| Mar 27, 2022
40 Days of Prayer content is intended for Monday through Saturday each week. Devotions are available on Sundays to prepare for the week ahead.
My family used to take its annual summer vacation at a ranch in Montana just outside West Yellowstone. My dad had been a ranch hand during summers when he was a kid at this same ranch, so he knew it well. Montana is a beautiful state, they call it the Big Sky State for a reason—blue sky reaches as far as you can see. But Montana has its weather, and in the late summer, it is especially turbulent.
One of our favorite pastimes on the ranch was fishing at Cliff Lake which was just a short walk or drive down the dirt road, following the creek that ran outside our little two-bedroom cabin (sounds fancy but the restroom was in a little house behind the cabins, marked with a moon). Did I mention the bears that hung out at camp? Anyway, I remember a particular day of fishing where we were having good luck. We caught several rainbow trout and had hauled them into our little boat. It was a beautiful “big sky” kind of day. All of a sudden the sky turned black and hail started pouring on us and around us. Lightning was lighting up the sky and bolts looked like they were striking the ground. The wind formed waves in the lake, and our little boat was being beaten by hail and tossed by the wind and waves. We could see shore, but it was a ways off. I was just a little kid, and this was terrifying.
This story is told in three gospels:
“Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”” (Matthew 8:23-27 NIV)
Jesus was reminding the disciples in the boat that he was there; he was with them. But he went further than to just tell them he was with them; he literally calmed the storm. One minute they were worried for their lives that they might drown and the next they were staring in disbelief at the beautiful calm lake. They probably spent a bit of time looking back and forth from the lake to Jesus and back again in both disbelief and then recognition of the power Jesus carried at all times.
This story is an actual recounting of an event, but you can also look at it allegorically. In life’s storms, Jesus is with you; he is all-powerful, and fear need not be your guiding emotion. Faith over fear recently became an even more popular mantra for many Christians during the Coronavirus pandemic. But it’s more than a mantra; it’s a state of being worth pursuing and claiming.
That’s not to say you won’t have an initial reaction of fear when one of life’s storms comes seemingly out of nowhere, but settle into the faith you have and let that overwhelm your fear, and remember Jesus is with you.
I think back to being in that little boat on Cliff Lake. I was scared, but my dad wasn’t. He’d experienced many storms while he was in Montana; he knew the storms passed quickly. And sure enough, the storm stopped as suddenly as it had started, and big blue sky was once again reflected in the calm waters.
Faith over fear. Faith sometimes is knowledge-based and built on previous experience. When the storms of life hit us—unemployment, divorce, betrayal, a bad diagnosis, loss of a loved one—we can feel as though we are being tossed about, and fear quickly outpaces faith. In these times, we need to take a breath, call out to Jesus, and remember he is in the boat with you. He is your safety, your refuge, your help in time of need. Faith over fear.
Pastor of Discipleship Materials & Small Groups
Read all of 40 Days of Prayer at easter.crossings.church.