Mark 6:50 “…Cheer up! It is I. Do not be afraid.”

It’s that time of year again. Hurricane season. When the storms hit, most folks have two choices; stay and ride out the storm, or evacuate. Others have little or no choice. They are the emergency responders that work in the midst of the storm assuring residents who choose to stay receive care should their situation become a crisis.

I am reminded of Hurricane Fran, back in the ‘90’s. It began to rage at our house at 12:30 a.m. My husband had to work late that night. He called when he was about fifteen minutes from home to give me an update on the weather conditions out on the highway and his estimated time of arrival. He said visibility was terrible and that he could barely keep his vehicle in the road. I put his dinner in the microwave so it would be hot when he arrived. As he walked in the door, the microwave beeped. I placed his plate on the table, and just as he had begun to eat, the power went out. So, we did what most folks would do when the power goes out at night, we went to bed. We were lulled to sleep listening to the rain and thunder.

We thought we were just getting a bad thunderstorm from the outer bands of the hurricane. Little did we know, the hurricane was beginning to wreak havoc in our area. It had moved from the track the meteorologists had predicted.

Early the next morning, I was awakened by voices coming from our backyard. I got up to see what the ruckus was all about. I padded down to the kitchen in bare feet to step out on our back deck. I couldn’t open the door. There were three big pine trees blocking it! They had taken out the end of our deck, two vehicles and pounded the storage building’s support posts down into the ground about twelve inches. A tornado had struck overnight and we had slept through it. I was actually a little disappointed I had not witnessed it. It’s probably a good thing I didn’t. Our neighbors were amazed that we had not heard it. They told us they listened to trees popping and glass breaking all night. They had come over in the morning to check on us.

It took a while to recover from the aftermath. We were without electricity or water for six days, except for what our pastor personally delivered to us. It was a very welcoming sight to see him and our deacon drive up in trucks with 5 gallon buckets of water and chainsaws the day after the storm. The families in our rural neighborhood rallied together sharing food. We did a whole LOT of grilling so the meats that had begun thawing would not go to waste.

I truly believe God protected my family in that storm. While our neighbors were up all night watching and worrying, God had given us a peaceful night’s rest. I am reminded of David in Psalm 4:8. He states, “In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, LORD, make me dwell in safety.” Ours was the only home in the neighborhood to receive any damage. Yet, we slept through the whole thing.

“Storms” of life come in many forms; sickness, unemployment, broken refrigerators, death of loved ones, a rebellious child, or broken marriage. The list could go on and on. But, we don’t have to ride out the storm alone when we have Christ in our lives.

In Mark 6: 45-52 we read the account of Christ sending the disciples out in a boat to go ahead to Bethesda, as He draws away to pray. A storm comes up and they are focused on gaining control of their boat as they struggle to row against raging wind and waves. Then Christ sees their distress and goes out to them. But when the disciples see Him, they do not believe it is He. They see Him walking on the water and they are frightened. Then Christ speaks to them, “Cheer up! It is I. Do not be afraid.” The storm tossed seas calmed, and they marveled.

The storms of life can come upon us suddenly. Fiercely raging until they seem to suck the life out of us. When the storms come, perhaps we shouldn’t try to control our boat in our own strength. Perhaps we should keep our eyes focused on Christ, believing He will help us weather the storm, as He did with the disciples…

He helped them with their purpose (they were to get in the boat and to go to Bethesda.) He will help us in our situations.

He intercedes for us. (He had drawn away to pray as the disciples rowed on the sea.)

His presence will be with us. (He walked on water to be with the disciples.)

His peace and His power will be with us. (He spoke and the sea became peaceful.)

Perhaps focusing on the His purpose, His prayers, His presence, His peace and His power will give you a fresh strength and hope for your life, and a fresh desire to offer comfort to someone else by sharing the source of your strength and hope – Jesus Christ!

I know it helps me.

Think of the worst storm raging against you today, and hear Christ tell you, “Cheer Up! It is I. Do not be afraid.”

 

Gracious Heavenly Father, I know storms of life will come to all of us in some form or another. Help me to remember to focus on Christ and how He will take me through those storms with His love and care. Lord, I want to live according to your purpose, covered by your prayers, living in your presence, calmed by your peace and strengthened by your power. I know only you can take me through the storms of life. I cannot prevail against them in my own strength. I pray for those reading today. Calm the winds of strife and angst that prevail against their lives today. Give them the peace that passes all understanding that comes through hope and faith in you.  Thank you Lord for calming the raging storms that surround me now. In Christ name I pray, Amen.

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