Monday, September 30, 2013

Calming the Storm

Yesterday afternoon we had a hailstorm.  Yep, here in Jarabacoa, Dominican Republic, balls of ice fell from the sky.  
here comes the rain... and hail!
The day started with heat (lots and lots of it!) and sunny skies.  After church and lunch, as we were sitting relaxing at home, the clouds started rolling in. 

Before too long, we heard the rumbles and then things got dark.  Lightning flashed, getting closer and closer.  The wind picked up, driving the rain nearly sideways.  Then, I heard ‘pings’ on our metal gate.  Huh?  I ran outside and sure enough, there on the ground, little balls of ice. 

Just that morning I had been reading a book called “Sifted” in which author Rick Lawrence talks about how we often fail to see the Biblical stories as real.  He used the example of Jesus calming the storm, and told of someone sharing the story with new believers.  “So, what storms are there in your lives?” the Bible leader asked. 
this is a picture one of our church friends took
But, these baby Christians were focused on something else.  “You mean, Jesus calmed the storm?!” 

“Yes, yes, but what about storms in your life?” 
“But, if He could do that, He must be very powerful!”  The new Christians began to praise and glorify God for His power. 

The leader suddenly realized that he had been missing something.  By moving to the abstract, he had inadvertently been minimizing the reality and power of the Bible.

We are so eager to bring Jesus close, to make Him our personal Savior.  I don’t think that is wrong, and clearly the Bible says this is a part of who He is. 
my makeshift dam
But, I think we sometimes ignore how powerful He truly is.  When we’re talking about our personal storms, Jesus seems more ‘controllable’.  It’s Him serving us.  He’s our helper and friend, but that is not all He is. 
We love that God is a God who emptied Himself and became Emmanuel, God with us.  That is Biblical, yes.  But, the same Bible says that He is the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God (I Timothy 1:17).

I looked out back to see the ditch alongside our yard flooded, and the swirling, reddish brown soup fast approaching our laundry area. 
Carlos grabbed a shovel to clear out the accumulated branches and dirt.  I grabbed the other shovel to divert the water away from our house. 

In an instant I was soaked through, shivering and miserable.  The sideways rain was relentless.  The force of the water pouring through the drain grabbed the shovel, making it impossible to hold in place.  I gave that up and hauled over some cinderblocks, building a makeshift dam. 
a missionary friend took this one

I thought about what I had read that morning.  I squinted up at the roiling black clouds and tried to imagine what it would be like to hear Jesus saying, Be still. 
A simple command and everything goes quiet.  The rain simply isn’t there.  The water pouring out of the drain stops.  The trees no longer bend because there is suddenly no wind.  The torrent evaporates, the dark sky turns clear blue. 
No wonder the disciples were almost more afraid than thankful!  That is power.  That is One who is in control.  That is not someone I can order around, expecting Him to dance attendance on me. 

When I am tempted to turn Jesus into my personal assistant, shrinking His purpose to making my life work well, I hope I will remember the reality of the Calmer of Storms. 
Through His obedience, Jesus has brought us to the Throne of Grace.  But, it is a throne.  Jesus is King of kings and Lord of lords.  God has given Him all authority.  We can be assured that He has the power to cope with our storms because He can command winds and rain. 

Like those new believers, like the disciples themselves, I pray I will never lose my awe of the One who is far above me, and yet comes close. Hallelujah, what a Savior, what a King!

1 comment:

  1. Kimberley, I'm Rick Lawrence—author of Sifted. I just ran across your story by accident today. This is such a beautiful, in-the-moment interpretation of that story in Sifted, it brought tears to my eyes...