Yesterday I promised to continue this message and with the help of Almighty God. We will try to conclude is walking away with a better understanding how we approach our storms. My fellow readers, well-wishers, friends, brothers and sisters take courage that all the storms will be over when you hear the voice of Jesus saying “peace be still”. Let us turn to or scripture reading for this message. In the book of St. Mark 4:35-41
The Bible says during the height of the storm Jesus did two things He laid down and went to sleep and then He stood up and addressed the storm. Jesus’ actions reveal to us options and approaches to handling the storms of life that we face.
First we find Jesus asleep. Jesus went to the back of the boat got a nice soft cushion and took a nap. There are some storms where all we can do is ride them out. If we choose to ride the storm out, then like Jesus, we need to find a safe place and take cover. Being willing to ride a storm out means that we are content to wait until the storm passes and rather than worrying about when it will end, we go do something else. One of the worse things we can do in the midst of a storm is worry. Worry will not cause the storm to pass or end any quicker. Worry will only exacerbate our anxieties and others. A good friend of mine once told me that a person could endure anything as long as they know that it will not last forever. Storms like all other living things have a lifespan. The problem is we do not know exactly how long a particular storm will last. One of the slogans used in recovery program’s is “This too shall pass.” An addendum to that is, but when? In the Caribbean and closer home to St. Vincent and the Grenadines we prepare for the hurricane season. We know best hoe to prepare and worry becomes a thing of the pass. You will notice that after the storms are over there is a sigh of relief. Riding a storm out suggests that we are resigned to the fact that we cannot do anything about the situation and we have decided to trust God to bring us through. Of course, the longer we are in the storm the more our faith is tested. Minutes began to feel like hours, hours begin to feel like days, and days begin to feel like weeks, months, and years. Perhaps the greatest challenge we face in choosing to ride out a storm is that we must admit we are powerless to do anything that will change what we are going through.
The second thing that Jesus did was He stood up and took control of the situation. In some cases riding it out may not be the best thing. This is especially the case if we, or those around us are getting pummeled or lives are in peril. In situations like these we need to stand up and take control of the situation. There are times when we need to be passive observers and there are other times when we need to take charge. Jesus informed the forces and powers that be the madness has to stop. Jesus used a two-step process. He confronted the source of the problem directly (the wind) and then He spoke to what was causing the storm. Notice that Jesus did not go to Peter or one of the other disciples and ask them to speak to the storm for Him. Jesus also did not speak around or about the storm instead Jesus spoke to the storm. He did not describe what was happening or lament about the damage it was causing. He went directly to what was causing the problem and said this has to stop. If we do not confront the things that are creating problems in our lives directly they will continue to wreak havoc. When we decide to confront our storms we always need to go to the source. We need to identify whatever is creating or feeding the problem we are facing and cut it off at the source. If we cut off the air supply of whatever is feeding our storms or problems then we can starve the problem to death and it will die of a lack of oxygen.
Mark declares in the text some interesting lessons and I will give them to you as I understand it from this reading:
1. Storms are a fact of life – we are either getting ready to go into a storm, we are in the midst of a storm, or we are coming out of a storm.
2. Regardless of the stage we are at we have choices and the choice we make will determine how much damage we will experience from a storm, we can ride it out and endure whatever the storm throws at us or we can stand up take charge of the situation and speak to our storms directly.
3. The choice we make reflects what we believe – If we choose to ride a storm out, it says we believe we have no better option and are powerless in the matter and we are willing to accept whatever comes for as long as it lasts. If on the other hand we choose to stand up and take charge of the situation, it says we believe that the power of Christ in us is greater than whatever is happening to us or around us. It says we believe that God is a God of order and empowers His people through Christ Jesus to restore order wherever chaos reigns. It says we believe that the madness must end now!
Whether we choose to ride it out or speak to our storms both take saving faith. The fundamental difference is that there are more variables and unknowns involved in riding it out. We have no idea how long the storm will last, how much damage it will cause, or what condition we will be in after it has passed. When it comes to choosing which is the best option we must ask ourselves, do I want to live in distress or in peace? If we choose to live in peace then we will exhibit the kind of saving faith that Jesus exhibited. It is the kind of faith that says, “God has not given me a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, love, and a sound mind.” It is the kind of faith that says I believe that God has empowered me with the spirit of Christ to be a difference maker in my life and in the lives of others. The next time we find ourselves in the midst of one of life’s storms let us remember we do not have to take it lying down, but rather we can stand up and speak to our storm and we will see that it does make a difference.
Your servant and brother,
+ Sir Godfrey Gregg
Archbishop and Presiding Prelate
Administrator and Apostolic Head
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