A Pastor’s Ponderings: Rising In the Storm

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By Pastor Dave Holland

“A squall came down on the lake so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger… we’re going to drown!” Luke 8:22–25 (NIV)

When life hits you like a storm, you find out who you are. Recently, I had eyelid surgery and sat waiting in the hospital hallway in a wheelchair waiting for my wife to pick me up. Woozy, bleeding and clutching a pain medication prescription, I sat there over an hour feeling like no one in the world cared if I lived or died. Even my cell phone wouldn’t work.
Meanwhile, my wife was frantic with a broken-down car trying to get to the hospital. She finally arrived with the bad news that we had to take the car to the shop. We waited all day for our vehicle’s repairs before driving two hours through the backwoods of Alabama back to Florida. I finally got the pain medication and made it home alive. Anger, frustration, fear and shame rushed through my mind that day, threatening to overwhelm me.

Luke 8: 23-25 relates a similar story. Christ and the disciples were in a boat on the Sea of Galilee when a furious storm threatened to overwhelm them. The disciples were rowing hard against the waves and probably bailing water when finally, they decided to wake their sleeping Savior. Three questions emerge from this passage that can help us overcome the storms that we face.

Whining like mules, the disciples cried out, “Master, Master, we’re sinking. Don’t you care that we’re going to drown?” In other words, “Jesus, don’t you care about us? We’re drowning here. Wake up and pay attention to my needs.” The first question boils down to this—Lord, do you care about what I’m going through?

Most of us have experienced painful periods that seemed would never end. The worst is when we feel that nobody cares—not even God. Jesus responds, but not in the way one would expect. What does he do in the storm? Jesus talks to it. The Master rebukes the storm, wind and waves—He acts in the way only God can.

Immediately the world was calm, and the Lord turns to them and asks the second question from our passage, “Where is your faith?” Their faith had been overwhelmed by fear. The problem with fear is it drains us of our confidence in God. Too often, self-preservation kicks in, and our trust in God vanishes at the time our faith needs to rise and speak to the storm in Christ’s name.

Our destiny unfolds according to our faith. When our lives, health, finances or relationships are threatened, we must turn to Jesus. Christ is still at the helm, and he still speaks “peace” to storms. Ultimately, our victory does not rest on our faith—it rests squarely on Jesus.

The story of the storm-tossed disciples concludes with the third critical question as the disciples asked each other, “Who is this?”

That man sleeping in the boat is the same Jesus who walks on water. He speaks to the deaf, and they hear. He makes mud with his spit and heals the blind. This Savior commands the stormy sea to calm down, the paralyzed man to rise, and the guilty woman to “go and sin no more.” He speaks honestly to the crooked, peacefully to the angry, and comforts the lonely. This man in the boat is the Son of God. Ask Jesus to rise in your boat.

Dave Holland pastored churches for over 38 years before retiring with his wife, Jonie, in Destin. He recently released his new devotional-Bible study based on the Gospel of Luke called “Every Day Jesus: Experience the Jesus Who Ignites Your Soul.” You can get a copy of his book from his website, DaveHolland.org, or by contacting him at davidvholland54@gmail.com. Pastor Dave is available to preach in churches and conferences or to serve as an interim pastor.