Recently, on a cold winter morning, I traveled with my husband from Houston, PA, on the lower west side of Pennsylvania to Erie, in the upper west side. Calculating the time needed to reach our destination for an 8:30 am appointment, my husband said we needed to leave by 4:30 am. He hates being late! Coffee was my best friend this early in the morning, so off we went, coffee in hand. Though it was still dark when we left, the anticipated weather was just cold and crisp, so I was looking forward to a comfortable trip with good company.
However, an hour into our drive, my relaxed demeanor changed quickly as seemingly out of nowhere, a snowstorm encircled us like a thick blanket. This wasn’t snow flurries pleasantly dotting the horizon, this was a snow squall coming down so fast that we could barely see in front of us. Thankfully, the roads were not filled with cars this early in the morning, only large trucks shared the space with us. I began to panic. Those big rigs were both frightening and comforting at the same time. It appeared the only way to keep centered on the road was to remain focused on the truck light in front of us, while continuing with a safe distance between us.
Therefore, rather than stopping, we just kept driving at a plodding pace, following the lights in front of us. And then, just like that, the snow stopped as quickly as it began, and the path once again evident. I wish I could say that only happened once during the trip; however, we experienced those conditions three separate times. To say I was happy to arrive at our destination is an understatement!
I hate sudden storms, don’t you? As I write this, I’m on an airplane, where they are expecting a little turbulence. The flight attendant’s voice nicely comes over the loudspeaker and lets us know to stay in our seats, making sure our seat belts are fastened. No worries. This is how I want my storms to arrive, not suddenly.
However, sudden storms happen. They just do, and they come out of nowhere.
There is a very familiar story in three of the Gospels where the disciples faced a sudden storm. Storms can come at the strangest, most unexpected moments. Jesus had been busy ministering to many people in Capernaum. A leper was healed, and a centurion’s paralyzed servant had been made whole solely by the faith of the centurion, without Jesus even laying his hand on him. Jesus had been so impressed with the centurion’s faith, that he said, “Go! Let it be done, just as you believed it would be.” Next, Peter’s mother-in-law was healed. She had been ill with a raging fever. Jesus touched her hand, and instantly she was better, even getting up to prepare and serve dinner to everyone. I would say this was a good, faith-building, miracle-working kind of day! The type of day we all would love to be a part of. But then, the storm came suddenly out of nowhere.
After this full day of being with people, Jesus wants to get to the other side of the Sea of Galilee. So, he got into a boat to travel with his disciples.
“Then he got into the boat, and his disciples followed him. Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”
He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!” Matthew 8: 23 -27 NIV
Traveling by boat across this body of water was not unusual or anything to be anxious about. Boats went across this body of water daily. Today, being in a boat on the Sea of Galilee is a very typical tourist stop in Israel. Actually, I was one of those tourists in 2018, and the experience was terrific. After this boat ride, I wondered how a violent storm could occur. The body of water is not that wide or deep, and I could see across from one side to another. So how did that happen?
I’ve learned since that this area is known for sudden storms. Sitting below 680 ft sea level, it is surrounded by hills. On one side, the hills are more than 2000 feet high, with crisp cold air. This is in contrast to a semi-tropical feeling around the sea. These conditions cause large temperature and pressure changes, which can result in wind tunnels that descend directly on the water, causing violent storms. Sudden storms.
When I read scriptures, I always look for the life application in what I read. So, what is the takeaway for this portion of scripture?
First, don’t be surprised by sudden storms.
Beloved friends, if life gets extremely difficult, with many tests, don’t be bewildered as though something strange were overwhelming you. Instead, continue to rejoice, for you, in a measure, have shared in the sufferings of the Anointed One so that you can share in the revelation of his glory and celebrate with even greater gladness! 1 Peter 4:12 TPT
Second, Jesus is with you in the storm. Jesus got into the boat FIRST.
Many times, in my life, often in the middle of a sudden storm I’d do not want to be dealing with, I forget that Jesus is right there WITH ME, and His presence will get me through it.
“So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid, and do not panic before them. For the LORD your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.” Deuteronomy 31:6 NLT
Third, Jesus still knows how to calm the storm.
What brought paralyzing fear to the disciples seemed a simple matter to Jesus. Jesus spoke, and the storm ended, just like that. We need to stay close to Jesus. At the right moment, the storm will lift.
“Let us, therefore, draw near with boldness unto the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy, and may find grace to help us in times of need.” Hebrews 14:16 ACV
Fourth, storms don’t last forever.
They don’t. The seat belt sign on this Delta flight just went off, and coffee (ahh) was served with a sweet cookie biscuit, and we are now above the turbulence. The sun is shining above the clouds. My view and perspective are totally different from this height.
“But as for me, it is good for me to draw near to God; I have made the Lord God my refuge and placed my trust in Him, That I may tell of all Your works.” Psalms 73:28 ACV
Today, if you are caught in a sudden storm, you are in good company. Jesus is with you, and He’s not afraid of the storm. It’s time to RECLAIM your peace.
Reclaiming my peace!