Our Storm as His path to Us by Max Lucado
The passages below are taken from Max Lucado’s book “In the Eye of the Storm,” published in 1991.
SUPPOSE ONE OF JESUS’ DISCIPLES kept a journal. And suppose that disciple made an entry in the journal on the morning after the storm. And suppose we discovered that journal. Here is how it would read . . . I suppose.
Only minutes before, chaos had erupted.
Oh, how the storm roared. Stars were hidden by a black ceiling. Clouds billowed like smoke. Bolts of lightning were the conductor’s baton that cued the kettledrums of thunder to rumble.
And rumble they did. The clouds seemed to rise as a bear on hind legs and growl. The booms shook everything: the heavens, the earth, and—–most of all—–the sea. It was as if the Sea of Galilee were a bowl in the hands of a dancing giant. From the bowels of the lake the waves came, turning the glassy surface into a mountain range of snow- topped waves. Five, ten, even fifteen feet into the air they mounted, rising and falling like swallows chasing mosquitoes.
In the midst of the sea, our boat bounced. The waves slapped it as easily as children would a ball. Our straining at the oars scarcely budged it. We were at the storm’s mercy. The waves lifted us up so high that we felt like we were in midair. Then down into the valley we plunged.
We were a twig in a whirlpool . . . a leaf in the wind. We were helpless.
That’s when the light appeared. At first I thought it was a reflection of the moon, a gleam on the surface of the water. But the night held no moon. I looked again. The light was moving toward us, not over the waves but through them. I wasn’t the only one who saw it.
“A ghost,” someone screamed. Fear of the sea was eclipsed by a new terror. Thoughts raced as the specter drew near. Was it a figment of our imagination? Was it a vision? Who? How? What was this mystical light that appeared so…?
A flash of lightning illuminated the sky. For a second I could see its face . . . his face. A second was all I needed.
It was the Master!
“Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” (Matthew 14:27)
Nothing had changed. The storm still raged. The wind still shrieked. The boat still pitched. The thunder still boomed. The rain still slapped. But in the midst of the tumult, I could hear his voice. Although he was still far away, it was like he was by my side. The night was ferocious, yet he spoke as though the sea were placid and the sky silent.
And, somehow, courage came.
“Lord, if it’s you, . . . tell me to come to you on the water” (Matthew 14:28)
The voice was Peter’s. He wasn’t being cocky. He wasn’t demanding proof. He was scared. Like me, he knew what this storm could do. He knew that the boat would soon go down. He knew that Jesus was standing up. And he knew where he wanted to be . . . where we all wanted to be.
“Come on,” Jesus invited.
So Peter climbed over the side and stepped onto the sea. Before him opened a trail through a forest of waves. He stepped quickly. Water splashed. But he kept going. This path to Jesus was a ribbon of calm. It was peaceful. Serene.
Jesus radiated light at the end of the trail. Smiling.
Peter stepped toward the light like it was his only hope. He was halfway there when we all heard the thunder. It boomed, and he stopped. I saw his head turn. He looked up at the sky. He looked up at the clouds. He felt the wind. And down he went.
Boy did he yell!
A hand came through the water sheets and grabbed Peter. Lightning flashed again, and I could see the face of Jesus. I noticed that his smile was gone. Hurt covered his face. It was like he couldn’t believe that we couldn’t believe. Danger to us was just a detour to him. I wanted to ask him, “Aren’t you afraid, Jesus? Aren’t you afraid?”
But I said nothing. Before I knew it, he was in the boat with us.
The sea stilled as silk.
The winds hushed.
A canyon opened in the clouds; soft moonlight fell over the water.
It happened instantaneously. It didn’t take the rest of the night. It didn’t take an hour. It didn’t take a minute. It happened in a blink.
From chaos to calm. From panic to peace. The sky was so suddenly silent that I could hear my heart pounding. I thought I was dreaming. Then I saw the wide eyes of the others and felt my clothing soaked against my skin. This was no dream. I looked at the water. I looked at Peter. I looked at the others. And then I looked at him.
And I did the only thing I could have done. With the stars as my candles and the stilled boat as my altar, I fell at his feet and worshiped.
There are times in a person’s life when, even in the midst of them, you know you’ll never be the same. Moments that forever serve as journey posts. This was one.
I had never seen Jesus as I saw him then. I had seen him as powerful. I had seen him as wise. I had witnessed his authority and marveled at his abilities. But what I witnessed last night, I know I’ll never forget.
I saw God. The God who can’t sit still when the storm is too strong. The God who lets me get frightened enough to need him and then comes close enough for me to see him. The God who uses my storms as his path to come to me.
I saw God. It took a storm for me to see him. But I saw him. And I’ll never be the same.
THEY’D DO IT AGAIN. I’m confident they would. The disciples would get into the same boat and ride through the same storm. They’d do it again in a heartbeat. Why?
Because through the storm they saw the Savior.
Read this verse: “Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, ‘Truly you are the Son of God.” (Matthew 14:33)
After the storm, they worshiped him. They had never, as a group, done that before. Never. Check it out. Open your Bible. Search for a time when the disciples corporately praised him.
You won’t find it.
You won’t find them worshiping when he heals the leper. Forgives the adulteress. Preaches to the masses. They were willing to follow. Willing to leave family. Willing to cast out demons. Willing to be in the army.
But only after the incident on the sea did they worship him. Why?
Simple. This time, they were the ones who were saved. This time, their necks were removed from the noose. Their bodies were plucked from the deep. One minute, they were dangling over the edge of the abyss, staring into the throat of the slack-jawed canyon. The next, they were bottom plopped and wide-eyed on the deck of a still boat on a placid sea.
So they worshiped. They did the only thing that they could do when their death sentence was stayed at the eleventh hour: They looked to the Eternal Governor who gave the pardon and thanked him.
When you recognize God as Creator, you will admire him. When you recognize his wisdom, you will learn from him. When you discover his strength, you will rely on him. But only when he saves you will you worship him.
It’s a “before and after” scenario. Before your rescue, you could easily keep God at a distance. Comfortably dismissed. Neatly shelved. Sure he was important, but so was your career. Your status. Your salary. He was high on your priority list, but he shared the spot with others.
Then came the storm . . . the rage . . . the fight . . . the ripped moorings . . . the starless night. Despair fell like a fog; your bearings were gone. In your heart, you knew there was no exit.
Turn to your career for help? Only if you want to hide from the storm . . . not escape it. Lean on your status for strength? A storm isn’t impressed with your title. Rely on your salary for rescue? Many try. . . many fail.
Suddenly you are left with one option: God.
And when you ask. . . . genuinely ask. . . he will come.
And from that moment on, he is not just a deity to admire, a teacher to observe, or a master to obey He is the Savior. The Savior to be worshiped.
That’s why I’m convinced that the disciples would do it again. They’d endure the storm another night . . . a thousand other nights . . . if that’s what it took.
A season of suffering is a small price to pay for a clear view of God. (179-187)