The Calmer of the Storm
“God is our refuge and strength,
a helper who is always found
in times of trouble.
Therefore we will not be afraid,
though the earth trembles
and the mountains topple
into the depths of the seas,
though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with its turmoil”
I was reminded a couple weeks ago that the Lord is our Rescuer. “An ever-present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1).
We were visiting friends at Pinery Provincial Park. It runs along Lake Huron in Ontario. They invited us over for the day to go for a swim and enjoy a delicious dinner.
We arrived and could hear the waves roar. The longer we sat on the beach, the bigger the waves got and the swells more rapid. I love to swim, so the longer I sat there the more I desired to get in the water. I thought I’d be fine. I used to be a strong swimmer and found waves like that a fun challenge. Mind you, I haven’t swam in that type of condition since before my concussion.
I debated going in. The breeze kept my body cool enough and the sun felt wonderful. But it is almost irresistible for me to be near water and not go in it. I figured I’d regret it if I didn’t at least try.
It felt great to be in the water and stretching my muscles again. I got a ways out, feeling oxygen course through my body. It felt so freeing and fun, like I was back doing laps or swimming off the coast of Oahu. Then, like a flip of a switch, my body went weak. I was suddenly exhausted. Swell after swell washed over me. I’d just catch my breath and the next one would hit. I was far enough out that I couldn’t really touch the sand.
I quickly turned around and headed towards the shore. I looked back to see where Michael was. I knew he wouldn’t be able to help but I thought he might try. The waves had drifted me too far away though. I knew if I yelled, he wouldn’t hear me or be able to get over to me fast enough. I needed to save whatever breath I had.
For the first time in my life, I felt the fear and possibility of drowning. I focused on breathing and kicking. My swim training kicked in and I knew that panicking would only make things worse. Focus on the shore. I’m not that far away. But I knew I didn’t have the strength to get back.
Knowing I couldn’t do it myself; I asked the Lord to carry me back to shore. He didn’t wait a millisecond. It’s like my body lifted above the waves and they glided me back to the beach. As soon as I could get a good footing, He gave me enough strength to stand up and walk the rest of the way. Walking back to our towels, I could barely catch my breath. I hadn’t swallowed any water, but my lungs were weak from lack of exercise. I tried sitting on the beach, but the wind bothered my head. Making it to the car was a struggle.
When I finally got in and laid down, I felt the full measure of dizziness like I was back in the hospital bed right after my concussion. I didn’t think I’d be able to move or drive home that night.
Again, the Lord was gracious. With the lack of wind, the heat and comfort of the vehicle, and deep breaths, my body and brain began to calm. In the fastest time ever, the Lord was a healing balm to my brain. Not only were we able to drive home that day, we were still able to enjoy dinner together with our friends.
Just like in my physical situation, the Lord is our Rescuer in our spiritual lives as well.
Jesus’ disciples experienced this when they were crashing around in the middle of a storm. The waves and wind were stirred up. They were doing everything they could to keep afloat. Where was Jesus? Sound asleep in the boat, unphased by anything going on. Depending on the type of boat, he might have been getting wet, feeling the wind blow on his garments and hair, his body rocking back and forth with the waves. Either way, when that Man finally got to sleep, He knew how to do it well.
The disciples on the other hand felt the fear of shipwreck rising. They saw the circumstances surrounding them and knew the situation was above their control. Don’t forget that some of these men were very seasoned sailors. So, you know it had to be pretty bad to shake these men. Finally, when it was more than they could bear, they woke Jesus.
“They came and woke Him up, saying, “Master, Master, we’re going to die!” Then He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waves. So they ceased, and there was a calm. He said to them, “Where is your faith?” They were fearful and amazed, asking one another, “Who can this be? He commands even the winds and the waves, and they obey Him!”” Luke 8:23-25
The waves and wind instantly settled at His command, just like He instantly rescued me. It is our nature to want to be able to do things ourselves. To fight through the windstorms of life so that we can prove to others how strong we are. It is the situations that are out of our control that keep us humble and our eyes towards Jesus.
It’s also in these times that we are reminded of the Lord’s love for us. He wants to be our Rescuer because He is the Rescuer.
When we feel like we’re drowning in the circumstances surrounding us, all we have to do is ask for help. He will be our rescue and help. The Calmer of the Storm.