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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Today’s Scripture Reading | Matthew 8:18–27

Now when Jesus saw great crowds around him, he gave orders to go over to the other side. A scribe then approached and said, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” Another of his disciples said to him, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” But Jesus said to him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”

And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. A windstorm arose on the sea, so great that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. And they went and woke him up, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!” And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, you of little faith?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a dead calm. They were amazed, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him?” (NRSV)

When I was little, growing up in Missouri, I was terrified of storms. The spring and summer months were filled with powerful thunderstorms that would develop very quickly and often spawn tornadoes. If the sky began to look even the slightest bit green, I was grabbing my cat, the weather radio, and heading to the basement, filled with fear.

I can only imagine what the disciples were feeling when the storm hit. There they were in a small, modest boat with no high-tech equipment, caught in a storm that most likely came with little to no warning. We know how dangerous the waves and undercurrents can be on Lake Michigan during storms: it’s something we steer clear of if at all possible.

By now the disciples had witnessed a number of miracles that Jesus had performed, but this gave them little comfort during the violent storm. They were experienced sailors and knew what danger they were in. Their fear was strong and overwhelming. And then Jesus says to them, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?”

We all have storms in our lives. It feels like the world is crashing down on us, much like the huge, violent waves in a severe storm. We are filled with fear and despair. It can feel like God isn’t there with us and can’t help us. That is just the time when we need to turn to our faith and reach out to God. God is with us through thick and thin and will calm our storms, just like Jesus calmed the storm that night on the boat.

Loving God, I am so grateful for your presence during the stormy times in life. Help me to always reach out to you during those times, especially when my fear is overwhelming. Amen.

Written by Briana Belding-Peck, Family Ministry Coordinator

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