I started writing this post a few weeks ago and as I sit down to complete it I am fighting the urge to dress it up, make it less heavy, but you know what? That isn't real life. There are so many inspirational quotes and stories on courage that, believe me, I love, but the reality is that courage often comes from the broken moments. The moments no one sees, the floor-of-the-closet moments like the one I spoke about in my last blog post. It's the moments that you don't want to do life, where stepping forward is painful, where fear taunts you...that's where courage is found. It is found in the storm. It may not be pretty in the midst of it, but I want to lead with the truth that it is a beautiful story that you are meant to tell. When you are on the other side and willing to share your journey, be transparent, lift someone else's chin who can't lift their head on their own, that is where your courage becomes a lived out truth.
I can't help, but take us to the well-known story where Jesus calms the storm. Mark 4:35-41 sets the scene for us, "That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, "Let us go over to the other side. Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 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 sill have no faith" They were terrified and asked each other, "Who is this? Even the wind and the waves ovey him."
Defenition of a squall: a sudden violent gust of wind or a localized storm, especially one bringing rain, snow or sleet.
Picturing what it must have been like, for the disciples to be in that boat that evening really brings this scene to life for me. I grew up visiting my birthstate, beautiful Montana and spent many summer days on the Flathead Lake. The Flathead Lake is as vast as the eye can see. I can't help, but picture what it must have been like to be in the middle of a lake, in the evening hours, when a storm like that came over. As gorgeous as the lake was we were always watchful of the weather because it could go from blissful to downright terrifying in a matter of minutes. There are a few things that stand out to me in this portion of scripture:
1) Jesus, in His all knowing, perfect way, slept during the storm. He wasn't ignoring the needs of His disciples. He was in perfect peace because He knew the outcome. How many times do we react to our circumstances? They seem dire, frightening, like we are literally going to drown. But, the truth is that God can see the end result. His plan for us doesn't waiver, nothing takes Him by surprise. Amen to that.
2) The disciples had asked Jesus to help them. When they petitioned, Jesus heard them, stood and calmed the waves. Now, let's camp on this for a minute, imagine if the deciples had not woke Him up? What if they had continued to panic, attempting to fix the problem on their own? It took courage and a whole lot of faith to cry out to Jesus. I also want to address something, sometimes when we cry out in bold, courageous, faith; the storm isn't calmed right away. Trust His perfect plan, continue to petition. Psalms 145:18 says, "The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth."
3) Jesus says in verse 40 "Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?" Remember,
the disciples had laid down everything that they knew to follow Jesus. What tremendous faith that must have taken. They stood beside him and watched Him teach and perform many miracles up to this point. Yet, when the storm came, they had immence fear. Man this just hit me. Fear is the absence of faith. There have been so many times God has performed miracles in my life, yet in the storm it's hard to remember them. Have you ever found that to be true? I define miracles as words spoken to me through scripture, people, signs and also moments of provision and deliverance. I think sometimes we get stuck on the word miracle and forget that small whispers from the Holy Spirit are miracles in themselves. One thing that has helped me is keeping a miracle wall. I actually keep it in my closet (aka my battle room). When I am given a verse, a word, anything, I write it on a post-it and stick it on the wall.
Another idea for tracking is a miracle journal where you physically log what God has said and done for you and your family over the years. It's a beautiful testimant and something that can be passed down for generations. It will also be a resource for you, when your faith is shaken to remember He is faithful.
Just like the disciples, at times, I find myself questioning, crying out for help, fearful of the future, but the reality is He hears us, His plan is perfect, He promises to hear those who call on His name. We have the one who can calm the storm with a single breath standing beside us. Waiting for our faith call.
1 Peter 5:7