Calm in the Storm
Jesus’ first-century disciples endured a number of life-threatening storms at sea. In the first one that we have a record of, once Jesus calmed the “great tempest” that had suddenly arisen and threatened to send both them and their small boat to the bottom, they asked “Who can this be…?” (See: Matt. 8:23-27). It took them experiencing a second horrendous storm at sea and His instantly calming it in order for them to realize exactly who He was and worship Him appropriately (See: Matt. 14:22-33). A number of years later, yet another, even lengthier and more severe storm at sea arose, which God once again used as a teaching tool in order to prove His all-powerful ability to provide and protect (Acts 27).
And of course, lest we forget, let us also step back into the Old Testament and reconsider that monster of all storms; that cataclysmic weather event that was so epic it engulfed the entire world. That one incredible storm in which “all the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. And the rain was on the earth forty days and forty nights” (Gen. 7:11-12), covering all the earth (vss. 18-20). Have you ever thought about just how much Noah’s experience during those days, parallels ours today? Consider…
Noah was a man of faith (Hebs 11:7); a preacher of righteousness (2 Ptr. 2:5). He trusted God completely, as evidenced in his obedience (Gen. 6:22, 7:5). But because of the death and destruction that would soon be all around him, he, like us today, would also have to be “quarantined,” in close quarters, with only his immediate family present (Gen. 7:7, 13, 17-23). For them, this would be an ordeal which would last a little over a year (Compare: 7:11, 8:13-15). How on earth did they survive? What on earth did they do, all cramped up in that one boat for over a year, with nothing but their faith in God to guide them? They did that which we must do, as we are in a similar situation of “self-quarantine today; that which will see us through, just as it did them (Rom. 15:4).
Although the Scriptures do not give us a “daily diary” account of Noah and his family’s specific activities during their time of isolation in the ark, certainly any Biblical reading of Noah’s life will leave nothing but the impression that the same things he did to build and get into the ark, he did in his time while shut up in the ark. He surely continued to trust, obey, and serve the Lord (Gen. 6:22, 7:5), carrying out those daily tasks which the Lord set before him. Activities such as feeding his family’s faith, feeding the animals on board, and doing whatever else the Lord commanded, while he and his family waited the storm out.
What do we learn for us and our current Coronavirus storm from the lesson of Noah? As he had obeyed God and was therefore sealed safe and sound in the ark by God (Gen. 7:16b), so, too, are those of us who have obeyed the gospel by being baptized into Christ for the forgiveness of our sins, sealed safe and sound in Christ by God as well (Acts 2:36-42, 47; Rom. 6:1-11; Eph. 1:13-14; 2 Thess. 1:7-10; 1 Ptr. 3:18-21, 4:16-19). Let us, like Noah, therefore continue to maintain that same level of faithfulness that got us into Christ in the first place (Gal. 3:26-27; Col. 2:12). Let us, like him, continue to feed and encourage our families spiritually, while continuing to obey and carry out His other commands daily during this storm (Matt. 6:33; Phil. 2:12-16).
In light of all of these Biblical stormy seas examples and God’s all-powerful ability to calm and carry His people through them; and in view of the current Coronavirus storm of chaos which is raging all around us; I would like to share the following version of an illustration I heard many years ago… The boat was being tossed up and down and side to side as the wind-blown waves continued to strengthen. The captain, crew, and divers on board could see the storm-clouds and lightning strikes all around and closing in on them from the horizon. The scuba diver went over the side and into the depths anyway. Ten, twenty, thirty, and finally fifty feet down, near the bottom and at his destination, he noticed that the fish were being tossed side to side; the vegetation and sea bed were being thrust up and down by the storm… no he didn’t! Of course he didn’t. What he did notice was that life in the depths, went on quite unaffected; and in fact, completely oblivious to the storm wreaking havoc on the surface above.
Today, as those focused only on their momentary, surface, and vaporous earthly life continue to be rocked and blown about by the current storm of Coronavirus concerns that they are enduring, do something different. Put on your spiritual scuba gear (S.C.U.B.A. – “Savior Calling Us Back Again”), and plunge yourself deep into the heart of Jesus’ teaching. Leave the stormy surface of news reports behind, and dive deep, deep, deep down into the heart of the word of the living and all-powerful God. It is only there that you will find the kind of peace, comfort, beauty and stability, that can make the storm on the surface, seem pretty much like just a distant memory (Phil. 4:6-13). Allow Jesus to calm your storm today. Only by so doing, shall we come through this storm the same way as God’s people always have… as “more than conquerors” in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom. 8:28-39). Sail on! God bless! …And… get your dove ready!