Y’all gotta read this one. I got about halfway through it last night and will hopefully finish the rest tonight.
It’s printer-friendly, about 21 pages. I should calculate how many Twitter posts it would take at 128 characters to post that up on Twitter. <grin>
It’s really good stuff if you’re presently “…tossed with tempest, and not comforted,” but it might be even more valuable if the sunshine is presently unhindered and your seas are calm and smooth as glass. The storm we try so hard to avoid, the troubles we try to steer clear of – Jesus is in those! If you wanna be blessed like Jacob, you’re gonna have to wrestle with Someone for a while. And even if He leaves you with your hip out of joint and you have to limp away, you won’t walk away empty-handed. But wrestle we must.
“Our dearest treasures may suddenly be taken from us, and our fairest hopes are withered in the bud. Sunshine and calm are treacherous—they cannot always last.”
“We should be prepared for storms, that we may not be overwhelmed with surprise and terror when they come. But if Jesus is with us, the most terrific tempest cannot harm us. The profoundest calm is infinitely perilous without Him.”
I laughed out loud last night while reading Newman Hall’s account of Jesus walking on the water and how the disciples freaked out, thinking he was a ghost. We’d all freak out as well if something like that happened, but once they recognized who it was, it was well with their souls.
If you get a chance, check this out. The writing is beautiful and the ideas conveyed even more so.
“It is I” or
“The Voice of Jesus in the Storm”
by Newman Hall (1816 – 1902)
(Matthew 14:22-33; Mark 6:45-50; John 6:15-21)
Is it stormy weather with you? Do cares, disappointments, bereavements, as a heavy cloud, deluge you with sorrow? Do spiritual troubles assail you as a hurricane, and drive here and there your harassed soul? Do the winds and the waves beat upon your frail bark, so that it seems about to sink? “O afflicted one, tossed with tempest, and not comforted,” listen to the voice of Jesus, who comes to you in the storm, walking upon the waters, and says, “It is I; do not be afraid!”
The design of religion is to make us joyful. This world is indeed a valley of tears, but the Man of sorrows has visited it that we may rejoice. We are surrounded by causes of alarm, but the gospel bids us fear not. And that which alone can enable us to be joyful amid sorrows, and of good courage amid perils, is the presence of our God and Savior. To believe in Him as always near, always kind, always mighty to save, is the true and sole antidote to fear and grief. It is only in proportion as we recognize His voice, as that of a friend, saying, “It is I,” that we can comply with his exhortation, “Be of good cheer; do not be afraid.”
This is a fit representation of the circumstances by which believers are still often tried. What contrary winds and tides have they to contend with! What darkness surrounds them! What perils threaten them! And sometimes, even Jesus seems withdrawn! The stormy gales of trouble blow from various quarters. Bitter disappointments, grievous losses, perplexing cares, anxious apprehensions, pinching poverty, the injuries of foes and, far worse, the slights of friends. Painful diseases, suspension of beloved activities, prostrated strength, debilitated faculties, weary wakefulness, gnawing pain. Heartbreaking bereavements, tearing from us those with whom our very life was bound together, leaving a blank which nothing earthly can fill. A wounded spirit, bending beneath the burden of anguish, or severe conflicts with the great adversary of souls, harassing temptations, distorted views of truth, awful terrors of mind, gloomy doubts, dark despondency. Oh!, what black clouds do such stormy winds as these often cause to gather round the believer, so that scarcely a ray of light can struggle through to cheer him as he is tossed up and down amid the billows!
These storms may often rise against us, even when acting in direct obedience to the will of Christ. The disciples had not set sail without His express command. Yet the tempest assailed them. Jesus knew that the wind would arise. He Himself permitted it to blow. Nevertheless, He told the disciples to go over to the other side! We should learn never to interpret duty by success. The opposition, which assails us in the course of obedience, is no evidence that we are mistaken. He who gives laws to His servants is the controller of all events. It may be His will that in the very act of obedience we should encounter storms. He foreknew every trial we should meet with when He laid down the route we should pursue. We must not dare to turn back. The disciples, when the wind became contrary, might have wished to return to shore, especially as Jesus was there. But they had been commanded to go to the other side; and so they continued rowing, even though they made little or no progress. They were not responsible for the contrary wind that stopped them, but they were responsible for striving to obey the will of their Master.