Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Devotionals for the Heart: Jesus Christ can calm all the storms of life

A Perfect Storm
A devotional by Sarah Cole

“A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”—Mark 4:37-41 (NIV)

Have you ever nearly drowned in a sea of difficulty that left you speechless?

That happened after I spent a week troubleshooting with Google. When a computer technician told me my Gmail account was unrecoverable, I had to find all my contacts from scratch, and I will never know what urgent emails I lost. To make matters worse, a friend refused to talk to me for no reason. I suffered a disabling injury, and a hopeful business relationship dissolved in a perfect storm that left my security underwater.

The dictionary by Merriam-Webster defines the term “a perfect storm” as “a critical or disastrous situation created by a powerful concurrence of factors”.

Despite our efforts to avoid them, the fiercest storms strike without warning. They leave us vulnerable and discouraged and force us out of our comfort zones. When they capsize our relationships, health, or finances then like the disciples, we wonder where Jesus went and why He didn't do something to prevent these storms in the first place.

As fishermen, the disciples of Jesus Christ knew the devastating impact a powerful storm could have on their livelihoods. Fighting the wind and the waves that day while Jesus was asleep made them wonder why He abandoned them when they needed Him most. But to their amazement, Jesus awoke, commanded the storm to cease, and they realized He had been in control all along.

If a tsunami has left a wake of destruction and you're left holding on for dear life, remember this:
Jesus isn't asleep, and your storm is no surprise to Him. While your struggle is real, nothing happens without a divine purpose (Romans 8:28). While your present difficulty is far from good, He can use it to increase your dependence on Him (2 Corinthians 1:8-9), build your character, strengthen your faith (1 Peter 1:6-7 and Romans 5:3-5), and give Him glory (Psalm 50:15).

Here are seven ways to stand firm in your faith when the storms of life are taking you under:

1. Be honest with Jesus. He already knows how you feel, but you'll feel better trusting Him with your concerns and leaving them there.

2. Remember His faithfulness in the past as you trace His hand through the trials you've overcome.

3. Lean on others for support. Burdens are easier to weather when you share them with caring friends.

4. Dwell on His Word, not the waves. The Bible has hundreds of promises tailored to your concerns that will build your faith and give you peace.

5. Trust His timing. Jesus sees beyond what you're going through to the benefits of letting you weather it. 

6. Pray for perspective. You are not alone. Think of others you can encourage who are also struggling. This may help you feel better in the process.

7. Ask Him for wisdom.
Jesus promises to guide and lead you through difficulty when you ask in faith (James 1:5).

Let's Pray:
Dear Lord Jesus, thank You for controlling the storms I face. When the waves threaten to engulf me, help me trust You to carry me safely to shore. Help me to remember when You command the storm to cease, I will be stronger, wiser, and grateful for the lessons I've learned. In Your Name I pray. Amen.

Song of Reflection: “Let the Waters Rise” by Mikeschair. Listen to it here.

Author Bio:

Sarah Cole’s interest in writing began in grade school when her poem was published in the local paper. As she got older, her mother’s chronic illness inspired her to design a line of greeting cards. Since then, she has written for her college newspaper and two community newspapers where she wrote restaurant reviews and articles for their “Best of” spread.

Her experience as an administrator in the marketing field gave her the opportunity to write ads for a local business journal.

After a 20-year detour and a three-year season of adversity, God reignited her passion to write. Two divine appointments later, the short story she wrote about her father appeared in the St. Paul Almanac, and a short story about Gigi (her Cocker Spaniel) was published in Guideposts (magazine) Mysterious Ways. She believes her adversity was worth the lessons God taught her.

Since 2022, Sarah’s devotionals have been published in The Secret Place by Judson Press, as well as David C. Cook’s Devotions and The Quiet Hour. To this day, she smiles, pinches herself and gives God all the glory.

When she’s not writing, Sarah enjoys watching cooking shows, designing cards and mugs, and taking day trips.

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