I have always loved the Bible passage where Jesus calms the storm. I love it for its drama, its depiction of our human frailty, and, in contrast, the awesome power of God.
- That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm… (Mark 4:35-39)
Somehow, for a long time after becoming a Christian, I unconsciously expected God to prevent storms from coming to good Christians. But the truth is that he does not always do that. Sometimes, he does not even calm the storm.
And that’s what happened to me recently. Two months ago when another staff member and I booked our flights to Detroit for a meeting, we did not know we were picking the worst dates (Jan. 30-31)—when the polar vortex would hit the Midwest with strong winds, snow, and record-low temperatures. What a smart leadership decision I had made! As the date approached and I listened to the forecast, I began to pray that somehow God would spare us from the onslaught of the storm.
Unlike the powerful prayer of the righteous man, mine did not avail much. So the day came when I found myself getting up early in the morning, bundling up, shoveling the snow on my driveway, and heading toward Washington Dulles Airport.
To my surprise, all our flights were on time and we had a smooth landing. Our driver picked us up on time in a rental car. God did not calm the storm for us, but he calmed our hearts. Even though most of the restaurants were closed, God graciously provided for us one restaurant that was open and within walking distance from our hotel. We enjoyed our visit with our ministry associates, and the next morning we even had the joy of an unexpected visit with COM staff members nearby. What a joyful trip!
When I got back home and reflected on the trip during my morning devotion the next day, I was grateful. I felt God speaking to me this way. He may not prevent every storm coming our way, but he is always with us in the midst of the storm. He may not answer our prayers the way we want, but he always provides for us in his better ways.
Have you been in a storm lately? Instead of the polar vortex, yours might have to do with relationships, finances, or health issues. In Jesus’s rebuke of the storm: “Quiet! Be still!” I believe he’s also saying to us: Be still and know that I am God.
-- Daniel Su, COM president