Strategies for Storm Survival

Years ago, I cruised through Alaska’s inside passage. Majestic tree-lined forests tower far above the cloud level, framing the ocean waters that spread between the shorelines in calm quietness.

Sea Storm
(Photo Courtesy of Pixabay.com)

The inside passage cruise is unique in that there are only a few hours when the ship sails through the open ocean without visible land on both sides. The ship sways a bit more, but for the most part, the inside passage is very serene.

We had been on the open ocean for less than 30 minutes when the captain said we may have some rough waters ahead . . . which was the understatement of the century. Not long after his announcement, 50- to 60-foot waves crashed against our ship. The crew tried to slam the doors shut, but water came pouring in, drenching the passengers.

Suddenly, no one cared how others looked—we were just trying to survive.

Not long ago, I ran across another interesting storm story. While in the throes of a tempest, the captain slept. Actually, the storm was on the Sea of Galilee, and the captain, so to speak, was Jesus. Matthew 8:23–26 tells us that Jesus and His disciples had boarded a boat on the Sea of Galilee after preaching and healing many people. The Sea of Galilee is positioned in such a way that massive storms sometimes arise without warning. Sitting well below sea level, the cold and hot air collide and create awful storms.

The disciples, who had just watched Jesus’s miracles and had sat front and center listening to His Sermon on the Mount (see Matthew 5–7), were terrified by the storm. They ran to Jesus, who was asleep, and shouted that they were about to die. But Jesus calmed the storm with a word. Because God created all things, cares for all things, and keeps all things in balance, Jesus’s nap seemed to the disciples to be ill-timed; but it wasn’t.

Nothing about Jesus is ill-timed.

wave-crashing

(Photo Courtesy of Freeimages.com)

Letting Go of the Good Things

Truly, God uses the storms in our lives in profound ways. When waves crash against our lives, we have to let go of everything and cling to something solid. On earth, there are so many things we can cling to . . . and good things, but even good things can’t take Christ’s place.

Maybe you have to let go of trying to control something or someone. Sometimes we spend our lives wishing for a different path or less pain. Maybe you’re clinging to the hope that healing will happen or that God will stop that antagonizing person in his or her tracks and teach that person a thing or two. Really? Don’t you and I have a thing or two to learn? Let’s forget about everyone else and focus on trusting God in the midst of our storms.

Storms reveal a lot about our human condition and can teach us some vital lessons, like these:

  • Storms teach us to search for help and to seek Jesus with all our beings.
  • Storms teach us about God’s sovereignty and love—He’s in charge; we are not.
  • Storms show us there is wonderment and freedom in surrendering to God’s will.
  • Storms show us we cannot survive on this earth without Jesus and the hope He provides.
  • Storms remind us of what is truly significant in life.
  • Storms remind us there is sorrow and loss in this world and that our eternal focus is of highest value.
  • Storms reveal the depth of authentic faith.
  • Storms reveal our need for a Savior.

Let Me Hear from You

On the Sea of Galilee, Jesus calmed the storm and restored peace to the troubled waters. Jesus can calm the storms in your life, or He may allow them to rage while He offers you a hand to cling to. Either way, it’s a win-win if you place your trust in His love, care, and sovereignty.

Let’s talk about that this week.

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  • Pam

    Thank you so much for this well timed post. I am clinging to Him w/all that is in me. He is my Rock and my Hope.

    • Pam,
      You are welcome and it’s so good to hear from you! I was listening to a speaker the other day who said something I won’t forget…sometimes God leaves us in the unknown because it is there that we trust Him with our all. Sounds like that is exactly where you are. May the Lord continue to be your ROCK and HOPE. It’s great to connect with you and I would love to hear more of your story. Colleen

    • Hi Pam….well, was the week okay or a blow up? In looking over some notes, I found yours and was wondering how you were doing. Blessings, Colleen

  • Kathy Bolduc

    Great post, Colleen! The many storms in my life with autism have taught me to keep my eyes upon Jesus, and I am so thankful for those life lessons! Like the disciples in that boat on a raging sea, I have experienced fear, but He has consistently showed me His faithfulness in EVERY situation.

    • Kathy,
      Why thank you my friend. How often I forget His promises and yet, throughout history, He has proven to be 100% faithful hasn’t He! I so look forward to our time together and your continued commitment to ministry. May the Lord be that firm, strong foundation when life seems to be all up in waves! You are so dear and I’m thrilled to connect with you here! Have a blessed night! Colleen

  • L Allen

    Thank you again for the beautiful thoughts. Made me think of last night in the late hours. God gave me this little quote from an old devotional book, “Springs in the Valley”. “The more we are cut off from human help, the greater claim we can make on Divine help. The more impossible a thing is to human or mortal power, the more at peace we can be when we look to HIM for deliverance” just blessed me again hope it blesses you too.

