With You in the Storms

The rule of thirds and negative space.

It seems everywhere I’ve looked in the last 24 hours, there have been reminders of storms.

But in each storm, God has been present to still and overcome them with his mere presence or a word.

For example, last night I recorded a lectio divina exercise for a small group of friends, and the passage selected for the exercise was taken from Matthew 14. This is the passage where Jesus walks on the water and then invites Peter to walk on the water, too.

Did you know that in that story, Jesus came walking on the water in the midst of a great storm? The passage says that it was an evening when the disciples were being “battered by the waves.” Also, when Peter walked out on the water to Jesus, it was a glance at “the waves churning beneath his feet” that made him lose his nerve and start to sink. 

Jesus reached out a hand to keep Peter from sinking further into the tumultuous ocean. And once he and Peter climbed back in the boat, the ocean became as still as glass. 

Here’s another example. Later in the evening, Kirk and I listened to the daily Pray as You Go podcast, which we like to do together as a devotional way to end the day. The sacred music selection for this weekend’s recording held the following words: 

Calm me, Lord, as you calm the storm

Still me, Lord, keep me from harm

Let all the tumult within me cease

Enfold me, Lord, in your peace 

And the Gospel reading for the podcast was yet another storm-related story — that of Jesus being asleep on a boat while a great storm came and assailed it on all sides. Here is another place where Jesus, once woken by the disciples in their fear, spoke a single word to the storm and made it calm. 

And then this morning, the psalms offered yet another encouragement concerning the presence of storms: 

Sea storms are up, God

Sea storms wild and roaring,

Sea storms with thunderous breakers.

Stronger than wild sea storms,

Mightier than sea-storm breakers,

Mighty God rules from High Heaven.

— Psalm 93:3-4

Our God is mightier than the storms. Though the storms may rage around us, turning us toward fear, the presence of God and a mere word from his lips is enough to slay them and bring back calm.

What storms do you face in life today? In what ways are you assailed and battered by waves? How does the near presence of Jesus or a mere word from his lips bring the size of the waves down to mere calm?