This year, the pending holiday season found me feeling out of sorts. Black Friday turned into Black Thanksgiving Day, a sure sign we are losing our balance. Then came a raft of bad news, sad news, and outright horrific news that made this December feel bleak and ugly.
The economy is performing worse than was reported in the runup to the election. The president seems determined to run us over the fiscal cliff. Then reports came in from Newtown that broke our hearts.
In these weeks before Christmas, I kept asking myself how exactly can we honor what is the great mystery of the birth of Christ?
This is how I felt last weekend as I was shuttling kids to basketball practice, birthday parties, and other assorted activities. This cloud followed me as I ran my own errands shopping for a Christmas gift or two. It was a stone in my shoe I could not get rid of, which is a sure sign the Father is trying to get something through the distracting din of life.
Scanning the radio, I stopped on a Christian station. The preacher was explaining the story about the storm on the Sea of Galilee and the reaction of the men at that time. The preacher painted a vivid picture of making a living on the sea in that day. It was perilous, and storms were fierce and destructive. He explained how seasoned fishermen feared these storms. The preacher then brought to the listener the application.
The preacher said, “The storms will be all around us. Our problems will seem beyond solving. But God can settle it all down. We will want to panic – or at least we will feel panic – just like the guys in that boat on the Sea of Galilee.”
Indeed. I am not panicked, but I can see panic on the horizon. I can feel the drop in temperature as the wind of fear begins to pick up. The preacher continued his thought.
“But we need to have faith.” he said plainly.
That night, I read the verses in Mark (4:35-41) to the kids and talked about storms and boating. Our four children are under 8 years old. They somehow believe I know EVERYTHING, including all there is to know about seamanship and meteorology! Oh the questions they asked!
The question I asked myself is this – “Why am I afraid, do I not have faith?”
This man had the power to silence the wind and the waves. This man slept soundly in the storm, at peace knowing the Father had His loving hand on him. This man when roused from slumber rose up, calmed the storm and challenged his disciples to believe in His sovereign power and provision. The Christ was not indifferent to the storm, he was setting the example of knowing peace in the midst of the storm.
Our world is always at a critical moment. 2000 years ago was critical. So is today, and so will be tomorrow. We need to trust that the abyss of fear is not for the faithful. The storms have no power over the life we have been given by the Holy Master of the Sea.
The sweet baby boy heralded by angels, worshipped by wise men and shepherd alike, is the same man who broke the power of the storm, the man who destroyed utterly the eternal power of sin. We are offered peace in abundance. May you have His gift of peace on earth within your heart.
All the best.
Ed Martin is a close friend. I am delighted to have him as a guest blogger.