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Rembrandt -  Jesus Calming the Storm

 

 

Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you. 

Joshua 1:9 NLT

 

 

We’re more open to truths we’ve heard all our lives when we’re in uncertain times. In our present anxious environment, it is helpful to remember that trusting God gives us courage.   

 

Someone observed that courage is not the absence of fear, but “fear that has said its prayers.” Honestly, we can be a little frightened even when we have faith; but trusting God gives us courage to go on.

 

That forward movement may be in response to Jesus’ admonition, “Rise, let’s be going” (Matthew 26:46)—one step, one hour, one day at a time. We do not know what the future holds (we never have); but we know who holds the future. And we trust that the God who has always loved us always will. Our Father’s strong love energizes us to keep on going on this journey of faith.

 

How is our outlook in these trying times? Do we think “The Lord might provide”? Do we feel “The Lord could provide”, if He should choose to? Or do we exercise faith’s radical optimism, believing like Abraham, “The Lord will provide”?

 

We can trust God no matter what may happen. If death occurs, there is resurrection. If nothing works out like we wish, God will strengthen our character and teach us lessons we’d never learn on easy street. If hard times get harder, we’ll still be able to find reasons for gratitude. If circumstances get worse, we’ll still find joy in God.        

 

How can we choose faith over fear? Imagine the disciples with Jesus on a boat when a life-threatening storm erupts on the water. Unprepared to face it, they panic, realizing they might die. All this time, Jesus is sleeping peacefully. The disciples allowed their situation to dictate their reactions. Jesus calms the storm, but not before asking them, “Why are you afraid?”

 

Now that we’re in a storm we can’t control, how will we respond? Here are three encouraging truths to remember:

 

  • God has power over every storm. Wind and waves don’t concern Him, though they frighten us. We may not be able to change our situation, but we can choose to keep trusting God in the middle of it.

 

  • Fixing our eyes on Jesus leads to peace. We can think about the intensity of the storm, or turn towards the One who can calm it. By focusing on God, who knows every outcome, we can navigate any situation with His wisdom and peace.

 

  • Jesus is always in our boat. It’s easy to focus on our fears when we can’t control our future. Thankfully, Jesus knows our future and He’s always by our side. And He calls us to live by faith, not by sight.

 

When we feel overwhelmed, we can focus on circumstances, or fix our eyes on Jesus. Storms we face are not nearly as powerful as the Lord of our rocking boat who will see us through every storm.

 

Be still, my soul! Thy God doth undertake to guide the future as He has the past.

        Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake; All now mysterious shall be bright at last.

Be still, my soul! The waves and winds still know His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below.

- Katharina von Schlegel

 

 

Pastor Johnny R. Almond

Hull’s Memorial Baptist Church

Friends on a Journey of Faith

 

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