In the Boat with Jesus


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June 23  

Have you ever had one of those days when everything seemed fine until it suddenly wasn’t?

Last week, my friend Nell was telling me about a day like that. About thirty years ago, she, her husband, and four kids had moved to our town about six months before they were ready to buy a house. Her husband had a stable job at a company where he had worked for the last six years, and they had learned their way around town well enough to know where to look for a house. The day finally came when it was time to close on the house. It was all very straightforward and afterwards her husband returned to work.

That evening around the supper table, the kids were talking boisterously about who got which bedroom, but Nell noticed her husband was quiet. Too quiet. They slipped out for a walk and after only a few minutes, Nell stopped and faced her husband. “Okay. Out with it,” said Nell. “It’s been too nice a day,” he replied. “I don’t want to spoil things.”

“Now you really better tell me for sure!” she said, suddenly quite worried.

“The company is closing the office,” he said. “They said I could move with them to Nebraska (about 1,500 miles away), but I told them I wasn’t interested.”

They had both been sure moving here was what the Lord wanted, and it was all fine, until it wasn’t. 

All at once, Nell felt herself beside the apostles in the boat when the storm was raging. Her world had been upended. She heard herself call out to Jesus with the apostles, “Do you not care that we are perishing?” And Jesus replied, “Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith?”

“I always thought I had plenty of faith with all we had been through over the years,” said Nell, “but apparently not, because my thoughts aligned exactly with the apostles.”

Jesus calmed the winds and the waves immediately, an action that the Jewish people knew could be accomplished only by God himself, the Creator of the seas and Lord over all of his creation. Yet, the apostles still said to one another, “Who is this whom even wind and sea obey?” Nell felt that way, too. Why was she terrified when she knew that her life and that of her family was held in God’s hands? As the Lord worked on her heart (and provided all the solutions they needed), she was able to surrender and see Jesus in the boat with them. 

“Since then,” continued Nell, “whenever a worry seems too big or my faith seems too small, I think about that time in our lives, and I think about the apostles in the boat. No matter how great the storm seems, I know that Jesus is in the boat with me, and he has the universe under his control.”

Hearing her story, I understood completely. It’s one thing to inwardly chastise the apostles for their lack of faith, but quite another to realize that I lack faith, too. If I had been in their shoes, or Nell’s, I would have been terrified. Nell’s story left me with a simple prayer: “Lord Jesus, no matter what’s going on with me or my family, help me to remember that you are greater than the power of the storm, you love me more completely than I can even imagine, and you will never leave me alone in the boat!”

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  • Oh yes, so so true!! Thank you for this…I think each season of our life as a family has had it’s “moment(s) in the boat with Jesus”…In retrospect each moment has been a faith building block for us! Many blessings to you and your family.

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