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iBelieve: When I am in Despair


Have you ever been in a bad storm? When I was a kid, I can remember one particular night, huddled with my family around our console television trying to get weather information about the storm that raged outside. This, of course, antedated things like cable TV or doppler radar. As we watched the flickering images on the screen, my dad rose from his chair and said, “There’s a tornado!” I quickly looked out the window, wondering how he could know that since it was pitch black. Suddenly the house began to quiver and I could hear the roar of the twister. “Head to the basement,” was an unnecessary command as my family moved downstairs to the southwest corner as quickly as possible. The house trembled, the lights went out, then it was over. The power quickly came back on and we went upstairs to survey possible damage to our house.

The fifth miracle recorded in the Gospel of John tells the story of a storm that swept over the disciples on the Sea of Galilee. The story begins in verse 16, where the Bible says, “That evening Jesus’ disciples went down to the shore to wait for him. But as darkness fell and Jesus still hadn’t come back, they got into the boat and headed across the lake toward Capernaum. Soon a gale swept down upon them, and the sea grew very rough.”

The New Testament talks a lot about “storms,” which serve as a good analogy for the struggles we experience in life. In the verses above, the Bible reports that it was dark which would have made it hard to see. The wind was strong, producing all kinds of external pressure on the disciples who were huddled together in that small wooden vessel. The rough waters would have made it difficult to stand or find balance, and I’m sure even these experienced fishermen felt more than a twinge of anxiety as the water lapped over the sides of the boat. The next verse also shares that they had rowed three or four miles. I think that effort would have felt futile as they wondered if they were simple going in circles.

You may be in a storm at sea, but you can identify with the despair that the disciples felt in our story. Your storm may take place every week when you sit down with your check book and your bills and try to make ends meet. It could be that your rough waters are relational, as you hope that your marriage commitment is strong enough to withstand challenging times. Perhaps your strong turbulence is related to your job, as you anxiously open your Outlook fearing news of lay offs.

We understand storms, and we understand despair. What did Jesus do for the disciples in the midst of their storm? What can we learn from this storm story that we can apply to our lives? Tomorrow I’ll post the rest of the story.

Categories : Belief, iBelieve, Jesus, John

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