“He asked them, ‘Where is your faith?’
“Frightened and amazed, they asked each other, ‘Who is this man? He gives orders to the wind and the water, and they obey him!’” Luke 8:25 (GW).
In times of storm, literal and figurative, it is easy to be in the place of: “Where is your faith?”
Fear is far easier to obtain. It is easy to ask where is God in the midst of this.
Tragedy is hard to embrace. Fear is overwhelming. Our hearts ask, “Why God? Are you there God? Do you know what is going on God?”
Faith often has to look past the immediate questions and trust. The reason the disciples were rescued in their storm was that Jesus was in their boat. It is amazing how often we leave the Lord out of the boat and then wonder why he is not there.
How do we do that?
Many make bad choices and then get angry at God or others when those choices bear fruit.
For instance, is the city of New Orleans flooded because of a bad storm, or is it flooded because people chose to live below sea level and then did not have the pumps and levees in prime condition? Storms come; we need to be ready.
Not taking the advice of others, numerous folks died needlessly. They chose to stay in the storm. I extend my deepest sympathy and compassion to all those who have lost loved ones. Many would not have died had they listened, and in many cases, obeyed.
Often we do not turn to God until after the tragedy. As in other events such as 9/11, I anticipate much prayer and response to this event.
We will give to organizations and our churches to help the victims of this horrific event. As I write this the statistics are just starting to be told.
By the time you read it, much more will be known. Communities will rally; help has already been mobilized. At times like this you see the heart and soul of this great nation.
More and more often we are seeing the biggest and the worst when it comes to the events of our day.
There are many events that seem to be out of our control: Tsunami, fire, earthquake, war, terror, violence, crime, perversion. The list goes on. Last week it was the hurricane. For many, life will never be the same.
In dealing with storms of life we see several steps. The initial onslaught of the storm, then the fear of the unknown, next is the reality of the known, then shock, denial, emotional response and eventually adjustment.
God promises to join us and lead us through these steps.
The psalmist prayed Psalm 23:4 (GW): “Even though I walk through the dark valley of death, because you are with me, I fear no harm, your rod and your staff give me courage.”
There is no promise from God for a problem-free life; Christianity is about a genuine relationship with a living God who will lead you through the trials and tests of life.
Trials come from many sources. Most trials come from the seeds we plant ourselves.
Many more come from the actions of those we love and those around us. More come from social, cultural and political choices.
Many today are wondering, “have environmental choices caused arctic melting and global warming? Are some of the apocalyptic events prophesied by the Bible the fruits of man’s meddling with his surroundings?
I do not pretend to have answers about these controversial subjects. I do know that it mattered last week.
The Gulf is said to be 3 degrees warmer then normal, and that impacted this storm.
I do know, if I did not know the God who knows the answers, I would feel pretty unstable right now. From where I sit in my little corner of the world, it looks pretty harsh out there.
Storms may be a natural disaster, a broken relationship or a personal tragedy, or may be as simple as not being able to pay the bills.
Whatever it is, God has promised to be there. He also will lead us out of the valley that has come with it. There is a song by Albert E. Brumley that says:
“As I wander through this pilgrim land there is a friend, who walks with me, leads me safely through the sinking sand. It is the Christ of Calvary; “This would be my prayer, dear Lord. Each day to help me do the best I can, for I need thy light to guide me day and night. Blessed Jesus, hold my hand.
“Jesus, hold my hand, I need thee every hour. Through this pilgrim land, protect me by thy power; Hear my feeble plea, oh Lord; look down on me.When I kneel in prayer I hope to meet you there, blessed Jesus, hold my hand.”
Good words. Good advice.
Today we remember many who will be reported lost; we will grieve with many who have lost every earthy possession they had. We will pray for those who are just beginning to put their lives together. We will rejoice in the stories of protection, and the stories of heroic actions.
We will ponder the battle for survival won by many and yet lost by others.
In quiet moments, we will remember it is not good to be alone, it is hardest in a storm.
We will take the hand of the Lord and say, “Lead on Jesus, lead on. Your view is better then mine. Lead on.”
Robert Reasner is senior pastor at Abundant Life at Mile 81.5 of the Sterling Highway. He can be reached at www.abundantlifealaska.org or 262-7266
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