I love the recounting of Jesus calming the storm in the gospel of Luke. I read it again yesterday, as I read in my chronological Bible and caught up from the days I'd fallen behind. I thought I'd write it out for you.
One day he and his disciples got into a boat, and he told them, "Let's cross over to the other side of the lake." So they set out and as they were sailing, he fell asleep. Then a fierce windstorm came down on the lake; they were being swamped and were in danger. They came and woke him up, saying, "Master, Master, we're going to die!" Then he got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waves. So they ceased and there was a calm. He said to them, "Where is your faith?" They were fearful and amazed, asking one another, "Who then is this? He commands even the winds and the waves, and they obey him!" Luke 8:22-25
I love this story because the disciples remind me of myself. I can often become fearful and worried when I look at the things surrounding me—and I know that I am not alone in this. This reminds me of us today, going through all the things that we are facing in our world right now. We're still going through what the media outlets are describing as a pandemic and there is hate on every side right now as we face the election coming up in just a few weeks. Opinions and thoughts are flying on social media and even if we don't see eye to eye on things with everyone, there is one commonality in all of this: when we look to the things of this world, we become overwhelmed and fearful.
The disciples saw what was right in front of them, and were overwhelmed so much that they went and woke up Jesus. And Jesus was asleep! He may have felt that windstorm and the raging waves, but He sure didn't seem concerned, did He?
I'm reminded of two things in this recounting—the first thing is that no matter what I face or see surrounding me on all sides, I need to go straight to Jesus with it. He knows my heart and the things that make me nervous or fearful, so I might as well confess it to Him in prayer. Often times just the act of confessing something to Him transfers the weight of what is weighing me down from my shoulders onto Him and He is glad to do this!
Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. 1 Peter 5:7
The second thing I am reminded of is of Who is in control. It's not me, it's Him. He knows how things are going to go for the rest of this year, He knows who will be our President for the next four years. None of this is a surprise to Him, friends. He already knows what the outcome of it all is going to be, but even so, we should still be praying about all of this. We can pray for revival and for lost people to be saved. We can pray for the love of Jesus to abound and for His grace to overflow to all. We can pray for peace among the chaos that is prevalent around us and for us to be a light that shines brightly for Him. Those things will be helpful to us as believers as we navigate our way through our own versions of stormy waters, but mostly they'll be helpful to others as they look to us.
Jesus called them out on their fear—He said they had little faith. I certainly don't want that to be said of me; I am sure you don't want that said of you.
So, where do we go from here? How do we move on from this to the days that are to come?
One practical piece of advice is to turn off the news. For years, they've been reporting the very worst of the worst. Most of us know that and yet we still turn it on from one day to the next. Do not believe everything you hear and read! If you need to be in the know, make sure you're careful with the network you choose to watch current events on. Sadly, most of them can no longer be trusted, even the ones who used to be okay. I personally rely mostly on email subscriptions I've read for years.
Another piece of advice I'm offering for free, get back to your life! There are all kinds of things floating around out there that are highly contagious and it's been that way forever. Don't let what you're listening to and believing paralyze you with fear. Sure, there are certain people that always need to be careful—transplant patients, people with highly compromised immune systems, but the rest of us? Get back to your life. If my 89 year old daddy can resume to life as normal (for the most part), so can you. I will say this about living in fear—our very real enemy is thriving in people's lives right now and he often wreaks havoc when we are down and discouraged. We are not meant to live life in isolation; we are meant to live life in community with other people and nothing replaces face to face time.
Have big faith in a big God and know that He has it all in His hands.
I pray this challenges you and I pray this encourages you to trust in Jesus. Thanks for reading, friends. Love to all.