Almost two years ago, Jason and I drove to Arbanna and listened to a sermon by Eddie Wyatt from Mark 4:35-41. This set of scriptures is about Jesus calming the sea and Brother Eddie spoke of great storms in our lives and how to weather them. He spoke of his own storm, when his son nearly lost his life in a car accident and how he sat by his bed in ICU and begged God to spare his boy’s life (which He did). I left that night and prayed that I would never have to face such a storm. I was afraid that I would not be able to come through it, that I would drown in the storm instead.
A few weeks later Jason and I listened to The Old Ship of Zion while we drove to revival at our church.
“I was standing on the banks of the river, looking out over life’s troubled sea. When I saw an old ship a sailing. Is that the old ship of Zion I see? Its hull was bent and battered from the storms of life I could see. The waves were rough but that old ship was steady. Is that the old ship of Zion I see?”
The next day, we were at Arkansas Children’s Hospital with Abby. Less than a month after that sermon, I was in the ICU, sitting next to Abby’s bed, begging God to spare her life. Brother Eddie’s sermon played over in my mind and I knew that all he had said was true. I knew that Jesus was with me on this boat being tossed in the storm. I knew that at any time, Jesus could rebuke this storm and say “peace be still”. I knew others were watching (the little ships in verse 4:36 and the Gadarene demoniac in 6:2). I knew they wonder what manner of man this was that helped us survive such a storm. I knew I could trust Him. It was no coincidence that we heard that sermon on that night. God had a message for us that would sustain us through our great storm.
A song that I love reminds me of this time and of this sermon, Be Still My Soul.
“Be still my soul, the Lord is on your side. Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain. Leave to thy God to order and provide. In every change, He faithful will remain. Be still my soul, thy best, thy heavenly friend, through stormy ways, leads to a joyful end. Oh be still my soul, the waves and winds still know His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below.”
As soon as I hear this song, I go back to that sermon. I remember that I can have rest in Him. The waves and winds obey His voice!
Except, it isn’t always that easy. Sometimes my faith falters. Sometimes I am riddled with fear and doubt. That is when I think of Peter. I seem to have a lot in common with him.
“...And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him...” Matthew 14:29-31
Peter was walking on water! How wonderful! What faith! But then, this is the important thing, he took his eyes off of Jesus. The wind was furious, the waves had to be high. He began to sink. I can’t tell you how many times I have done this. I have great faith and then...I take my eyes off of Jesus. Just like Peter, I look at the wind and waves, I become afraid, and I sink. But, praise the Lord, Jesus stretches forth his hand every time and catches me. Life is scarey, cancer is scarey, losing my child is scarey. But, “what time I am afraid, I will trust in thee” Psalm 56:3
I recently found this song and it speaks to my heart as well. Its called Part the Waters
“When I think I’m going under, part the waters Lord. When I feel the waves around me, calm the sea. When I cry for help Oh hear me Lord and hold out your hand. Touch my life and heal the raging storm in me.”
There is one more set of verses about water that I call to mind when I am overwhelmed and afraid.
“When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.” Isaiah 43:2
What a promise! He is with me, in deep waters, fiery furnaces, great storms, always!
I am so thankful to God for sending us to Arbanna that night and for laying it on Bro Eddie’s heart to preach that message. I am thankful for songs that I can listen to that speak the Truth and for His word, which is the only thing that can heal a hurting heart. God is wonderful!