Calm in the Midst of the Storm



Bishop Scott Jones

11/9/2017

We have experienced significant storms in recent weeks. Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria caused great devastation in many places. Our recovery both in reconstruction of buildings and healing of emotions will be a long-term process. The metaphor of storms also fits our response to mass killings in Las Vegas, New York and Sutherland Springs, Texas. In each of these cases, an individual was able to kill large numbers of persons.

How do Christians weather the storms of life? I am drawn to two sources for answers. First, I have re-read the account of the disciples in the boat who over reacted to the danger of the windstorm. In Luke 8:24 they wake up Jesus and say “Master, Master, we are perishing.” While their fear is understandable, Jesus responds by asking them a question: “Where is your faith?”

The other source that helps me get in touch with my faith is the hymn by Charles Albert Tindley that says:

When the storms of life are raging, stand by me;
When the storms of life are raging, stand by me;
When the world is tossing me
Like a ship upon the sea,
Thou Who rulest wind and water, stand by me 

When I find myself giving in to fear, singing a hymn like that one is equivalent to Thomas saying “Lord, I believe. Help thou my unbelief.”

In the midst of storms, we need the grace of God. Tindley’s hymn is a prayer. Gathering with our congregation in worship is a source of strength. Reaching out to comfort those who are hurting more than we are helps as well. We make it through these storms by grace through faith.

At the same time, we should note that in Luke’s account, Jesus rebuked the wind and the waves and calmed them. We, as the body of Christ, need to take action to combat the storms raging in our world. The social justice ministries of the church are important in making the world more closely reflect God’s will. We seek a world where environmental damage is minimized and global warming is addressed. We seek a world where assault rifles are restricted to the military and law enforcement. We seek a world where mental health care is fully funded. We seek a world where religious extremism no longer takes lives.

Prayer and focusing on God are crucial ways to survive the storms. Action to calm the storms of life is important too.