Storms and high winds hit us hard up here on the North Downs. As the wind whips up the escarpment it slams into the side of our house and it makes it difficult to sleep. It’s hard to completely relax as there is restlessness in the air, especially with the foxes barking in the wind, it can make for a disturbing night. During the 1987 storms I would have slept right through them, as I was a heavy sleeper at the time, but my wife woke me up and said ‘you’ve got to see this!’ She was right, it was an amazing storm and I remember a large willow tree being bent over, parallel to the ground.
Storms with high winds often remind me of Jesus and the storms on the Sea of Galilee. Some years ago, I had the privilege of visiting the Holy Land and taking a boat trip on the Sea of Galilee near Capernaum. As we were out on the water in quite a small boat a storm hit us and it got pretty scary as the wind whipped up some fairly serious waves. It was just like in the Bible but not quite so bad because unlike then, the fisherman at the helm, although alert, was not beside himself with fear and worry. And, unlike Jesus, I was not asleep in the back of the boat. Jesus was perfectly calm even in the storm.
Storms come and go, but these physical storms remind me of the storms of life that come upon us, often when we least expect them. Family troubles, illness, bereavement and uncertainty can hit us hard and make it difficult to steady ourselves and to keep our balance. Jesus was able to totally trust his Heavenly Father in the storm, even to the extent that he could sleep through it. It can seem to us when we pray in the midst of the storms of life that Jesus is asleep. We want to say wake up! Where are you? We ask ourselves where is God in this? Is he asleep? Even though these thoughts and feelings come at such times I don’t think that God is asleep or dispassionate. Just look at Jesus and his compassion in the face of the suffering and death of his friend Lazarus. However, what I have been learning in the storms, is that God allows in his wisdom what he could prevent by his power and that is a hard lesson especially in the more extreme storms of life.
Rev. Dr. Christopher Noble – Rector
St Mary’s Stansted with Fairseat and Vigo