From time to time, the melody of an old song – “Till the Storm Passes By” – plays itself over and over in my mind and heart:
In the dark of the midnight
Have I oft hid my face,
While the storm howls above me,
And there’s no hiding place.
‘Mid the crash of the thunder,
Precious Lord, hear my cry.
Keep me safe till the storm passes by.
Strains of this melody creep into my mind and rush through my soul during the stormy times of life to remind me, not only of the rolling drumbeat of Nature’s thunderstorms, but of the Life-Storms we face every day as well. The strong arms of Nature toss storms in the form of drenching downpours of rain, flaring blazes of lightning and tormenting thunder, cyclone winds of hurricanes and twisting tornadoes, bitter icy pellets and deep falling snow that rage, wreak havoc, and often destroy whatever is in their paths across the earth and seas.
Some storms appear unexpectedly, as was the case when Jesus and his disciples who, upon leaving crowds of people behind on shore as evening approached, climbed into a boat and started for the other side of the water. Mark 4:37-38 tells us “A great storm of wind arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already filling.” Mark goes on to say that, in the midst of the storm, as Jesus was calmly sleeping in the back of the boat, the frantic disciples shook him, woke him up, and cried, “Teacher, do you not care if we perish?”
How could Jesus be calmly sleeping in the midst of such a storm, when his followers were so frightened? In genuine humanness and faith, the man Jesus, having grown physically tired and needing rest, knew that God was with Him and watching over Him. In this knowledge, Jesus placed Himself in God’s hands, closed his eyes, went to sleep, and trusted His Heavenly Father to see Him through whatever storm might come.
Like some of the storms of Nature, Life’s storms converge upon us unexpectedly. A close friend suddenly dies, someone we love is diagnosed with prostate cancer, a spouse is hospitalized with an unknown viral infection, and a brother-in-law undergoes quadruple by-pass surgery – and the storms keep coming. Turbulent waves upon waves hit the shores of our lives, as we experience accidents, catastrophes, and unemployment, lost retirement savings, disappointments, loneliness, personal problems, hardships, and life-threatening illnesses.
How do we cope, deal with, and weather the frightening storms that life throws at us? When the tempestuous storms of life come crashing down all around us, what do we do to fight off the blustery winds and the squalling waves of adversity? Do we, like the disciples, turn to Jesus and pray, “Lord, save me. I’m perishing.”? Mark 4:39 tells us that Jesus “. . . rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.”
Just as Jesus was present with the apostles in the tossing boat on stormy waters, He abides with us through whatever storms life throws at us. He hears our pleas and, never abandoning us to struggle alone, He is always there. Psalm 50:1 beckons us to “. . .call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.” How then, can we not rely on Him to deliver us from Life’s storms? If He controlled the wild winds and the angry waves for the disciples at sea, He also controls the hurricanes and tornadoes of daily living that hit out lives.
In the midst of Life’s storms, God shapes, molds, and equips us for His service. If, in those storm, we sink the roots of our faith deep into Jesus – who “can turn the tide and calm the angry sea” – we become one with Him, His Truth, and His Word. Our hearts can sing with the songwriter:
Till the storm passes over,
Till the thunder sounds no more,
Till the clouds roll forever from the sky;
Hold me fast, let me stand
In the hollow of Thy hand,
Keep me safe till the storm passes by.
With our hand placed securely in His hand, we are able to stand, calm and secure, when everything else is tossing and churning around us, until the storm passes by.
[Laura’s Note: Songs quoted in this piece are: “Till the Storm Passes By”, Words and Music by Mosie Lister, Copyright 1958, and “He”, Words by Richard Mullen, and Music by Jack Richards.]
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