Sanctuary in the midst of storm

My friend Joyce Smith has recently returned from the Northumberland Coast where she visited her beloved Puffins.

She sent me this evocative photo and caption

The photo and caption first made me think of Elijah hiding in the cave as the Lord passes by but the Puffin is sheltering from a storm at sea, so my thoughts turned to the Gospel  where in Mark 4 we read of Jesus stilling the storm.

Many will  know the story. Jesus was in the boat with his disciples and a great storm arose. As the waves beat into the boat the disciples began to panic—even those who were fishermen who were surely used to rough seas.  Jesus was oblivious to it all as he quietly slept in the stern of the boat.  The frantic disciples woke him up and shouted, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing!”

Rubbing the sleep from his eyes, Jesus turned towards the raging sea and said, “Peace! Be still!”  A sudden calm descended.

Jesus turned to his friends and said, “Why are you afraid?  Have you still no faith?”

The poor disciples had got it wrong again.  Incredibly, they went on to ask who he was, that even the wind and sea obey him.  Didn’t they know who he was?  Who did they think they were following?  Well, it’s an easy question for us to ask because we know, don’t we, just who Jesus is?  We know too that he has power to still the storm because he is Lord not just of humanity but of all Creation.  But if we were in the disciples place might we too have panicked? I suppose it partly depends on what sort of sailor we are. Or how strong our trust and faith in God is.

There are all sorts of storms in our life and some of the things that happen to us, and to those we love, can overwhelm us. That has been especially true over the past year or so. There are times when we are up against it and we just give in to despair or depression.  It’s at such times that we have to look for the Jesus in our midst—the Jesus who is constantly with us.  The Jesus who, when the going gets tough, simply holds us—be still!  be at peace!  Think of that famous story called ‘Footsteps’ – the one with the two sets of prints in the sand most of the time and then just the single set.  When the writer of the story accuses Jesus of abandoning him, Jesus simply replies that there is only one set of prints because that’s when Jesus carried him.  What we are going through may not magically go away though perhaps that’s what we expect should happen if we think about the storm at sea.  What really happens is that when life is hard for us, it is Jesus who holds us, carries us through, stills the storm within us and breathes his peace upon us. God never leaves us. But we do have to have faith to know that.

[Joyce & Mr G]

One thought on “Sanctuary in the midst of storm

  1. Thanks so much for the post, and the sweet photo.
    Puffins live near our house, in the summer. We also have rocks, like those pictured.
    A constant reminder that Jesus is the rock of our salvation. 🤗


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