When our storms are invisible, they could be tormenting, throbbing and excruciating, but “we are ok”, or at least we pretend to be ok. But if we make those storms visible to anyone, we want them to understand, sympathise with, be there for and possibly help us.
Peace Be Still
I was reading about the incident that took place several centuries ago. It was an evening of a day like any other after a slew of teachings, preaching, and the rest that characterised his earthly mission, the Master asked some of his followers to ride with him to the other side of the city. He was a bit tired and needed some rest while the boat sailed. He was aware that at his arrival at the other side of the Sea of Galilee, he’d be met with some important cases to attend to, beginning with a demoniac. So, he wanted to catch some rest having taught all day.
As they sailed on the sea, “a great storm of wind” arose with waves that beat into the boat to the point that the boat was filling. Afraid to sink, they decided to wake Jesus from his nap. “How can we sink in the sea when Jesus the miracle worker is here with us? We’re experiencing a squall and he’s sleeping.”
So, they quickly tapped Jesus and almost raised their voice at Him, “Master don’t you care that we are perishing” as if Jesus won’t perish with them if the boat had sunk, and as if Jesus hadn’t shown that He cared about their welfare before now. And oh, they hadn’t learnt to apply faith despite being with Jesus for a while now.
Jesus simply rose up and calmed the winds and waves with a three-word sentence, “Peace, Be Still.” And that was it. To make matters worse, their exclamation at the end of the miracle made me wonder if they hadn’t believed that Jesus could calm the windstorm and waves of the sea, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!”
Now, every one of the disciples on the boat could feel the effect of the windstorm. They could see that the boat would capsize if a miracle doesn’t happen. So, they screamed for help at the hand of the Master.
If I may Touch His Clothes
After this incident, the boat sailed safely to the shores of Gadara, on the south of the sea of Galilee. In the next chapter of Mark, which is from Mark 5:21, as Jesus returned to Capernaum, on the West Side of the Sea of Galilee, he was met with many people who desired healings and other miracles. One of such persons that met him was a woman that had a haemorrhage.
Amid the people that were thronging Jesus; in the shadows of the multitude that pressed the Master to hear him was this a woman who had an invisible windstorm brewing in her. The squall had been there for twelve years without abating. In her bid not to drown in the ocean of her blood, she knocked at the doors of several people that she thought could serve as masters, but their attempts to rebuke the storm and calm the waves were futile. She continued to bleed, albeit on the inside, invisible to other eyes but glaringly clear to her.
This woman was going through a secret invisible storm. It’s no surprise that as she pressed to touch the border of Christ’s garment, no one saw her dripping blood, not even the apostles. Had they seen blood dripping down her thighs, maybe they could have granted her quick access to Jesus. I believe that the dumb, lame, blind, and even the dead would understand the urgency of her predicament, and beckon on Jesus to take care of her situation first.
But nothing visible was seen by anyone. Little wonder the disciples didn’t observe when she touched Jesus Christ by faith no identify who she was. There was no visible evidence to attest to her healing; only she knew what had happened to her. But was she going through a storm? Yes. Were the waves tossing the boat of her life to capsize it? Yes. But did anybody see the storm? No.
My Soul is Exceeding Sorrowful Unto Death
To further illustrate how no one cares nor understands what is happening to us when we go through secret storms, let’s see what happened in one of the later chapters of the same book of Mark. In Mark 14, Jesus was going through a severe windstorm of the soul. He had eaten with his disciples and foretold Peter’s denial albeit praying for his recovery.
But He knew that his time was come to die the vicarious death on the cross, so, his “soul was exceeding sorrowful unto death.” While these storms were fierce, He took three of his apostles to pray with him. His desire to go with them was for comfort and consolation. Not that the prayers of Peter, James and John would stop God from executing his plan of salvation, but Jesus wanted to see their show of concern and sympathy as they prayed.
When Jesus returned to see them sleeping, he was the more sorrowful. “These men don’t even care that I’m going through a storm, more fierce than the one they went through on the sea of Galilee. A secret storm, a raging wave that might be invisible to them but very true and real to me.” Jesus was in agony, but his disciples were sleeping, not appreciating the gravity of what was about to happen. They were sleeping because they couldn’t see the storm of Jesus.
It was a secret storm. It was more painful than the raging sea. It was so heart-wrenching that the sweat drops of Christ were as dense as that of blood. But the apostles were sleeping because no one was putting a knife to the throat of Jesus, nor was his physical boat sinking.
Him who Winds and Waves Obey
Many times in life, we see go through secret storms that physical eyes cannot see. We are drenched in the heavy rains that physical umbrellas can’t shield us from. We are full of “what ifs” that no one knows nor understands. The cloud seems gloomy, our sights blurry and the future hazy. But there is a God who sees the windstorm, knows all our fears and understands that we are doomed without His help.
In those moments, what comes to my mind is this comforting hymn that was penned down over a century ago by Charles Albert Tindley, the son of a slave. It reads thus:
STAND BY ME
1. When the storms of life are raging, stand by me;
When the storms of life are raging, stand by me;
When the world is tossing me like a ship upon the sea:
Thou who rulest wind and water, stand by me.
2. In the midst of tribulations, stand by me;
In the midst of tribulations, stand by me;
When the hosts of hell assail, and my strength begins to fail,
Thou who never lost a battle, stand by me.
3. In the midst of faults and failures, stand by me;
In the midst of faults and failures, stand by me;
When I do the best I can, and my friends misunderstand,
Thou who knowest all about me, stand by me.
4. In the midst of persecution, stand by me;
In the midst of persecution, stand by me;
When my foes in battle array undertake to stop my way,
Thou who saved Paul and Silas, stand by me.
5. When I’m growing old and feeble, stand by me;
When I’m growing old and feeble, stand by me;
When my life becomes a burden, and I’m nearing chilly Jordan,
O thou “Lily of the Valley,” stand by me.
May the Lord calm all your secret storms and calm all your raging invisible waves – “Peace Be Still.”
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