We've been talking a lot about storms lately. This Sunday, we'll be looking at the account of Jesus calming the storm at sea. You may remember that Jesus and his disciples got into a boat...
"And while they were sailing, he fell asleep. A squall blew over the lake, and they were taking in water and were in danger. They came and woke him saying, "Master, master, we are perishing!" He awakened, rebuked the wind and the waves, and they subsided and there was a calm." (Luke 8:23-24 NABRE)
The storm analogies make sense to many of us. To others who feel the storm is a little too close, they may ask, "If Jesus can speak to the wind and waves to calm them, when is he going to come and calm the storm that is threatening me?"
Last week in online worship, we sang the hymn "How Can I Keep From Singing?" Some of you may have sung along, and some may have wondered how to find the strength to sing at all. Maybe you or someone you know is in a dark place right now for any number of reasons... illness, death of a loved one, isolation, job loss, financial trouble, end of relationship... the list can be long... One is tempted to ask, "Where is God in all of this?! Does he even care??"
As a church musician, I have often been drawn to read the book of Psalms, and was always intrigued to notice that many of them start in despair, but end in hope. Psalm 139 has always been one of my favorite psalms, precisely because it assures me of God's constant abiding presence:
"You have enclosed me behind and before, And laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is too high, I cannot attain to it. Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the dawn, If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, Even there Your hand will lead me, And Your right hand will lay hold of me. If I say, "Surely the darkness will overwhelm me, And the light around me will be night," Even the darkness is not dark to You. And the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are alike to You." (Psalm 139:5-12 NABRE)
That's where God is in all of this. Right there with you, wherever you are. Always. And we are never forsaken. When your storm has passed, may you be able to sing with the psalmist, "I waited patiently for the Lord; And He inclined to me and heard my cry. He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, And He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God." (Psalm 40:1-3a NABRE)