“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.” Matthew 8:26 NIV.
Every time we fly over the Big Pond, The Sweetheart teases me about my fear of water. When we first started traveling overseas, I would fret if our flight would be at night. I didn’t want to be over water in the dark. But then I would fret if it was in the daylight because I didn’t want to SEE all of that water down below. It was a lose-lose situation.
But being the loving husband that he is, Doogalas would remind me that it didn’t matter whether that plane went down in water or on land…the result would be the same.
He always knows how to cheer up this old gal.
So with my love of water, the ocean, and the sea in the back of my mind, I scheduled a day trip for myself, The Sweetheart, and our precious young friend visiting us from our home church in Indiana, Alyssa. We wanted her to be able to see Helsinki, Finland since we were only an hour and a half across the Baltic Sea.
I have ridden ferries before. I actually liked it! I have taken the larger ferry from Helsinki to Tallinn and it was a nice, big boat and a smooth ride.
I have ridden a CAT ferry from Maine to Nova Scotia; loved it. I was amazed at how fast they were and how nice inside, just like an airplane, only it almost feels like you are in first class because you can actually move and feel your legs.
We were no sooner out of sight from the beautiful city of Tallinn, Estonia, when we began to experience rough waters. The boat was rocking back and forth so much I was beginning to get queasy.
Alyssa? She was asleep. It didn’t seem to bother her at all.
Me? I crocheted even faster. I would occupy with anything to keep my mind off of the choppy waters and the swaying of the ship.
We glide into the Helsinki port on time and I was just thankful to be back on dry land. In the back of my mind I was dreading the ride back, but that was still eight hours away.
Let’s go explore Helsinki!
When our day of exploring comes to an end, we returned to board for the trip back and look out across the sea, noticing the calm. We had rain earlier in the day and I am glad it is not storming.
On the way over the boat rocked from side to side. It was horrible.
On the way back? It would hit waves as if they were brick walls. The boat would slam and then fly up into the air and hit just as hard coming back down. The crew came on the loudspeaker to tell us to remain in our seats unless we just had to be up for necessities.
This was unnerving, friends. I was joking about it because I was afraid that Alyssa would be afraid. If she was, she sure hid it well and spent the trip encouraging me.
When the storm began, I was in disbelief. I kept saying that Jesus would come walking across the water at any time to rescue us!
But He didn’t.
I kept praying for Him to calm the waters.
But He didn’t.
I asked Him to make things smooth as He did for the disciples that day.
But He didn’t.
Then the dreaded time came that I just could not ignore the need for the necessities. At our table, even though things were rocky, our drinks never spilled, nothing flew off the table and I assumed I could make it to the back with some assistance.
The Sweetheart, always the protector, said he would accompany me. We got up and started to take a few steps but were thrown against a pole. I tried to grab the next seat for support and am thrown against the other side.
Once into the lobby area, there was nothing to grab! We both were struggling just to stay up but we were laughing so hard that we surely appeared inebriated.
My biggest fear was ending up on someone’s lap unexpectedly.
When we arrive at our Destination of Necessity, we discovered it was almost impossible to accomplish our mission. We were literally thrown against the walls, back and forth, side to side; it was unbelievable how forceful those waters were attacking our little boat.
I prayed, “Lord, You calmed the storms in the Bible, You came walking on the water! Please calm this storm, in Jesus’ Name, so I can tell others how you came to our defense.”
The storm continued, the waters raged outside and we fought against all odds to return to our seats.
Why did Jesus not calm the storm?
Why did He not answer my prayer, my specific prayer?
I knew when I returned to my seat what He was teaching me. I knew without a doubt there was a bigger lesson for me.
Normally, in a situation such as this, I would have brought great drops of blood to The Sweetheart from the death grip I would have on his arm. During extremely turbulent flights, I have squeezed and dug in my nails on his forearm until he would have to pry them off.
But this time? Sure, I was apprehensive, and if you ask Alyssa, she will tell you that I repeatedly said, “Stop this boat, I want off!” But only so the two of them could hear.
Normally? I would have been in a panic. I would have been terrified and close to tears, if not sobbing, at least on the inside.
But this time, even though I was joking about occupying my mind and trying not to notice what was going on around me, I still had peace.
I had real peace.
I wasn’t really afraid the boat would tip over. I wasn’t truly terrified that I would have to try on that life jacket and get to act out what I had seen on the information screen when we started the journey.
No, I knew that same Jesus, the One who showed up for Peter, was with me too. He was there, He was right beside us.
Can I tell you that was bigger to me? Yes, it would have been amazing to say, “Peace, be still!”, and to see the waves calm and the journey to be smooth sailing all the way.
But the greater miracle was that in the MIDDLE of the storm, WE were calm! We had peace, we had assurance that no matter what happened, He was with us.
With anxiety, depression and fear keeping so many in prisons of their mind today, it is overwhelmingly reassuring to know the One who is never ruffled. Outside turmoil cannot take away the peace of God. He is there. He is constant. He is faithful.
He calms the storms that rage within us and gives us lasting assurance that all is well.
- What storm are you pummeling through today?
- Do you feel defeated because the rains won’t stop?
- Are your wiper blades worn out from trying to keep up with the winds and never-ending downpour?
Precious friends, let Him calm your inner storm. He is more than able to give that peace that passes all understanding and you can ride out the waves with the comfort of knowing He is beside you.