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When Storms Come

Author: Alex Heath

Picture: Flickr

When Storms Come

Lent is a good time to reflect on our response to the storms of life, as Alex Heath explains.

Although the Bible contains many comforting promises, if we are honest, we can also recognise some pretty challenging ones. One of these promises is that, as followers of Jesus, we will  have to face troubles.

Of course, everyone has troubles, whether they believe in God or not. However, we will face particular challenges because of our decision to follow Jesus, as he tells us: “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

So it is clearly not so much a question of IF we will face troubles but rather WHEN.

Simply put-storms will come.

Sleeping Soundly In A Storm

Some time ago, dealing with a number of life’s storms, I reflected on the story of Jesus calming the storm (Mark 4:35-41). It struck me that it must have been quite a storm.

Many of Jesus’ followers were fishermen, used to sailing in difficult and dangerous conditions, yet these seasoned men of the sea were frightened for their lives.

So this was not just a bit of bad weather, but a violent storm-and there was a very real danger they would sink. Significantly, whilst the fishermen panic, Jesus, the carpenter, sleeps soundly on a cushion!

Meditating on this scene, I asked myself: As I face my storms, who am I more like? The fearful disciples, or Jesus, who was so full of trust in his Father’s care that he was sleeping on a cushion?

I had to admit I was responding like the disciples. The Word of God revealed to me how little faith I had in the midst of my storms.

"Rest In Me"

I asked the Lord for his forgiveness and a deeper trust. I realised that I desired to rest next to Jesus on that cushion. At that moment, in the depths of my heart, I had a sense of these words: ‘Rest in me.’

The Lord was inviting me not to rest next  to him, but rather to rest in  him-to share in his own peace and trust.

I remembered how often both the Scriptures, especially St Paul, and the Catechism, describe the Christian life as life ‘in Christ’. As I spent time learning to rest in him, peace began to flow in my heart.

Eventually Jesus says “Quiet! Be still!” and calms the storm, responding compassionately to his friends’ frightened appeals, who experienced what is described in Psalm 107: “The waves…mounted up to the heavens; in their peril their courage melted away…they were at their wits’ end. They cried out to the Lord and he brought them out of their distress. He stilled the storm to a whisper…They were glad when it grew calm.”

Remain In The Gift Of His Peace

God will not allow our storms to last forever: “After you have suffered a little while, God will restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” (1 Peter 5:10).

What amazing promises!

My own storms did eventually pass. Since then, though, new ones have come and gone again. I realise it is only a matter of time before new storms and fresh challenges come. I also know that Jesus is inviting me, like him, to be at peace in the midst of the storm, and that I can only do this by resting in  him.

The Lord was, and is, bringing me to a place where I am able, by his grace, to remain in the gift of his peace-whether or not I am experiencing storms.

The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:5-7)

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