“Now when evening came, His disciples went down to the sea, got into the boat, and went over the sea toward Capernaum. And it was already dark, and Jesus had not come to them. Then the sea arose because a great wind was blowing. So when they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and drawing near the boat; and they were afraid. But He said to them, ‘It is I; do not be afraid.'”
In the darkness, amidst a great and unusual storm, the disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ had been truly shaken. Consider this – these were fishermen who were by and large very familiar with storms and the sea. They were skilled at handling boats, but this time something was different. So threatening was the situation that these men faced, that they were in fear of losing their lives. There is no doubt they took great courage when they heard Jesus identify Himself in the midst of that raging storm.
All of us have weathered storms of different types. Here in Southern California storms are rare, but there are a couple types of storms that visit us. One is a dry, strong wind called a Santa Ana – we call them “devil winds.” These winds have the power to topple semi-trucks, uproot trees, and tear pieces from buildings as they reach wind speeds of up to 90 miles per hour. When this happens, every living thing needs to take shelter. There is another type of “storm” that we are familiar with too: the seismos or earthquake. Most often we Californians roll with them as if they are nothing, but sometimes when the epicenter is close by even the smallest quake can knock things off your walls and rattle your nerves. The Bible describes similar types of storms that can shake us to the core. These are the kinds of situations that make us feel that our lives are in danger, which seem to quite literally take our breath away. At such times of stress or fear, we almost need to be reminded to breathe. But in the midst of these storms comes the voice of comfort, the voice of authority, the voice of hope. Jesus says to you, “It is I; do not be afraid.”
As we look around there seems to be storms in every direction. There are financial storms where the stresses of making ends meet weigh upon our emotions. There can also be relational storms where the dynamics between family members or coworkers have been set on edge. Our God sees all and in every situation He is with us. Yes, in all of these things Jesus says, “It is I; do not be afraid.” The storms that you and I are experiencing and will experience, have not escaped the eye of God. No matter how common they may seem, they are in fact, engineered events to strengthen us and to cause us to grow deeper in our faith. Never forget, Jesus says to you, “It is I; do not be afraid.”
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