Saturday, July 17, 2010


“Jesus spoke to them at once.
‘Don’t be afraid,’ he said.
‘Take courage! I am here!”
Mark 6:50 NLT

As a youngster growing up on the South Dakota prairie, I remember frightening storms that came rolling in from the west. Dark clouds built up until they became an ominous black wall with lightning flashing and thunder changing from a rumble to loud crashes. Then about a half mile across open fields, black dust clouds would start rolling toward us and we knew this could be dangerous. We had seen enough flattened crops - destroyed farm buildings - overturned and mangled machinery - to get fearful thoughts as those dust clouds came flying toward us.

Our farm house was small and not that sturdy. I remember a particular storm that had us worried. The wind was so strong and the rain so heavy it was feared that the dining/kitchen window which faced west would blow in, so large pillows were held against the window to reinforce the glass. What made this storm memorable was that an itinerant German AG preacher, his wife and their teen age son had come to visit us that day. As the storm raged and we were filled with anxiety they were singing praises to the Lord until the storm died down. When the storm was over, the window was still intact – no buildings were damaged - only the tops of some hay stacks had blown off. Could the praises of God’s servants have made a difference?

We know the presence of the Lord in the midst of the storm can make all the difference! The disciples found that out one stormy night on the lake of Galilee. Jesus had told them to get in the boat and go to the other side while he went up into the hills to pray. When they were in the middle of the lake, a violent storm swept down upon them. They were in serious trouble as they struggled with the wind and the waves, trying to control the boat with their ores. Jesus saw what was happening and about three o’clock in the morning he came to them walking on the water. They were terrified! Jesus knew what was going on in their minds, so he called out to them: “Don’t be afraid, Take courage! I am here! Then he climbed into the boat, and the wind stopped.”

Life in this world can have its frightening storms. Some we see building up. Others hit us with hardly a cloud in the sky. Whatever the nature of our storm, Jesus sees what’s happening – he knows our struggle. Can you hear him over the noise of the storm? He is saying:
“Don’t be afraid, Take courage! I am here!"