Today I’m doing something I’ve never done before; I’m copying an article that is from the current issue of the monthly newsletter from Crossings Community Church in Oklahoma City; it was written by the senior pastor , Marty Grubbs, as a part of his regular monthly column entitled ‘message from Marty.’ I decided to post it in this way because his words resonated in me, and as I read them I believed they would resonate with some members of my family as well as friends who are struggling through difficult days. I hope you find his words comforting and meaningful:
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11: 28-30.
Lately, there have been so many people special to me who have gone on to heaven, or who are walking through a dark valley at the moment. As most of you know, my own father-in-law is in a valiant battle with cancer. These are times when I have to reflect on what I really believe. Do I believe what the Bible says about going through difficult times? It’s one thing to preach it; it is often another to have to practice it. Let me assure you, my faith is not wavering. But finding the reality of God’s promise in the middle of the storm is often not very easy.
The Bible promises that we can “give all our worries and cares to God, for He cares about what happens to us” (I Peter 5:7 NLT). How do I know when I have given Him all of my worries? And if I have given all my worries to Him, is it ok to still be worried? When is it just deep concern?
Jesus has promised that He will give us His peace. He promises that His peace is very different than what is offered by the world. He even goes as far as telling us to “not let our hearts be troubled and not to be afraid” (John 14:27). I believe this with all my heart, but my heart is still heavy with concern for those I love. My mind is filled with thoughts of what I can do, what I should say, how I should act in these storm-filled moments.
Jesus was out on the water with the disciples one day when a fierce storm came along. The disciples were terrified. Jesus was asleep. The disciples woke Him up saying, “Master, we are going to drown!” Jesus calmed the storm, and questioned them about their faith. I don’t get the sense that Jesus was angry with them, but I do believe He knew this was a moment for them to decide if they really believed He had the power to not only calm the stormy waters, but the storms of life as well. And I believe He fully understood their fear.
I’d like to believe that if I had been in that boat, I would have been perfectly fine knowing Jesus was on the boat, even if asleep. But I predict I would have been the first one trying to wake Him up and get something done.
In this time of stormy days, I am remembering that Jesus is with us in the storm. I prefer smooth sailing. Don’t we all? Given a choice of lakes, I’d choose one that offered smooth sailing. I would do everything I could to avoid the storms. Unfortunately, life does not offer that option. And Jesus was so clear about these times. He reminds us in John 16:33 “I have told you all of this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” In other words, there will be stormy times, but He has it covered. There will be painful moments. He has it covered.
“Peace doesn’t come from finding a lake with no storms. It comes from having Jesus in the boat.” ~ John Ortberg, The Me I Want to Be