The Upper Room Devotion for Monday, July 24, 2023, was written by Anthony Sims of Texas.
22 One day he got into a boat with his disciples, and he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side of the lake.” So they put out, 23 and while they were sailing he fell asleep. A windstorm swept down on the lake, and the boat was filling with water, and they were in danger. 24 They went to him and woke him up, shouting, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” And he woke up and rebuked the wind and the raging waves; they ceased, and there was a calm. 25 He said to them, “Where is your faith?” They were afraid and amazed, and said to one another, “Who then is this, that he commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him?”
Luke 8:22-25 NRSV
Growing up in the southwestern United States, we knew that we would have to deal with severe weather from time to time. It could be in the form of drought or a fierce thunderstorm. Sometimes the storms would produce a tornado. One minute you could be standing in the middle of a clear and sunny day, then all of a sudden, a dangerous storm would appear.
Something similar happened one day when Jesus and his disciples were in a boat on a calm day crossing over to the other side of a lake. A terrible storm arose, so fierce that everyone feared for their lives. While all of this was happening, Jesus was asleep. The others called to him to wake up. They believed that Jesus would be able to do something to help them. Jesus heard their cry, got up, spoke to the storm, and the winds and raging waves became still.
Jesus always anticipated the needs of those who needed his help. And Jesus did in fact have the power to calm that storm. Jesus wants us to know that no matter what storms arise in our lives, if we trust him and do not lose faith, he will bring us calm and peace - even in the middle of the storm.
Charles Albert Tindley penned the words to the hymn "Stand By Me." The opening verse of the hymn states:
"When the storms of life are raging, stand by me. When the storms of life are raging, stand by me. When the world is tossing me, like a ship upon the sea, thou who rulest wind and water, stand by me."
Today's scripture reading from Luke's gospel recounts the story of Jesus calming the wind and the waves of a violent storm that arose upon the sea. Tindley's hymn and Anthony's reflection, remind us that we will find ourselves buffeted by the winds and waves of life's storms. Yet, both Tindley and Anthony remind us to turn to Jesus for peace amidst our storms and assurance when billows of doubt arise. We all will face storms, as people faith, we must remember not to panic when the storms arise, but instead to remember who is in the boat with us.
Almighty God, when the storms of life are raging in our lives, stand by us. We know that you have the power to bring calm and safety. In the name of Jesus, we pray. Amen.