We are all, or almost all, creatures of comfort. Given the option to endure something hard or painful, or just skipping that experience all together, most of us, I would guess, would choose the latter.
With our rose-colored glasses securely in place, we go through life expecting things to go well for us. We know we won’t always get our way, and we can deal with that. We know that tragedies happen – just not to us. After all, we love Jesus and have God on our side!
There is an unfortunate notion that says “Give your life to Jesus and you will live happily ever after!” That couldn’t be further from the truth and cannot be backed up in Scripture anywhere.
The truth is, in the words of Jesus, “If the world hates you, know that it hated Me before it hated you […] If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you.” (John 15:18,20 ESV) Sounds cheery, right? Probably not the first Bible verse you share when talking to your unbelieving friends about Jesus.
Our world is full of sin and is ruled by evil. So why are we so surprised when bad things happen to us? Some tragedy or inconvenience befalls us, and our knee-jerk reaction is to cry out in anger toward God “How could you let this happen to me?!?!”
Surely God would not purposefully write pain into the script of our lives! After all, we love Him, serve Him, and gave our lives to Him. Seems like a fair exchange: we live for Him and in return He gives us an easy life.
But what if the storm is a part of His plan?
What is your initial reaction to that thought?
In Mark 4:35-41, we read a story about Jesus telling His disciples to get in a boat, taking Him with them, to go across to the other shore. If you’re at all familiar with this story, you know that a storm comes and the disciples have to awaken Jesus to come save them. Can you sympathize with them? Do you ever feel like you need to wake God up so He can come to your rescue?
What I find interesting in this story is, Jesus, still being fully God and therefore omniscient, told His disciples to get in the boat knowing full well that a storm was coming. Or maybe even BECAUSE He knew the storm was coming! Jesus intentionally put them in harm’s way on that boat in the middle of the water.
As the boat was filling with water, they wake up Jesus with one question: “Do You not care that we are perishing?” When it feels like all Hell has broken loose in our lives, we are apt to assume that Jesus doesn’t care. But He does care, deeply.
Jesus calms the storm with a simple “Peace! Be Still!” and then He addresses them. “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?”
Has He ever asked you those questions? The disciples had seen Him perform many miracles and yet when life turned scary, they forgot to trust Him. And I wonder how much time they spent trying to get water out of their boat before waking Jesus? Maybe 20 minutes. Maybe none at all. But there’s still a lesson in that for us. How many times do we try to fix it on our own before asking Jesus for help?
Stunned at Jesus’ storm-stopping trick, the disciples ask each other, “Who then is this, that even the wind and sea obey Him?” The storm, and Jesus’ response, gave them the opportunity to know more about Him. I think they would agree that that alone is worth the storm.
I have written more than once about losing my first daughter to miscarriage. It is a heaviness that I will carry with me the rest of my life, and certainly a storm that has caused me to ask “God, don’t you care?!” But seeing how He cared for me and carried (and continues to carry) me through the pain, I can say that I don’t regret it because of how much more intimately I know my loving Father. And that alone, to me, was worth the storm.
What if the storm is part of His plan? What if He writes storms into our lives so we can learn to trust Him more? What if it is in the hard times where we really get an intimate glimpse of our loving Heavenly Father? What hard things has He called you to walk through? And what was your response? Was it worth the storm?