“Then He got up and rebuked the wind and the waves, and it was completely calm.” Matthew 8:26b
Wind and waves. They are part of the storms we can expect in this life. They seek to get us all stirred up and make us feel threatened. They tempt us to fear rather than stand firm in our faith.
When the answer to your heartfelt prayers doesn’t seem to be coming. When the breakthrough can’t be seen on the horizon. When the diagnosis stops you in your tracks and turns life upside down. When someone you love is suddenly gone. When someone speaks a harsh word and wounds your tender spirit. When the one person you should’ve been able to count on fails you. When you’re suddenly strapped without means for provision, you might feel caught up in a torrent of waves.
Isaiah 43 promises that there will be trouble in this life. We can expect the water to rise, the rivers to flood, fires to be set ablaze, and yet God assures us these things will not overtake us. Therefore, we are called to trust Him, taking Him at His Word when the storms of life threaten our wellbeing. That is often times easier said than done.
Matthew 8 cautions in verse 24, “Without warning, a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat.” Storms are like that. They come up out of nowhere. They catch us by surprise and knock us off kilter. More than anything, they disturb “our” plans for an easy, peaceful, productive life.
But oh, how great a testimony to be rocked and yet resting in Jesus at the same time! To be calm in spite of the storm. When the world seeks to shake us yet finds us firm and steadfast, because God to whom we hold fast cannot be shaken within us, He gets all the glory.
He may have mercy and calm the storm. But how much greater the glory when He calms the child. It appears much more puzzling to the onlooking world. If the storm is calmed they might be tempted to dismiss it as coincidence. But when the storm is evident and a child of God is unreasonably calm - joyful even - onlookers want to know how that is possible. They want to know what your secret is. And that opens the door for gospel conversations about Jesus. And as a result, you are gifted with an opportunity to help the kingdom grow.
Matthew 8 continues with Jesus questioning the disciples’ faith, asking why they were afraid. Opportunities to exercise our faith come in all kinds of packages. Some are gifted in less appealing wrap than others. Some we might rather send back. Yet if we dare look below the surface, and dare to trust the Giver of the gift, they all have a silver lining. Suffering comes complete with purpose and an expiration date. There is purpose in the storm. That purpose is the silver lining. And when that purpose prevails, the storm comes to an end.
In that moment, Jesus stands up and commands the wind and the waves to be still, and a calm washes over the scene. Did He calm the actual wind and waves? Or did He calm His child’s fears? I believe there is room for interpretation. Room for both scenarios, as both equations result in the same answer: calm faith.