“Now when He got into a boat, His disciples followed Him. And suddenly a great tempest arose on the sea, so that the boat was covered with the waves. But He was asleep. Then His disciples came to Him and awoke Him, saying, ‘Lord, save us! We are perishing!’
But He said to them, ‘Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?’ Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. So the men marveled, saying, ‘Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?’” - Matthew 8:23-27
If you ever need a reminder that we really and truly are not in control, a good, rousing storm can provide just the refresher course you need.
I spent the morning watching the weather steadily deteriorate from remarkably breezy, to windy, to rainy and extremely windy, to windy and stormy enough that I was expecting to see Dorothy and Toto come flying by any moment and I was beginning to get a bit nervous about what the afternoon was about to hold for us. In spite of this, I was still surprised to hear the tornado sirens begin their eerie blast just as I was pulling out of the neighborhood to pick my daughter up from preschool at noon. My adrenaline level increased exponentially. I do not like to hear those sirens.
I grew up in Florida, and hurricanes I understand. I don’t like them and they frighten me, but at least you can sort of know they are coming and evacuate if need be. It’s relatively rare to be surprised by one unless you just are living in a cave or something. Then again, in Florida, it’s so flat and close to sea-level that the caves are probably under water, so you probably wouldn’t want to do that. :-) Tornadoes are something else entirely. The first time I lived in the midwest, our house did not have a basement, and my husband spent most of the year we lived in Indiana in Bosnia with the Army. After today I am glad to know that I can hear the sirens at my house. When we lived in Indiana, I couldn’t. That whole year in Indiana I was alone in my basement-less house whenever those scary and unnerving tornado watch inducing storms would come through. And the power of those midwest thunder storms is something to behold, very different from the afternoon thunderstorms I had been used to in Florida. For some reason, the worst ones were always in the middle of the night that year, too. I spent several sleepless nights huddled in front of the news and packing the boys up into the hallway with their pillows and blankets, the safest place I knew of in that house. After we left there, I told my husband that if we ever lived in the midwest again, I wanted a basement.
Fast forward to today. I didn’t know I needed the basement until I was already in the car on my way to pick up my little girl. I drove as fast as I safely could to the church where she goes to preschool, watching that scary sky the whole way. When I got there I was informed they’d evacuated everyone to the basement and we were welcome to stay, too, until the warnings passed. So, I got to spend 30 minutes in the basement with a ton of preschoolers singing “If You’re Happy and You Know It” and “The Wheels on the Bus” and “Our God is an Awesome God.” I can think of worse places to ride out a tornado warning.
Those teachers and helpers and church staff members did a wonderful job of keeping a whole bunch of kiddos and worried moms calm down there in that basement. And I just have to say this, too, I am extremely thankful that we are finally getting some rain. We are parched here in this part of Kentucky.
And you know what the most amazing thought is? Though storms are real and frightening and I have a healthy respect for them, deep down I know that no matter what, I know the One who can calm the storm. Come what may, He is in control. Even if the storm takes a very real physical toll, Jesus is in control. And in this I can find true calm.
I love that passage from Matthew. I wonder what the disciples expected when they woke Jesus up and begged him to save them? It’s clear from their reaction that whatever they expected Him to do, they did not expect Him to silence the wind and waves. I wonder, did they believe He could save them, but did not realize just who He was and what power He held in control until that moment? It is a fearful and wonderful thing to realize just how awesome He really and truly is. They got a glimpse of His divinity in that moment, and it awed them. It ought to awe us, too, as we ponder the majesty and wonder of just who Jesus really is.
Because of something I’ve been pondering for a while now, more on that in the next post, Lord willing.