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But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage. I am here!” Matthew 14:27 (NLT)

It was dark. The storm was so deep that even the ambient light of the night was swallowed by the roaring wind. Only the occasional flash of lightning gave the men any indication of their situation and allowed them to see the fear in each other’s faces. While some rowed hopelessly, the others prayed. Where was Jesus? Why had he sent them out to die in this way?

Then, almost as if on cue from a distant director, they saw it. A faint glow on the horizon wafting over the waves and coming towards them. As if the fear of the wind wasn’t enough, now a ghost was coming near. Panic consumed even the hardiest of men who had weathered many a storm on this sea.

A voice in the dark. Loud enough to rise about the howling of the wind, but at the same time mysteriously gentle and quiet. “Take Courage. I am here!” The actual Greek rendition states, “Don’t worry, the I AM is here.”

How often do we miss that? Especially during the storms of life. We hear the treacherous howling of the wind. Our minds replay every mistake we’ve made. The voices tell us this is all God’s way of getting even. The doubts rise mysteriously and whisper in our ears, “He’s not real you know. If he was he’d never let you go through this.” We live in the false conviction that we deserve this for our sins or we blame others or question God.

Jesus seldom calms the storm until we look to him. He saw the disciples struggling but waited until they looked to him. Even then he didn’t calm the storm until Peter took a dip in the cold lake water.

How often, during the storms of life do we miss the glow, the faint shadow of God’s working? How many times have we forgotten to attribute to Jesus the calming of our fears? Sometimes the things we endure are consequences of our own selfish decisions. Sometimes our pain is the result of malicious and evil acts of those hell-bent on our destruction. Sometimes we are devastated by the seemingly strange quirks of nature. But always, we are under the watchful eye of a loving God and passionate savior who is willing to come to us in the darkest night of our suffering and in the midst of the storm remind us to be brave because he is there.

PRAYER: Jesus, right now I’m going through a storm of sorts in my life. It seems like everything is falling apart around me. I sense the fear and hopelessness of the disciples as I try to battle the waves that want to overtake me. Help me to see you in all this. Calm the storm, but if you don’t choose to do that, calm my spirit so that I can trust you. In your name I pray, Amen.

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