“And immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going.” John 6:21
If you are reading this you are either coming out of a storm, in the middle of a storm, or about to go into a storm sometime in the near future. Storms are simply a part of life. We have sunny days, but they will pass. We also have stormy days, and they too will pass.
The key to surviving storms is to remember God's presence. He is not surprised by any storm. He will never leave you during the storm. The real question that plagues, however, is "what is God doing in this torm?!?!"
The story of Jesus’ walking on the water is one of the most amazing and memorable events in the gospels. As children we love the scene of Jesus strolling confidently among the waves. Who among us has not at least given it a try? We also love and long for the stilling of the storm Jesus performed when He got in the boat with His frightened disciples.
The Spirit inspired John to include this story in his gospel, but with a different emphasis. John did not mention a stilling of the storm. Check it out. The full story is in John 6:16-21. No mention of the stilling of the storm! Instead we find the above text that emphasizes the disciples’ safe arrival at their destination. Why the difference?
Some storms are not immediately stilled. I believe the first readers of John’s gospel were enduring a lengthy persecution. The storm had broken upon them with unrelenting fury. John, an old apostle by this time and facing a future in exile on Patmos, did not want to give the false hope that all storms are stilled. Storms can be of various intensities and durations. They are a fact of life for even the most faithful Christian.
However, you never face a storm alone. Remember the main thrust of this story is that Jesus came to them in the midst of the storm. Your personal storm may rage, but you are not alone. “I will never fail or forsake you” (Heb. 13:5). Now think carefully about this: if you can be sure of Jesus’ presence with you, you can also be sure that He will not let you be overwhelmed by the storm you face. Live confidently!
For that reason, you can praise God when He delivers you from the storm (i.e. He stills it) or when He delivers you through the storm (i.e. He makes sure you survive it).
We do have to accept the fact that we don't get to choose! But relinquishing control to God invites us to deeper faith and gentle trust. Either way, from or through, you can trust God in the midst of your storm.
Dr. Terry Ellis
March 29, 2015