I did a Bible study the other day in Mark that is still as close to my heart as the day I read it. The story was about Jesus being in a ship with his disciples and instructing the men to cross the Sea of Galilee to the other side. They set out to cross the sea and a terrible storm came out of nowhere, which is typical in that area because of the geography. The water was so rough and it started coming in the ship; putting them in danger of sinking and the men were in fear for their lives. They had seen Jesus heal the sick and perform other miracles so they went to Jesus, he was sleeping and caused them to frustrated with Jesus because He was not seemingly helping their dire situation. When they woke Jesus they asked Him, ‘do you not care that we are all about to die?’ Jesus got up and commanded the wind and water to be still and immediately the storm stopped. The men were in awe because they had learned from the Old Testament that God is the only one who can command the weather and it obey. Their awe turned to reverent fear of Jesus; realizing that Jesus is God. Jesus looked at the men and asked, ‘why were you afraid? Where is your faith?’
The message the pastor wanted to share is the importance of us knowing that Jesus IS God, but I got much more than that out of it. In his sermon, the pastor stressed that the storm was a real physical storm, not something that was meant to be used as just a metaphor, and asked how many times throughout our lives have we been in a real storm whether it be that you are grieving over the loss of a loved one, going through a divorce, or some other REAL storm you are having in your life and because God is not helping you the way you want Him to, you get frustrated with God and ask Him if He doesn’t care about your suffering while you try and weather such a terrible time in your life? Do you tell God that if He really cared about you that He would end your suffering? The pastor stated that this is not the attitude we are supposed to have and that sometimes you will have to weather the storm but that does not mean that God has forgotten about you or stopped caring about you; it just means that in order for you to become the person you are meant to be, you have to endure some tough lessons in life but you should not let your fear about the situation overwhelm you because God is still there with you; He never leaves us.
This hit me pretty hard. I have recently been through what has probably been the worst time in my life and I can’t count the times that I cried out to God to make it stop because I was hurting so bad, that I didn’t think I could endure it and I was terrified that it would never stop and I could see my life starting to fall apart around me. Through my tears there were times of anger, rage even. On a conscious level, I never admitted to myself that part of my anger was directed towards God because I was in seemingly endless pain and it seemed like He didn’t care how much I desperately needed His help. When I listened to this sermon I realized it and was immediately so ashamed and apologetic to God for feeling that way towards Him. The one true rock I have in my life, the one who loves me more that anyone else, who never leaves my side no matter what, I was treating so badly. I began to sob and beg God for His forgiveness and was so hurt that I could let myself think and feel anything but love and respect for Him.
I then started thinking about how perfect God’s love is for us, how undeserving I am of it, and how thankful I am that He has and always will love me and be with me no matter what; God’s perfect unconditional love. I then started to think about the people in my life and how they have treated me. I thought about the people who have been a part of my life when things were good and I enjoyed but also, who has been with me through the storms, who has been with me in the good times and then stood by my side through all of the crap in my life. Who was it that when I tried to run away from everyone, loved me enough to chase after me, even when I took them for granted and did my best to push them far away from me. They may not have been able to help my situation, but they were there for me to give me love and support. Who has shown me love in the good times and the bad and shown me how silly I was when I doubted their love?
I have asked myself over the years, how do you know if you are with the right person as your romantic partner in life. I have thought at times that I knew the answer to that question only to realize my error. This Bible study made me fully realize what it means to say love is patient, it is kind, it does not boast or is prideful, it is there in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer. God’s love for me made me realize what REAL love is, how to recognize it when I see it, know how rare and precious it is, and to cherish it if you do find it because if you don’t, you could let it slip through your fingers, never to be found again. Thank you God for opening my eyes and my heart.