She stood tall and bright in the early morning sun. Gazing at her from the dock, it was hard to believe that just a few hours earlier she was overturned in the tumultuous waters of a fierce summer storm. Today, she bobbed happily upon peaceful waters as if nothing had happened during the night.
The heavy rain, wind, thunder and lightening swept into our little Maine cove as quickly as a jackrabbit. There was no warning. We had to react quickly to make sure all the children were safely inside. Unfortunately, one teen was out jogging so we rushed to pick up our stranded runner just as she was heading down the camp road. After my niece was safely home, we realized that the boats on the lake were untethered and at risk of becoming unhinged. Without delay, our boys went bounding down to the dock, ropes in hand, and proceeded to secure the infamous Mariah motorboat which has provided countless hours of fun for our family over many Maine summers. Sadly, my sister-in-law Tania’s favorite little sailboat, Gull’s Wing, had been secured to the mooring thus it was impossible for the boys to reach it in the lightening and rain. We just had to wait and hope it would make it through the vicious storm.
We all gathered back inside the house and watched the storm unfold from the safety of the upper screened porch. It was eerie – the rain was so intense and it clouded our vision; it was hard to see the boats in the water. Every few minutes a clap of thunder would make us jump followed by a bolt of lightening. We watched the wind and waves batter the little sailboat until it was totally submerged with only a small portion showing above the water. At this point, I wondered if the boat would survive the storm but then I thought of something which assured me that it would.
I find guidance and direction in Jesus’ words each day. There are several scriptures which have helped me significantly over the years. Jesus calming the storm at sea is one of my favorite stories. I have related it to quite a few personal situations when I have needed to dig deep and increase my faith in God. You see, I visualize the sleeping Jesus as a friend who is always close by – perhaps not necessarily on a boat, but close to me nonetheless. When life becomes difficult and I begin to fear the worst, I think of his words in this story, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” and when I ponder that question, I usually don’t have a good answer. His presence in this story assures me that he is calling me to a deeper faith – a faith where I can trust in him – even when he appears to be sleeping. The disciples didn’t have that type of faith yet, they were afraid. It wasn’t until he sent his Holy Spirit to them that they were able to dispel their fear and trust him unconditionally. But he has sent his Holy Spirit to me – and to you and to all of us at Pentecost – so we should not fear, no matter what.
“Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.” (Matthew 8:23-27)
Later that night after the storm had subsided, my brother Joe, Tania, their children and my son all jumped into the water to rescue the sailboat. With a little help from a friend, they did just that. She was upside down and fully submerged except for a small portion. But, they worked together and got her upright and bailed out. “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Sometimes, life does not go as we plan. But God calls us to a higher level of faith in the midst of suffering and uncertainty. He calls us to union with him – because all he desires is to walk hand in hand with his beloved children. When we love him, trust him and put our faith in him each day – he can do just that. Do not be afraid.
Thanks to Tania and Joe for hosting a lovely quarantine holiday. Below are a few photos from our family gathering where we celebrated 3 birthdays and 2 high school graduations!