Tuesday, April 4, 2017
Reflections: Safety in the storm
This was written by Conner Hall, chaplain resident in pediatrics, and delivered as a meditation in the Niswonger Children’s Hospital chapel for patients, families and team members.
Do you like the sound of thunder? Do you like watching it rain cats and dogs? Do you enjoy watching the wind cause trees to sway back and forth? Storms can be fun to watch. But what about if you are outside with no shelter? Do you still like them? I for one do not like getting caught out in the rain, especially when the wind is howling. What’s even worse is getting caught out in the open with lightning coming out of the clouds. It is a bit terrifying and it ruins whatever fun we might be having. We have to run into our homes to be safe and dry. Storms can be very scary, but with the right shelter we can be rest assured that things will be fine.
This story from the New Testament in the book of Matthew tells of the panic felt if out on the water during a storm.
Matthew 8:23-27 - 23 Jesus’ disciples went with him as he left in a boat. 24 Suddenly, a severe storm came across the sea. The waves were covering the boat. Yet, Jesus was sleeping. 25 So they woke him up, saying, “Lord! Save us! We’re going to die!” 26 Jesus said to them, “Why do you cowards have so little faith?” Then he got up, gave an order to the wind and the sea, and the sea became very calm. 27 The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the wind and the sea obey him!”
This story tells us that God has power over the storms. Jesus stopped the storms by just saying a few words. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could do that, too? Imagine we’re having fun flying a kite in an open field and a lightning storm rolls upon us. This would be scary. It would be great to be able to tell the lightning storm to stop, wouldn’t it? Just to tell it not to rain and not produce lightning. It would keep us safe. But alas, we do not have that power. However, God does have that power as seen in the above Bible passage. God provides us with the shelter we need.
How about the storms of your life? Not the outside weather storms, but the things that are disrupting your life? Relationship strife, occupation unknowns, finances, hospitalizations – they can cause us to have a hopeless feeling like that of the disciples on the ship. The storm would inevitably capsize their ship. These stresses upon us could inevitably cause us to crumble. These stresses could all fall on our shoulders and make it hard to get on with life.
You know, it’s okay if we have all those stressful feelings. Just like God commanded the seas in order to save the ship, God can also provide us with reprieve. “Come to me, all who are tired from carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest. Place my yoke over your shoulders, and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble. Then you will find rest for yourselves because my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-29). God loves us and does not desire for us to suffer. God does not desire for us to live in fear. We can remember this.
We can also remember that many times a bad situation can bring about something good. God can protect us and then God can bring about good in all aspects of our lives, even in the toughest times. When the storms of life come upon us and we are in the open we can be sad and run for shelter… or we can place a kite up in the sky and let the wind turn something unpleasant into something beautiful and fun.
Reflections are a service of the Mountain States Center for Spiritual Health, with the Rev. Debbie Shields as editor. Click here to learn more.