Scientists tell us that even hurricanes bring some benefit. Though violent, these storms purify the ocean by breaking up bacteria and bringing fresh oxygen. They also carry much-needed rain and replenish inland plant life and barrier islands.¹
But it’s hard to see any good in storms while they’re raging, isn’t it?
Like the disciples who found themselves battling one of those sudden squalls that come up on the Sea of Galilee. With the wind and the waves so buffeting their boat, all seemed surely lost.
It was the 4th watch of the night, between 3-6 AM. That uncanny hour not quite day and no longer night when things appear surreal. And that’s when they saw Christ coming toward them, walking on the water. And they were terrified.
But that’s Christ’s way. He often comes to us in life’s storms.
He sees the wind and the waves, and knows that we fear going under. Perhaps like the disciples, grieving over John the Baptist’s passing, we too have lost someone close. We smart with the sting of rejection or just feel bone weary and discouraged.
In those moments he comes to us speaking words of life, hope, and reassurance. Riding on the waves, in the midst of the tempest.
And he calls on us to use our faith and trust him in the heat of storm.
He says to us, just as he did to Peter, “Get out of the boat and come to me in trust. I know the storm is rough and all seems hopeless. But come to me, and I’ll help you rise above the waves.” So encouraged, we step out in faith, determined to ride out the storm in confident trust and faith.
But the storm rages on. Some illnesses are never cured. Some marriages never mend. And death brings the searing anguish of separation. So overwhelmed by the continuing storm we take our eyes off Christ. And we start going under.
“Why did you doubt?” the Lord asks. “Even after I came to you walking on the water! Why would you doubt?” And he lifts us out of our doubt, out of the threatening water, and into the safety of the boat.
Only THEN does he calm the storm.
Christ saw the storm while he was still on shore, and he could have calmed it then. He could have calmed it before calling for Peter to get out of the boat. Or chosen to still the waves as soon as Peter started going under. But he didn’t.
Because he uses the storms to teach important life lessons.
- God uses storms of correction to discipline his children, like he did with Jonah.
- And he uses the perfecting storms to teach us, grow us, and change us.
He wants us to see that the only thing we need really fear is the weakness of our faith. It wasn’t the wind and the waves that took Peter down. It was the doubt that crept in when he took his eyes off the Lord.
And he wants us to see him as God omnipotent. The apostles had seen Christ perform many miracles, but it was only after he calmed the storm that they proclaimed, “You are truly the Son of God!”
We often wonder why the Lord doesn’t prevent trials or take us out of them. But like the scientists who discover new life germinating after hurricanes, storms help our faith germinate and grow too.
So embrace life’s storms. They’re working for our good.
¹ 5 Things Hurricanes Can Do That Are Actually Good, The Weather Channel.