You can tell a lot about what’s happening outside by how the weatherman on TV is dressed. If his hair is neatly sculpted and his coat and tie are in perfect agreement with one another, it’s 75 degrees with low humidity and a 10% chance of rain. Oh but beware when the coat comes off. When that happens, maximum sustained winds are somewhere around 200 miles per hour and the water in the river is starting to look sort of like blood. Words can’t describe what’s going to happen if he ever rolls up his sleeves.
Earlier this week, the weatherman took his coat off.
My four-year-old knew that this was bad news.
We were getting ready for dinner when a siren stopped us in our tracks. Living on the mean streets of Jackson, Georgia, we hear our share of sirens. They start out quietly from a distance, get louder when they come by our house and grow quiet again as they head to their destination, safely away from our home. But this siren never went away. That’s because it wasn’t coming from a police car or ambulance. It was our town’s way of telling us to get down to the cellar because there’s an 80% chance of cows flying by our window.
We turned on our police scanner to see what was going on. My wife has a police scanner to help her stay a step ahead of the law. But it doesn’t really help because no one in our house has any idea what a ten-eighty-one is.
So we turned on the TV. And that’s when we saw the weatherman without his suit coat. My wife wanted us to hide in the closet but I decided that it wasn’t time yet. When our favorite television meteorologist rolled up his sleeves, that would be our cue to seek shelter.
As we watched, my youngest son got quiet. I guess you could say that it was his calm before the storm because it wasn’t long before he started to cry. Loudly.
I grabbed him, held him close and told him that I always read the Bible and pray when I get scared.
We sat down and prayed for Jesus to protect us and we thanked God for being in charge of the storm. And then I read to him from The Jesus Storybook Bible about how Jesus is in charge of the storm (Mark 4:35-41). He laughed at the pictures of the disciples hanging on for their lives while Jesus was sleeping. When the story was over he asked me to read it to him again. I was happy to do it.
Later that night he turned to that story, just to see the pictures. And again the next morning. Each time, I prayed that the message would penetrate his fears and show him that Jesus is bigger than anything, even things that make the weatherman roll up his sleeves.
I’ve heard a million sermons about Jesus calming the storm. A lot do no justice to the original intent.
“Storms of life will come. What’s your storm? Jesus can calm it.”
My son wasn’t facing an allegorical storm. He was dealing with a real one. And he needed a picture of a real Savior King, not an allegorical one.
It’s interesting how Mark describes this event. After Jesus makes the storm go away with just a simple command, Mark writes that the disciples were, “filled with great fear.”
This great fear was after the storm had gone away. But why? Why would they still be afraid after the storm had gone away? I think that it’s because they finally realized that the real power wasn’t in the storm. It was in the boat. Peacefully asleep.
Scary situations have a way of bringing us to our senses. Our fear isn’t always the result of some great power that is out to get us. Sometimes fear happens simply because we forget about the Greater Power that is for us.
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? Romans 8:31 (ESV)