These are turbulent times. It seems no matter where we turn our attention, there are portents of woe all around us.
It is as if we are stuck in the middle of a tempest, the sea raging around us, the winds threatening to capsize our boat. All there is between us and the raging sea is some wood and tar we pray will last the night.
Our immediate future seems bleak, and the hopelessness of it all appears to have no end in sight. Christians should feel most familiar in this dreadful water. We are not foreigners to suffering and are called to “consider it a great joy” (James 1:2 CSB) when we go through the many trials and tumults of life.
The Apostle Paul, like James, speaks to our need to “rejoice in our afflictions” (Romans 5:3), because the Lord can use even the worst of events to bring us into closer fellowship with him.
Our ability and our necessity to weather storms is paramount. We take on the tempest because doing so reminds us we have but one hope, “a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 2:3).
We often need to be reminded of our one hope in Christ. We put a man on the moon, we have pierced the depths of the sea, and we continue to press forward in all manner of science. As technologically advanced as we seem to be, we are reminded by the coronavirus—an enemy we cannot see—our lives are but a mist.
We don’t want to learn the lesson to be found here, because it reminds us of our inferiority. Humanity, on its own, cannot hope to heal the broken human heart. We cannot hope to apply the healing balm to the wounds of our national conscience. We cannot hope, in ourselves alone, to curb the tide of the spread of the coronavirus.
Despite the power of such things, they ultimately are as powerless as we are before our omnipotent God.
Jesus’ power over the storms
All the difficulties of today remind me of the disciples as they traveled in a boat on a raging sea. As the waves “were breaking over the boat” (Mark 4:37), the disciples were concerned for their very lives. They woke Jesus, who “was in the stern, sleeping on the cushion” (4:38).
Jesus, awoken by his panicked disciples, demonstrated his true authority and power in rebuking nature itself, proclaiming: “Silence! Be still!” (4:39).
It may be strange to us that these men responded, not with relief, but gripped by greater terror (4:41). These men witnessed the very hand of God upon nature itself. In desperation, they went to the Lord and, in awe, watched him work in a way they were unprepared for.
It is my daily hope that we prepare ourselves for the same. Until then, may we be content knowing we can go to the Lord in our panic and with our fear. For we know he is listening, and he will act “according to the pleasure of his will” (Ephesians 1:5). It is not a matter of if, but when the Lord will act.
Nathan Feinberg is the pastor of Naruna Baptist Church in Lampasas, Texas. The views expressed are those solely of the author.