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Where are your eyes during the storm?

We’ve probably all encountered a storm on some level. From a light thunderstorm or hailstorm to a raging hurricane, the power of nature always amazes me. The way winds are able to rip up 100-year-old trees and destroy buildings is absolutely terrifying at times. 

Last week, many people in Southeast Texas and Louisiana were evacuated as Hurricane Laura made landfall. Labeled a Category 4 hurricane, Laura’s winds reached speeds of 150 miles per hour, destroyed homes and businesses and knocked out power to nearly one million customers in Texas and Louisiana. 

As I read the descriptions of the hurricane, I was reminded of the scene where Jesus met his disciples on the water in Matthew 14. After a day of ministry, Jesus retreated to the mountains to pray and his disciples got in their boat to travel. While in the boat and far from land, the winds raged and the water slapped angrily against the sides of the boat. While the Bible doesn’t explicitly say so, I imagine the sky was dark, cloudy and ominous.

Then the disciples look up and they see Jesus walking on the water toward them. Now they were truly frightened because I’m sure they thought, “What human can do this, much less in the middle of a storm?” The Bible says, they actually “cried out in fear” (14:26). Can we blame them? How can we not see the storms around us and not be terrified? Storms are powerful and scary. 

But Peter refused to see the storm around him. Instead he cried out to Jesus and said, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water” (14:28). Jesus told him to come and Peter stepped onto the water and took several steps to Jesus. With the storm raging around him, Peter only had eyes for Jesus, and as a result, he did the impossible – walked on water. 

But the instant he took his eyes off Jesus, he became swayed by the power he saw around him. He grew afraid and he began to sink. 

“But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, ‘Lord, save me.’ Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, ‘O you of little faith, why did you doubt?’ And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased” (14:30-32). 

We all encounter storms – physically and emotionally. Perhaps the storm you are encountering isn’t a physical “slap you in the face with rain and tear down your buildings with wind” kind, but it is just as big and just as terrifying. And you have a right to be scared. But when you keep your focus on Jesus in the middle of the storm, the wind around you is just white noise. You can remember that Jesus is there to protect you no matter what. And even if you do get bogged down by the storm like Peter did, Jesus is still there to catch you. He will never leave you nor forsake you.

Having Jesus by your side can bring you peace during the most difficult of situations – something much more powerful than any storm this earth can throw at you. Trust Jesus and keep your eyes focused on him and he will calm the storm. 

“The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.” – Psalm 121:7-8

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