    • L Allen,
      Oh my that quote is a wonderful one. Yes, it is so true that when we are left with very few earthly resources, God’s heavenly help comes in. I was just reading something similar from Henri Nouwen which says: “You have to move gradually from crying outward-crying out for people who you think can fulfill your needs-to crying inward to the place where you can let yourself be held and carried by God, who has become incarnate in the humanity of those who love you in community. No one person can fulfill all your needs…” (from his book “The Inner Voice of Love). And so it is true for us all, without falling into the arms of Jesus, we continue to fall into things that will let us down. It is so good to hear from you friend. As a dear friend of mine says…. To be continued. = ) Colleen

    • L Allen, was wondering how your week went…thinking about you and wishing you a great weekend. Colleen

      • L Allen

        Thank you for caring! It will be my first Fathers Day without my dad!! 🙁 it is so ironic that you ask. We are on our way to a bone specialist on Wednesday the 18th. Could use a lot of prayer! This is the storm that we all know is around every corner but we are hoping that Jesus will step into this one and whisper peace. The complication of special needs with serious, takes your breath away sometimes! Thanks for thinking of us!!

        • L Allen,
          Oh my….I prayed for all those who were going through the day without their father’s…how did things go for you? I am so very sorry. I can’t imagine! And yes, it does sound like you are in quite a storm…not knowing is sometimes harder than anything else. Interestingly, just today in my Bible reading, the topic was “Be Still”… “Be still before the Sovereign Lord. He seeks quiet, humble people who speak without using words. He seeks people who have learnt how to bow low and acknowledge that He alone is God”. How wonderful are those words…to simply be still, quiet, humble, and wait on His Sovereign, good hand. May that be of comfort to you today. So good to hear from you and please let me know how things come along. Under His grace, Colleen

  • Becky

    Thank you for this.
    My husband and I have felt these storms as our
    12yr old who has ADHD and maybe ADD hit
    puberty full force this last month.
    He is also being bullied at school which becomes
    a whole different set of waves.
    He has two older brothers that are trying to
    accept his mood swings and actions.
    I just listened to your dad’s message
    On when God’s gift comes specially wrapped.
    I know nothing comes to a surprise to God and
    that each one of my boys where formed special
    by Him.
    I have ADD and have a brother that has a
    brain injury.
    God saved my little brother from being hit by
    a truck last summer which resulted in his brain
    Injury. My brother looks and acts normal but
    he has episodes of mood swings and can never
    live on his own.
    I am looking forward to reading your blogs as
    I am looking for answers to help my son to
    work with his disability and get the school to
    help him.
    Thank you

    • Oh Becky,
      What a note…the ebb and flow of it all is so very difficult. I too have ADD and have some excellent information if you are interested. It’s a very difficult thing to understand and there seems to be so much info out there that it’s overwhelming. Not to mention the day to day struggles…I am sorry for the huge challenges you face. It is every day and then, often more! If there are some specific topics you would like resources for, I would be glad to pass them along. My great friend, Dr. Steve Grcevich is one of the best adolescent psychiatrists who also founded Key Ministry. You may want to check out his blogs as well…he offers a lot of support and resources. The blog is called “Church4EveryChild”, link is: http://drgrcevich.wordpress.com/ He was also one of my interviewee’s this past year (http://insightforliving.typepad.com/specialneeds/2013/12/serving-kids-with-mental-health-disorders-and-their-families-interview.html ). And the traumatic brain injury on top of all this…yes, we do know that God is Sovereign and are also human and can feel like life is too big or hard to press on. I’m so honored and delighted that you reached out and are looking for help and hope. May both be found here and may God speak to your soul as you continue to depend and trust Him. Thanks so much for connecting; I hope you will stay in touch. I’ll do all I can to help. Colleen

      • Hi Becky, I was just wondering how you are doing this week. You have been in my prayers. Also wondering if you found any of the information helpful. Blessings, Colleen

  • Samuel Periasamy

    i liked the word wonderment. in the end, He fills it all with wonder.

  • Ronnie Dauber

    Thank you for reminding us to trust God instead of people or things of this world, Colleen. This was a really inspiring and encouraging message!