October 25, 2012 I found myself traveling to Fort Lauderdale Florida on business. As the day progressed the weather became the leading news story of the day. Tropical storm Sandy was coming to shore, which meant that my plane had to land in great turbulence and that travel by automobile was treacherous at best. With winds gusting to seventy miles per hour I managed to take care of my personal business and begin the journey home.
What should have been a two day trip turned into a five day experience with several unexpected twists and turns. In the midst of the storm I found myself having to reroute my journey and call out to the Lord for protection and direction.
Like many of you, I have spent hours glued to the television screen observing the devastating destruction and wondering how much longer will this last, how much worse will it become, will the storm effect me and from whom will help come?
There is a more fundamental question that is surfacing; not on the newscasts, but in the hearts of victims and viewers. "Where is God in this storm?"
The disciples of Jesus asked an identical question. "Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side.He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now, when evening came, He was alone there. But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary." (Mt. 14:22-24)
What we saw off America's eastern coast, was a storm like no other, but we can relate the people in the storm to that which the disciples saw on the Galilean Sea.
They were challenged by enormously tall, angry waves. Their fishing boat bounced and spun on the white-tops. The sky rumbled above them, the water churned beneath them. And I wonder if they asked, "Where is Jesus? He told us to get into the boat. Now we are alone in the storm. I wonder if they asked but where is Jesus? The answer is praying. "He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray." Jesus made intercession His priority. Did He know about the storm? Could He feel the winds? And see the thunder? No doubt. When He sensed the danger, He chose to pray.
He still does. He offers unending intercession on our behalf. He is "in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us." (Rom. 8:34) He prays us through the storm. And, at the right moment, He meets us in the storm. "Jesus went to them, walking on the sea." (Mt. 14:25) He entered the turbulent world of His disciples and reached out to them.
He is doing the same at this very moment. He wants us to get to the other side. He comes to us walking on the water. You ask how? He supernaturally arrives right on time. It may be through the steady hands of a first responder; the compassion of physicians; perhaps the kindness of neighbors, or the generosity of people. He comes to us right where we are in the midst of a storm. We see only a small portion of His activity. But we know this: He still steps into the super-storms of life.
Yes the storm led in a different direction than I had planned, but He guided my steps and brought me safely home. I experienced others struggling to get through their own storm. Whether it is an unexpected death of a loved one; the doctor's diagnoses bringing devastating news; a marriage is being shattered. You find your back against the wall and there is nowhere to turn. Whatever your storm, He will come to you in the midst of it and speak, "Peace be still!" He works all things for good to those who love Him and are called by His name. He is an ever present help in the time of trouble and He will never leave us nor forsake us.
This is a turbulent time for our country. We have a struggling economy; International conflicts surround us; an unprecedented storm was followed by an insane school shooting. Jesus met the disciples in the midst of their storm. Let's ask Him to walk into the middle of ours. AMEN
("From the Pulpit" is a weekly sermon provided by the clergy members of The Weirton Ministerial Association)