It really wasn’t all that funny! In fact, it was as if my car wanted to express a little dashboard sarcasm just before we attempted to drive into a long snowstorm laden journey home. I should have known better. I should have given it some thought or at least picked up my phone and checked the weather forecast for the day of my return flight. But NOOOO! I parked my car in a sunny parking place only to return to John Glenn International airport on a flight from Chicago and a landing which Santa Claus and his 8 reindeer would have been extremely proud of. So, I finally make it to my parked car to find it covered in ice and snow and, wouldn’t you know it, I forgot to pack my ice scraper. After prying open the door and starting the car I looked down to a dashboard warning… ICE POSSIBLE… USE CAUTION! Ya think? I had to laugh… it was funny. Just me in a lone parking lot during a snowstorm chiseling my way through an outer coating of nature’s finest ice and snow, and laughing out loud. Crying wasn’t an option… my face would freeze!
Ice storms, snow storms… storms of life, we all face them. It’s what you do while you’re in the storm that matters most. You read a passage of scripture describing how God can help you in the storms of life and you feel blessed and confident, yet when you live it from the deck of a boat that’s storm tossed… it’s a little different story! Luke records this story… “Now it came to pass on a certain day, that he went into a ship with his disciples: and he said unto them, Let us go over unto the other side of the lake. And they launched forth. But as they sailed he fell asleep: and there came down a storm of wind on the lake; and they were filled with water, and were in jeopardy. And they came to him, and awoke him, saying, Master, master, we perish. Then he arose, and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water: and they ceased, and there was a calm. And he said unto them, Where is your faith? And they being afraid wondered, saying one to another, What manner of man is this! for he commandeth even the winds and water, and they obey him.” There are four quick observations that jump quickly out at me when I hear that story.
First, just because you are doing what Jesus told you to do doesn’t mean you won’t face storms! Think of that—Jesus told them to get into the boat and cast off, yet before long they were smack in the middle of a storm. Storms come and go, Jesus is still in control! Secondly, sometimes even in the storm, we can feel like God is asleep! Did you catch that in the midst of the storm Jesus slipped to one corner of the ship and dozed off? How can that be? Let me assure you, though storms rage, God is still in control! Observation number three, when the storms rage and it seems God is asleep, the best thing you can do is to stay in the boat! Please know that when storms come, and they will, with Jesus is the safest place to be! Often in adversity we want God to do a removing job when He wants to do an improving job. To realize the worth of the anchor, we need to feel the storm!
Lastly, the good news is, Jesus is still over any storm I may be under! He just spoke, and the storm settled down. It’s still true today, when He speaks to the situations of our lives, that’s when true peace comes!
From scraping windshields in the freezing cold to dealing with the everyday challenges life brings. Many times looking back we find ourselves realizing all the wisdom and life experience we glean from the journey. A small girl had been promised the privilege of climbing to a nearby hilltop where her brother enjoyed playing. But when she came within sight of the steep, rough path, she drew back in dismay. “Why, there isn’t a smooth spot anywhere. It’s all bumpy and stony!” she exclaimed. “Yes,” said her more experienced older brother, “but how else would we ever climb to the top if it wasn’t? The stones and bumps are what we step on to get there.” Someone has aptly written, “God has not promised skies always blue, Flower-strewn pathways all our life through; God has not promised sun without rain, Joy without sorrow, peace without pain. But God has promised strength for the day, Rest for the labor, light for the way; Grace for the trials, help from above, Unfailing sympathy, undying love.” I’ve always loved those lines. I pray that God helps me to focus not on the storms I may find myself in, but focus on His promises that are true and faithful! Let the dashboards sound their warning, I know the one who makes the weather!
Tim Throckmorton is the former Executive Pastor of the Plymouth Heights Church of the Nazarene in Franklin Furnace Ohio and the Portsmouth First Church of the Nazarene in Franklin Furnace, Ohio. He is currently the Senior Pastor at Crossroads Church in Circleville, Ohio.