grew up on the coast, surrounded by water, on an island connected by a mile -long white sand beach with a causeway to the mainland. Hearing the crashing of the waves on summer nights as I drifted off to sleep; watching the sun glisten off the water; collecting shells, standing in the small pools left behind when the tide went out. Hunting for sea glass, dodging jellyfish, and having seaweed fights marked most summer afternoons and evenings.
As I got older, I enjoyed sitting on the shore on a towel because I really don’t like sand all that much, as I would stare out at the sea. There were days when it was calm and the waves rippled in. Other times the waves reached the shore with a little more force, it was a little louder and the whitecaps were more frequent. And then, in a storm, the waves would crash against the shore consistently, with little rest between breakers.
Matthew 8:23-27 gives an account of a storm that arose suddenly as Jesus and the disciples were rowing across a lake. It was a furious storm, with waves sweeping over the boat. When I read that, I put myself in their sandals, trying to feel what they might have felt. Feeling the boat toss, not knowing what to do, and having no idea what was going to happen. They went and woke Jesus, who was sleeping, fearing they would drown. They were amazed when He spoke to the winds and waves and they obeyed Him, yet just a few verses before, it says they had just witnessed many miracles He performed for others.
They had moved from a place of watching to a position of receiving. They were now the ones in need of intervention from the Anointed One. They were now experiencing some of what they had earlier witnessed. They knew they needed to ask Him to save them, but from their reaction, did they really expect that He could do anything to prevent them from what they perceived to be a certain death?
I know how powerful waves can be during a storm, for them to be instantly calmed would be a miraculous thing. Sometimes after a tropical storm the waves linger for days, so for the lake to be again smooth so suddenly couldn’t be explained as anything but a miracle. The power of the wind and waves is no big deal for God. The situation looked bleak but there was One who brought peace in the middle of that furious storm on that lake that day. The same One who brought that peace is there to bring peace to us in the middle of whatever storm we find ourselves in right now. Just like the wind and waves, our circumstances are no match for our God.
He really impressed on me the other day, while I was at work, not really asking for anything specific, that His goodness is greater than our circumstances. Our situation may not be good, but His character is unchanging, and He can’t be anything other than who He is. His heart toward us is one of love, it’s compassionate, and never failing. He will never turn a deaf ear to you, He will never forsake you, He will never leave you alone.
One word from Him and things change. He calls all things into order, He speaks peace and life into all the dark places of our hearts. He overwhelms us with His goodness and compassion, loving us far too much to leave us alone in the middle of our storm. Call out to Him, tell Him how much you trust Him, even if you don’t ‘feel’ like you do. I can tell you from experience that the more you hear those words come out of your mouth, the more convinced you’ll be that He will calm your storm.