Rescue from the Storm.

This morning I am taken into a storm. A storm on the lake – the sea of Galilee. I step into and become part of this terrifying experience. The pitch dark envelops me, the wind is howling, tossing the boat unmercifully around, huge waves appearing out of the dark, towering over the boat with foaming crescents. And the noise is unbelievable, the wind is howling, while the waves are crashing onto each other and foaming over the boat and the violent flapping of the sails, my mouth is filled with the taste of salt and fear, the disciples and myself clinging to each other soaked to the skin, calling for help. Over at the end of the boat is a figure, serenely asleep in the midst of this chaos. The disciples are calling out to Him, “Teacher, Teacher – wake up help us surely you can do something”. The sleeping figure sits up slowly clinging to the side of the boat and speaks out into the darkness “Quiet! Be still!”

The most amazing thing happens. No its not just the wind that slowly calms down. Instantaneously the wind stops, but also the waves cease their onslaught on the boat and within seconds the sea is like glass. A new fear washes over all of us in the boat as we realize and experience this huge supernatural power. The fear of injury or death by drowning is replaced by an overwhelming awe as we realize who is sitting in the boat with us. “Why are you so afraid”? The figure in the boat asks – “don’t you believe – don’t you trust Me?”

The huge penny drops as we hear what He is saying. Not only does He care, but He can and does change things completely. Then my thoughts go to the furocious, Covid storm that is threatening and ravaging the whole world – like an ominous miasma – cloud of unholiness – of filth and fear. But hear now – as much as Jesus was in complete control of the storm on the lake, so much is He in control of this pandemic. The world is still under the curse of Gen ch 3 and this storm is a clear reminder of that. He is allowing it because in the midst of it all, He is working in each person’s life in the whole world – ease and pleasure cause mankind to turn to their own resources and enjoyment and leave God out – even Christians. We need to be reminded of the fact of Jesus and the fact of our lostness – the pandemic is a stark physical reminder of our spiritual lostness and only when we can “see ” that, will we turn to accept and appreciate His salvation package.

So my continued reading today in 1 Peter is from 1:22 – 2:3. This is a continued discussion on the ‘salvation package’ we have seen before. Firstly we are reminded that this salvation change is supernaturally wrought by God, when we are “born again of imperishable seed, through the living and enduring word of God”. On the other hand the sure sign of this change that takes place is the ability He gives each one of us to love one another, with a deep love from the heart. But this is our responsibility. We are called to do it in response to His work of giving us the new birth. This is also the positive side of salvation. There is also a negative side, a putting off of the wrong behaviour and attitudes – malice, slander, deceit, hypocrisy, envy….. Am I guilty of any of these? Oh dear for sure, as evil as they sound, it is easy to do these things, dressed up in their Sunday best to look like something else.

What is the antidote? Here comes the double reminder of the importance of God’s word. His Word has the power to continually change us supernaturally, not only with our initial regeneration.. So we must crave His word like a baby craves milk…. continually hungry for it and entirely dependent on it (this expression is used by Peter in a different way to Hebrews and 1 Corinthians, which both speak of new Christians) – this is the attitude every Christian should have towards the life giving, rescuing word of God.

So what is Jesus saying to me? He firstly reminds me of the word he gave me on the 24th March, the day of “lockdown”. from Psalm 58:1b “I will take refuge in the shadow of thy wings until this disaster has passed”. He cares and is in control. Secondly I am warned not to sit back and become idle, but to continue to grow spiritually through His word and trusting obedience. I will never stop needing to deal with all the issues He mentions, till I get to be with Him. Thirdly I am reminded of the hugely precious nature of the ‘salvation package’ a message not to be kept to myself.

Praise His name for that great and glorious day.

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