Judith has written an encouraging post for us to read and reflect on:
We have been reminded in recent sermons to, 'live by faith, not by sight'. But what do we do when we are so overcome by fear and doubt that we panic that our faith might be failing? It’s as if we are floundering and crashing around in a sea of fear, grief, uncertainty and possibly guilt.
The well known story of Jesus calming the storm which was read to the children in our service recently has taken on a fresh meaning for me. We know it so well – Jesus and his disciples in a small fishing boat crossing the lake when a surprise storm breaks. Huge waves, hurricane force winds, maybe thunder and lightning. The disciples, experienced as they were in fishing and controlling boats in turbulent waters had never encountered anything like this. They were failing to gain control and were terrified. Does that panic and anxiety sound familiar? Where was Jesus? We know He was there, with them, right there in the boat. But He was asleep!
One night early in the pandemic I found that I was unable to sleep. Eventually I got up and read this story – not in my Bible but in the adult version of the Children’s Story Book Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones. Of course we know that this is not just a made up story for children but it’s a true historical account of a real event. So, what did the panic stricken disciples do? They cried out for help – they called on Jesus to rescue them. I wonder what they expected to happen. We know, of course that the storm subsided but how did Jesus do it? By speaking just 3 words, 'Quiet, be still'.
That sleepless night I was aware of a very real fear in my heart but as I re-read this familiar story I became aware of God speaking to me, too. The paragraph in the children’s story which I now find myself returning to frequently reads: 'Then Jesus turned to His wind-torn friends. “Why were you scared?” he asked. “Did you forget who I am? Did you believe your fears instead of me?"'
My heart was quietened and stilled. I was greatly comforted but also challenged because I was giving in to my fears instead of crying out to Jesus and exercising the faith that God had already, by His amazing grace, given me. My faith is weak but my Saviour is strong. The title of this chapter in the book is, 'The Captain of the Storm'. The storm was too big for the disciples but not too big for Jesus.
My Saviour is near,
And for my relief
Will surely appear;
By prayer let me wrestle and He will perform;
With Christ in the vessel,
I smile at the storm.