It was a beautiful morning in Texas, a noon flight and the morning was mine… carefully scripted to accomplish much in a short period of time. No room for errors or deviation from the schedule. Before breakfast, I headed out on my walk, a brisk two-mile jaunt around the area surrounding my hotel in North Dallas. Great I-tunes music, the crisp morning air, and…water? Lots and lots of water! I tell you I never saw it coming.
Walking briskly down the street next to the Baylor Medical Pavillion, it happened so unbelievably fast, I was stunned… and wet! One minute dry Texas air, the next cold Texas water. An entire field to my left erupted in a clear sparkling cascade of H20 so magnificently fast I only had time to shield my phone and run! To the delight of a number of medical students and a paramedic or two. That’s just like life, isn’t it? One moment you’re dry and composed, the next soaking wet and embarrassed. One minute your plans are in place, the next you’re asking the lady at the front desk where the clothes dryer is located!
I am reminded of an episode in the life of Jesus and his followers… “On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side.” Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!”
Notice with me what jumps out at us as we unpack this brief yet memorable moment with Jesus. First we see that even though they were doing exactly what Jesus told them to do, they still encountered a storm. There is the line of thinking that espouses the perspective that if you are a believer in Christ you will never face a storm in your life… not so. Also, notice that even the disciples experienced a period of time when they thought God was asleep and didn’t care when they needed him the most. “And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” If you have ever felt that way, know that the first Christ followers experienced the same thing! Lastly and perhaps most important, notice that even in the storm, Jesus is right there beside them! Just as he promised, Jesus said he would never to leave our side. Storms will come and storms will go; I suppose the greatest lesson to be learned from this encounter with Jesus is to STAY IN THE BOAT!
Clear crisp September mornings will for the rest of my life remind me of just how fast everything in our world can change. Each of you reading this will remember that beautiful fall day in 2001 and now 20 years later it all comes back crystal clear. When people talk about it… September the 11th, It was the most beautiful day of the year.” It was. Clear stunning cloudless skies, warm but not hot, a breeze. It was beautiful. That was one of the heartbreaking elements.
In New York City, it was so clear that everyone in town and Jersey and the outer boroughs—everyone could see the huge, thick plumes and clouds of black and gray smoke. Everyone could see what happened. And when it began, everyone was doing something innocent. It was morning in New York in the fall and workers were getting coffee and parents were taking their children to school. Those of us who were not in the World Trade Center or the Pentagon or nearby, those of us who were not among the terrified victims on the planes, those were not heroic firemen and tough cops are only able to allow ourselves to imagine their experiences which we will remember next week.
Jesus was with us then and is still close to us today as we navigate through challenging days. We’ve got to stay in the boat, because that’s where Jesus is! Helen Howarth Lemmel wrote, “O soul, are you weary and troubled? No light in the darkness you see? There’s light for a look at the Savior, And life more abundant and free. Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.” Wet or dry, plans or no plans, we find here great advice for life: stay close to Jesus!
This writer’s opinion is their own and not the opinion of this newspaper
Tim Throckmorton is the Midwest Director of Ministry for the Family Research Council. He can be reached at 740-935-1406