Living in Kansas, I get to see some pretty spectacular storms. I’ve seen funnel clouds before, and I’ve been close to tornadoes on several occasions. But I’d never actually seen a tornado form–until last week.
It had been a scorcher of a day. The temperature without the heat index was about 104. With the heat index it was around 110. Dad had been airing out the camping gear in the yard for our upcoming camping adventure. I can’t even remember what cause me to look out the window, but I did. And far in the distance, I saw a funnel cloud dipping out of the dark clouds to the north of us. It was some distance off, far enough away to know we weren’t in immediate danger. So what did I do? That’s right. Like a good Kansan, I ran outside to take photos.
As we watched (and tried to pack up the camping gear, losing a tent stake in the process), the tornado formed to the north, the funnel stretching down to meet the rising dust cloud from the earth halfway. It was an impressive sight, and it probably would have been much scarier if I’d been closer to it.
Today’s verses are Matthew 8:23-27.
Then Jesus got into the boat and started across the lake with his disciples. Suddenly, a fierce storm struck the lake, with waves breaking into the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him up, shouting, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” Jesus responded, “Why are you afraid? You have so little faith!” Then he got up and rebuked the wind and waves, and suddenly there was a great calm. The disciples were amazed. “Who is this man?” they asked. “Even the winds and waves obey him!”
This is one of those stories I dearly hope God recorded for posterity. I’d love to be able to relive the moment when the disciples, terrified and dripping wet, rush into the innards of the boat to find Jesus asleep. He was taking a nap during a crazy, wild, outrageous storm. He wasn’t worried or bothered at all, in spite of the fact that the storm was threatening to completely overwhelm them.
That tells us a lot about Jesus, even without knowing what happens next.
One thing I love about Kansans is that we don’t freak out about storms. We don’t let the weather determine our activities. If we waited to accomplish something until the weather got better, we’d be waiting forever. Instead, we learn to deal with whatever the weather is doing.
That doesn’t mean we’re stupid. We know when a tornado is on the ground heading our direction that at some point we’re going to need to get into the basement. We get it. But one of the joys of living in Kansas is being able to see 20 miles in all directions, so if it’s a tornado on the ground during the day, usually you can see it coming a long time before it hits.
Kansans understand the power of tornadoes, and we don’t take them for granted. But we’ve prepared for them, and we know what to do when one comes at us.
What’s awesome about Jesus is that He is stronger than any storm. Period. It doesn’t matter if it’s a tornado or a hurricane, an earthquake or a blizzard, whatever. He can calm the winds, stop the rain, and still the earth, because He made all of it.
I think in their deepest hearts, the disciples knew that, but they just forgot. The wind and the rain was just too much too fast. It all came down at once, and they didn’t know what to do. And they panicked.
How often do we respond the same way? When the avalanches of life assault us on all sides, when the storms of politics, legal disputes, office relationships, and family drama threaten to overwhelm us? There’s really no difference between a physical storm and an emotional storm, when you get right down to it. They both do damage. They both can destroy. And they’re both things only God can fix.
Rest assured, whatever storm you’re going through right now isn’t upsetting Him. Jesus is sawing logs at the bottom of the boat of your life, just waiting for you to come tell Him you need help. He isn’t worried. He isn’t panicking. Because He’s stronger than the storms you’re facing. So what are you waiting for? Go ask Him for help.
There’s no storm He can’t get you through safely. Maybe you’ll see some damage before it’s over, but He’ll take care of you until it ends.