The Lord of the Storm
In life, we are assailed by a multitude of storms, and while they are not all the same type or severity, they can do quite a number on us. And as is human nature, we react in this way:
We are scared; frightened beyond all logic and seeking only the sunlight we knew before. Fear fills our minds and pushes out all rhyme and reason, incapacitating us with the pressure it exerts inside our heads and the obscuring mist that it spews within our thoughts. All we can see is the dark clouds rolling above us ominously, casting a dark pall over all we thought familiar and rendering it all surreal and foreboding. Hanging over us unnervingly, it bears down on us with a crushing weight that threatens to press the very life and breath from our souls. We feel the cold sting of the bitter rain as it hits us relentlessly, mercilessly, numbing us with its' repeated assaults. The cruel winds buffet us and chill us to the bone, ravaging us with vicious ferocity and tearing at us, leaving us in tatters. Our cries of "Abba" seems to be lost in the storm, drowned out by the ruthless gales that roar from the horizon. We feel abandoned, alone, helpless. We seek refuge from this maelstrom, but find none; all we find is wave after wave of vengeful attacks, until we are driven to our knees in defeat and despair.
This is how we feel when the storms of life strike at us.
But we are not alone.
Jesus, more than anyone else on earth, knows this feeling very well. At Golgotha (Calvary), The Lord felt in full measure this awful and horrific experience as he hung dying on a cruel piece of wood. nails pierced his wrists and ankles; lash marks marred his bruised and bloodied countenance:
"As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men:" (Isaiah 52:14, KJV)
Jesus felt the foreboding darkness hanging ominously over him, obscuring the light and draping the landscape in gloom:
"And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour." (Mark 15:33 KJV)
On the cross, with no clothes, Jesus felt the biting sting of the wind as it tore at him. And although scripture does not tell whether it rained when Jesus was crucified, Jesus knew the feeling of downpours; the winter season of Judea was notorious for it's rains. Exposed on that cross, held in place by hard iron spikes for the world to see, there was no shelter or reprieve from the exposure and humiliation for Jesus; there was no cover for him, no safety of shelter nor remittance of cold.
And he too felt alone; for the first time ever, he had no fellowship with his Father in Heaven:
"And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" (Matthew 27:46, KJV)
Jesus was utterly alone, as his own Father turned away from his only begotten son. Jesus had become sin for us, and now was paying the penalty we deserved...
In our place.
Jesus had no escape from the loneliness or the fear; he faced them both without the benefit of the drugged wine offered to him by the Roman soldiers stationed there. His cry to his father unanswered, he too knew the pain of crying out, yet feeling as if it were muted beyond all possibility of being heard.
Yes, Jesus knows full well the savage storms that life throws at us; he tasted in full the pain, both physical and emotional that we face as we struggle on this side of eternity he knows the fear that we feel, our terror that we shall be consumed by the tempest whose maw slavers to devour us whole in one swallow. Yet in his darkest hour, in the time that he was to be devoured by the most ancient of enemies, Death:
"And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost." (Luke 23:46, KJV)
In the gravest of circumstances, Jesus entrusted himself to the care of his Father. Despite that God the Father had turned his face away from him, Jesus still placed himself in his hands.
And there lies the lesson for us.
Because of Christ's sacrifice on Calvary, we have fellowship with the Father again; God no longer views us as enemies, but instead through his son Jesus. He promises us:
"Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me." (Hebrews 13:5-6, KJV)
Because of this, we are NEVER alone in our struggles in this life: when fear grips our minds, we have but to turn to the Lord and remember WHO HE IS. When the dark clouds threaten us, the light of his glory breaks through them and dispels them as if they were but the early morning mists. When the heaviness presses down upon us, it is HIS shoulders that it presses down on and not our own. When the cold rains come to drown us and the cruel winds seek to shear us to ribbons, he holds us close to him and is our high tower against the rain and winds. Our cries are not muted by the gales, but are carried on high by the Comforter, the Holy Spirit of God, who brings them to the Father.The Lord is our pavilion against the maelstrom, as he holds us close to him, nestled in his robes.
And when the dread monstrosity that hovers above seeks to rend us from Him and devour us alive:
"And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm." (Mark 4:39, KJV, emphasis mine)
The Lord has the fina say, not the storm; it is ultimately at his command, not the other way around. When he orders it to finally cease, it has no choice but to obey him.
When the disciples saw Jesus rebuke the storm on the Sea of Galilee, they asked:
"What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him? " (Mark 4:41b, KJV)
The answer to that is in The Gospel of John Chapter 1:
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made." (John 1:1-3, KJV)
Jesus is GOD ALMIGHTY.
We cannot avoid every storm in this life, but we need not live in terror of them: The Lord is with us no matter our circumstances. And though God may not save us FROM the storms, he will deliver us THROUGH them, making sure we come out on the other side:
"When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee." (Isaiah 43:2, KJV)
We see through mortal eyes the coldness and loneliness of the storms of life; we cannot as yet see them the way God sees them. But God is hope when all hope is lost, even in the face of death. Even if the worst happens and we are utterly annihilated in this life, it is not our end, but the beginning:
"Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me." (Isaiah 49:16, KJV)
We have the promise of a resurrection to come, and new bodies to replace those that will ultimately die.
It is easy to say these things when the storms are not raging outside; I know this all too well. It's quite another to say it when they are threatening to tear the door off the hinges! But especially in the darkest times, when all seems lost and hope is a memory, that is the time to remember who the Lord is, and to praise him for who he is.
After all: even when death seemed to claim him, it could not hold him...
I bid you all peace.