Calm the Storm
This week’s Coronavirus storm whipped up fast and unexpectantly throwing each of our lives into a whirlwind of change within days. We face a global pandemic, national and local states of emergency, long lines at international airports, major event cancellations, school closings, online worship services and empty grocery store shelves. Over the week we watched the United States map turn red as more Coronavirus cases were confirmed. There is fear of disease, fear for our loved ones and fear of impending economic impact. The storm has arrived, and leaders say it could get worse before it gets better.
One sunny day, Jesus’ followers were on a boat in the Sea of Galilee and a storm came. I’ve been on the Sea of Galilee with a tour group ready to head out into the beautiful waters. It was a bright morning for our scheduled excursion. Suddenly large dark clouds formed to the west above the horizon. Within minutes the waves of the Sea began to roll and plummet. The darkened sky covered the sun and a strong wind picked up. Our little boat heaved and pitched. Our wise tour guide had the captain turn the boat around and quickly return to shore. He told us, “Now you know what it is like to be on the Sea of Galilee in a storm as Jesus was with the disciples.”
The Galilean storm whipped up fast and unexpectantly for Jesus and the disciples.
Matthew 8:23-24 (NIV)
23 Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. 24 Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat.
The Coronavirus storm is upon us. Some people are overwhelmed with worry and fear. Like the disciples on the boat, people feel anxious, fragile, and afraid. Our ordered world has suddenly come out of joint, and our lives have a tinge of chaos. A contagious, infectious disease is a powerful reminder of our humanity and mortality. The clouds on the horizon are dark and the winds of the storm are all around us.
As a people of faith, we remember that we are not alone in this (or any) storm. Jesus is in this boat with us. Jesus asks his disciples, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” (Matthew 8:26). In Jesus Christ, we have a powerful Savior who rebukes the wind and the waves, brings order out of chaos and calms the storm with these words, “Peace, be still!” (Mark 4:39).
The storm of Coronavirus will continue to swirl in the news, but in the chaos that surrounds us, draw close to Jesus. Invite Jesus to speak to the turmoil in your heart and quiet your soul. “Peace, be still!” Jesus can calm any storm, especially the storm raging inside. Jesus brings the “peace that passes understanding” (Philippians 4:7).
God is our refuge and strength. God is our help in chaos and trouble. God is with us. God is for us. God has not changed. God is the same yesterday, today and forever.
Psalm 46:1-3, 10 (NIV)
God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.
Be still and know that I am God.
Dr. Jan Davis