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February 23: He Still Calms the Storms

Today's devotional is shared by Ann Schwarm. It is delightful that she is sharing from a place of experience. I have also been to the Holy Land and pray that there is a time that I can lead a trip there. But this is also a reminder to pray for Israel and Palestine. The three photos below are from Ann's trip to the Holy Land. I believe the furthest picture to the right shows why storms pop up in the Sea of Galilee. Toward the right of the picture is the Valley of the Drafts. It is just as the name suggests, a wind tunnel that focuses its weather across the sea.





Scripture:  Mark 4:21-41

He Still Calms the Storms

Today’s scripture reading “covers a lot of ground” and a few terrifying moments at sea.  Three parables – the Parable of the Lamp, the Parable of the Growing Seed and the Parable of the Mustard Seed – you will find in verses 21-34.  For today’s devotion we look at storms, both literal and figurative, in verses 35-41.


As Rand and Patti Craycroft and Gene and I contemplated our Spring 2018 trip to the Holy Land with Pastor Terry Westerfield, we were excited to walk in the footsteps of Jesus which included boarding “the Jesus Boat” and sailing across the Sea of Galilee, just as our Lord and his disciples did in this passage.  The warning that it might not be possible started with Pastor Terry in our pre-sessions and concluded on the morning of the scheduled trip with our guide.  The Sea of Galilee is known for violent and unexpected storms.  No promise of sailing across to the other side would be made to us pilgrims.  Safety first.  Fortunately, weather permitted and we were able to make this most memorable trip.


Warnings were certainly appropriate.  We were novices, no sailors among us.  The disciples?  Not the case.  Many were seasoned fishermen who had spent their lives on or at least near this huge lake that was the Sea of Galilee.  They could have been expected to know the potential risk of a storm.  However, during the squall, they panicked.


Storms?!?!  Some are predicted and predictable.  Others?  They catch us by surprise.

I see myself in the disciples’ reactions.  How often can I see the possibility of a storm in my own life and yet choose to ignore it?  How often does a storm catch me unaware and I think “don’t you care?” as I plead with Jesus to intervene.  How often do I underestimate Jesus power to make something good come from something I see as bad?


Not long after we returned from Israel, Gene and I experienced both a literal and figurative storm—the tornado on 4/4/2018 which destroyed our house.  I look on that day, and the weeks and months that followed, with thanksgiving.  We were showered with blessings.  While the wind swept away parts of our house, the Lord sent a crew of believers—our church family and others—to hold us up.  They came day after day and helped us, both literally and figuratively, pick up the pieces.  Each day Jesus showed me that He did care.  With each storm I experience, God is building in me trust and understanding that he is sailing right there beside me, helping me to call upon Him, if not at first, at least before the panic sets in.  I have learned and continue to learn that most, if not all, storms are followed by rainbows.


Questions:

  1.  Think of a recent “storm” in your life.  What was your reaction?

  2. What will you do the next time you experience something similar which has the potential to cause you doubt, fear, worry, panic?

  3. How can you use these experiences to be a light (verse 21) to show others how believing and trusting in God has given you peace?

  4. How has your faith matured through gradually and continually trusting Him (verse 26)?

Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for always being with us during stormy nights and bright beautiful days.  During this season of Lent, help us be mindful of your constant companionship.  Help us to find the words and the ways to use the storms in our lives to testify to your grace and love.  In your name we pray. Amen


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