Hurricane Matthew is hitting the coast of my state this week. Although this is a physical storm, are there not emotional storms we face in our lifetime? Though they may not cause physical damage like that of a category 5 hurricane, they certainly can tear down walls in our lives and hearts. Wherever you are in your life right now, chances are you have gone through some sort of storm. Whether it be those mid-semester blues, homesickness, the realization that you are failing all your classes, a breakup, the loss of a close friend, anything. Whatever it is, I promise you that you will get through this.
Growing up I always heard the story of how Jesus walked on the water to the boat to meet his cool fishermen friends. I never read through the whole story, so I wanted to hear more about what really went down that night. In Matthew 14:22-36, Mark 6:45-56, and John 6:16-24, the Bible tells us basically that Jesus was chilling with his disciples after healing some people and performing some miracles. Jesus told his disciples to head on out on the boat, he would catch up with them later. He was going to go spend some time praying on some mountain. A little later that night, a storm showed up. Jesus realized his friends were probably having a hard time holding up on their little fishing boat against the heavy winds, so he decided to go help them. But of course he's Jesus, so he didn't just swim out to them or meet them in another boat. Nope, he walked right out to them. Literally walked on the water. Needless to say, his disciples were kind of freaked out. He told them to calm down and then Peter was like wait a second, if you're really Jesus tell me to walk out to you! Peter, you idiot. So Jesus of course said come on out! Then Peter stepped out and started walking on the water just like Jesus, when all of a sudden the storm came on stronger and he couldn't take it anymore. He was afraid he wouldn't make it. He began to sink and asked for help. Jesus reached out to help him up and was like "Dude. Why did you doubt?"
How easy is it to relate to Peter in this situation? Whether or not you read the Bible or believe in God, how often do you find yourself jumping in to something and going all out for it in full confidence just to snap when things start to get tough? The good news is, storms won't last forever. Until the storm passes, however, do not just stay hidden away pretending it isn't happening. Don't bottle up the feelings and feel sorry for yourself because you had a bad day because everyone else had a good day. In the end, it's not what happens to you that defines you, but rather how you respond to these things. A great teacher of mine in high school posted an interesting thought on Facebook a few days ago. The quote read something like "Wake up and say I am not a victim, I am a victor!"
In the middle of this storm, open your eyes to the beauty of the gray skies. Understand that this hard time you are going through will shape you and test you and ultimately better equip you to handle future storms.
Put on your rain boots and jump right into the puddle. Push through the harsh winds and past the clouds. Don't hide underneath an umbrella of fear, but do look for Jesus. He's standing right there beside you in this torrential downpour. Grab a hold of some faith and run through this storm. You'll come out better than before.
Who knows, maybe one day you'll be able to help someone else run through their storm, too.
"And the God of all grace,...after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm, and steadfast." 2 Peter 5:10