My 4th of July Nightmare

One year we spent the 4th of July with my parents at their cottage on the Lake. It had been rainy off and on for days, but we had some nice weather that day. Beautiful actually.

We really wanted to take the boat about 8 miles up and all the way across the lake to watch the fireworks. There were storms in the forecast, and my step-mom suggested we just drive over and watch them on land, but the rest of us really wanted to go on the boat. That was kind of the point. Getting the experience of watching the fireworks from the water.

So we checked the radar and it looked like they weren’t going to hit until late that night, so we chanced it. Did I mention the neighbors thought we were nuts?

And the show was amazing. Spectacular. It was clear. There was hardly even a breeze. Until…..we turned the boat around to make the 8-mile trek back to the dock.

As soon as we turned around, the wind kicked up and a wicked storm hit. So in my dad’s bass boat with the 10 hp motor, we started home. Did I mention it was pitch black? And the only time we could see anything from our metal boat was when the lightening hit?

The cold rain was pelting us and the waves were slamming into us. It was a bumpy ride. After one wave in particular, I was shocked any of us were left on the boat. We were all airborne.

Finally, over an hour later, we made it back safely to the dock. Shaking. Scared. Amazed we’d made it.

We praised God for His protection. We kissed the wet muddy ground. And we went home.

It was one of the scariest nights of my life. We found out the next day that other boats had capsized. And I was even more thankful.

And we have never taken the boat down to see the fireworks again.

And we’ve never completely trusted the radar again.

We can somewhat predict storms nowadays. I laughingly say that I should have been a weatherman. It’s the only job you can be wrong most of the time and not get fired.

But with technology, we really do have a much better chance at predicting the arrival of a storm than, say, in Jesus’ day.

I love Mark 6 where it tells of Jesus walking on the water in the storm. There was no radar for them to check. No weatherman telling them a storm might be coming.

I bet it looked clear when they left the shore too. I mean, would experienced fishermen have gone if they would have thought a life-threatening storm was going to kick up? I doubt it.

But they went and the storm came. They were in serious trouble. They were struggling against the waves and the wind. It was 3:00 in the morning. Pitch black. And I bet the only time they could see anything too was when the lightning struck.

And that’s when they saw Him. He was walking on the water, heading in the same direction they were. Walking on waves as though they were solid ground. Walking into the wind, yet moving forward. Faster than they were. He almost passed them by!

But His disciples, His friends, cried out to Him. And He stopped. He said the sweet words, “Don’t be afraid. I am here.” Then He climbed in the boat with them and calmed the storm.

There are times in our lives when we can predict a storm. We look at the pros and cons of making a decision, gather all the facts, and decide if the risk is worth the reward. And prepare for what may come.

But there are storms that are completely unpredictable. We checked the weather and watched the radar and it looked like clear skies and smooth sailing and Wham Bam Pow – a storm kicks up out of nowhere and it’s a real humdinger.

And we feel all alone. When the disciples were in the storm, the Bible says, “He saw them…” And He sees you too.

They didn’t see Jesus, but He saw them, and He walked right out there in the middle of the storm.

And He was there beside them on the water, but it looked like He was going to walk right by them. Have you ever felt like that?

“I know Your Word says You’re here, but it sure doesn’t feel like it! You must have passed me right by! Where are you? I’m so afraid!”

But He does see. And He is with us. Their fear didn’t leave because the storm stopped. Their fear stopped because, “I am here.” Because He was with them. Because of His presence.

My soul finds rest in God alone… (Psalm 62:1)

It doesn’t find rest in fair skies and smooth sailing. It doesn’t just find rest in sunshine and still waters.

My soul can find rest in stormy seas with lightning flashing and thunder rolling. With the wind blowing and waves churning.

True rest comes in His presence, and that is always with me. Especially when I cry out to Him from the storm.

His presence will always calm the storm within, no matter what is going on around us.

And when we cry out to Him, He always comes. Always. He’s got you. So rest.

The Eternal is my shepherd, He cares for me always.
He provides me rest in rich, green fields
beside streams of refreshing water.
He soothes my fears;
He makes me whole again,
steering me off worn, hard paths
to roads where truth and righteousness echo His name.

Even in the unending shadows of death’s darkness,
I am not overcome by fear.
Because You are with me in those dark moments,
near with Your protection and guidance,
I am comforted.

You spread out a table before me,
provisions in the midst of attack from my enemies;
You care for all my needs, anointing my head with soothing, fragrant oil,
filling my cup again and again with Your grace.
Certainly Your faithful protection and loving provision will pursue me
where I go, always, everywhere.
I will always be with the Eternal,
in Your house forever. (Psalm 23)

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