Friday, January 12, 2024

Something wicked this way comes

We're in for another round of stormy weather. Hopefully this one will pass without much damage. During the last round, on Tuesday, we were blessed to have only strong winds, heavy rain, and lots of thunder and lightning. 

This area is in the center of tornado alley and since we've lived here, we've only had a few come fairly close to our home. Two were minor storms. One was an EF4. Every time bad weather is expected, we pray asking God for a hedge of protection around our home. Some may think it silly to pray that way, but we know God cares about all things that pertain to us. We've seen over and over again His hand of protection shield us from danger. 

The beautiful Sea of Galilee
It seems the weather has grown more erratic over the past few years with more intense storms and temperature fluctuations. These are signs of the last days as spoken of in the Bible. But aren't we thankful, even in the midst of storms, God is present? He controls the wind and the waves. 

Sometimes I wonder how I would have reacted if I'd been in the boat with Jesus on the Sea of Galilee when the winds began to whip and the rain began to pour. Would I have freaked out as the disciples did as Jesus rested peacefully in the back of the boat? In my flesh, I imagine I would have. I'm sure as the boated rocked back and forth, the disciples were afraid the boat would fill with water or capsize. Naturally, they wondered how Jesus could sleep through all that, but He did! And He did because He had nothing to worry about. 

At times, I think Jesus allowed the storm to test the disciples' faith. Could He have purposefully planned it? I believe He could have. 

When Jesus was awakened by the disciples, as they exhibited their fear, He chides them on their lack of faith before speaking to the wind and telling it to be still. Instantly, as the storm stopped raging, the disciples were in awe. "Who is this, that the wind and the waves obey Him?" they asked each other. While they new Him as their friend, their rabbi, and their mentor, I wonder if they truly understood He was God in the flesh. That day, they probably got a huge wake up call. 

This was the type boat we sailed in on the sea. 
In 2018, when we were in Israel, our group was scheduled to spend a day on the Sea of Galilee. We'd booked a tour boat and were looking forward to the day our time on the sea came. We'd driven by the Sea of Galilee several times that week, before our scheduled boat ride. Each time we'd passed, the sea (which is actually a very large lake surrounded by mountainous terrain) was peaceful and calm. But one day, as we drove past on our way to our scheduled touring agenda, the sea was tumultuous. Our guide explained that storms in that area could be quite powerful and whip up suddenly. We were surprised to see whitecaps on the normally calm sea, but we were also thankful because it helped us understand the Scripture that talked about the disciples being in the boat with Jesus on that stormy day. 

Our boat ride had to be rescheduled as that storm raged. While we were sad that happened, we knew it was for the best. Thankfully, a few days later, we enjoyed the most peaceful and awe-inspiring trip across the sea. It was a highlight of our trip and one I'll never forget. 

Standing in the bow of the boat, I thought about Jesus. 
Sometimes, Jesus allows storms in our lives as teaching tools. I've faced many of those myself. Other times, He uses them to draw people closer to Himself. Today, as the storms move in, let's pray that those around us would be safe and also that they'd know God is always in control. Nothing ever takes Him by surprise. That should bring us great peace. 

I took this photo from the boat looking toward the mountains. 
Israel is a beautiful place. If you've never been, I hope one day you'll have the opportunity to go. I promise, it will change your life forever. Seeing the Bible come to life in front of your eyes is amazing. And, while there, you'll definitely have some Jesus encounters like I did. There were several places I could feel His presence so strongly I had to look around to make sure He wasn't standing right next to me. One of those places was on the Sea of Galilee, another was on the Gospel Trail. 

Jesus has promised never to leave or forsake us, so even if we can't feel Him near, He's there. Don't forget that! And as the stormy weather nears, know He's in complete control. Don't fear. Let your heart trust In Him. 


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