Calm in the storm


I will never forget the first time I experienced a really serious storm. I was in Chicago staying with a community of Christians who live in an early 20th century hotel that they was donated to them by the City. It would be a huge lie to say that this building was in tip top condition but neither was it derelict. I was walking around the surrounding area just after lunch when I noticed that shopkeepers were taking signs down and packing produce into boxes to bring back inside. Shutters were coming down and bistro tables being brought inside. 

I remember wondering about whether there was a street event I didn't know about or if there was a half-day every Wednesday that had slipped my mind. Then without much warning I saw and then heard a huge lightning bolt hit the top of a building about 2 blocks away. It sounded like a bomb had gone off and it left a telephone cable box on the top of the building sparking. 

The local resident I was walking with calmly turned to me and said, 'perhaps we should go back to the centre and get inside.' I followed asking him, why, 'Oh. Sorry, I should have said. There is a hurricane coming in off the lake.' 

I nodded serenely displaying my masculine strength under pressure, whilst wondering whether I was about to wet myself through fear. My understanding of hurricanes was either that everything got flattened or you ended up in Oz where there are lions and tigers and bears. 

We got inside and from a downstairs window I watched the chaos unfold. By 3pm is was almost pitch black outside. A car blew into the middle of the road. Trees in the buildings back yard were falling down and the noise of the wind racing between the tall buildings was like nothing I had ever heard. Even from the shelter of the building I felt unsafe. Yet every American I looked at just seemed to be getting on with things. The receptionist was typing and filling envelopes. There were people drinking coffee and reading the paper. They obviously knew something I didn't. 

Of course, they were calm because this wasn't their first rodeo. They were calm because they had seen this all before and knew from the reports that this storm was far from apocalyptic. Nothing to fear at all. They had been here before, they knew the risks, they knew how to minimise them and they knew how to stay safe. I took a lot of comfort in that thought and felt my heart rate lower to only 187. 

There is a lot of comfort to be found in knowing that Jesus has gone ahead of us. Central to the Christian faith is the belief that Jesus faced all the trouble that the world had to throw at Him and yet he overcame the world (John 16:33). When we read the life of Jesus we can lose sight of the trouble he faced as we focus on the miracles and teachings but he was a man who faced poverty, isolation, persecution and criticism. Jesus at times had his own family question His sanity and saw His best friends desert him when He needed them the most. Yet he overcame it all. 

In the verse I alluded to above Jesus says that we can find peace in that truth. We can look to Him and see that He has already faced and overcome anything that we will face. In the same way that I found a little peace in knowing that those who had been there before were not intimidated by the storm around us so then we can take peace in the fact that Jesus has already gone ahead of us. 

What are you facing tomorrow that is bringing trouble in your heart? How can you look to Jesus amongst that and allow His peace to give you rest? He knows we are facing trouble but he has already overcome it.