Storms in life will happen. It’s not a matter of if but when. We don’t pray for them to come, and yes, they can be disruptive and even destructive. But through our storms, we can learn and grow and be better prepared to face them with greater wisdom and faith the next time they come around. It’s no accident that one of Jesus’ most profound teachings about faith happens during a storm when the disciples are seized by fear and confusion. Jesus’ action and teaching in Matthew 8:23-27, the Calming of the Storm at Sea, tells us 5 things we should know about keeping faith when facing an unexpected crisis in life.
1) Crises are Inevitable
Crises are inevitable. You’re going to have them. The letter of James 1:2 says “When you face trials…” No one has an easy time through life. We all have to deal with the storms life throws at us. Even in times of calm, it’s important to simply acknowledge that crises will follow us wherever we go, there’s no escaping them. When we pray for greater faith, we’re not praying for an escape from the problems of life. We’re praying for a way out; we’re praying for a way forward.
2) Crises are Variable
Crises are different depending on circumstances, people involved. Some crises are external and arise from forces outside our control (like the weather, a storm at sea). Other crises are relational- between people or a community. Others are emotional and happen inside of us. Being able to tell the difference can help bring some clarity into the confusion.
3) Crises are Impartial
It might sound obvious, but crises happen to believers and nonbelievers alike; it is part of our human condition. Jesus’ closest followers, the Apostles, are subject to a storm sitting right next to him! Sometimes we get into the belief that because we are close to God as Christians bad things won’t happen to us.
But some problems come in spite of the fact that you’re doing the right thing. Jesus told the disciples to get into the boat and they obeyed and they sailed right into a storm. They were obedient and experienced a crisis. Most crises we face are not partial. What God gives you is the power to respond and overcome with truth and peace.
4) Crises are Unpredictable
Crises often happen unexpectedly. They take us by surprise- that’s almost the definition of a crisis. The Gospel story says, “Suddenly a violent storm came up” (Matt 8:24).
None of us can predict tragedy. That’s what scares us about it. You don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow, next week, next month, next year. You can’t predict it but when you hit it, it will hit you.
5) I Can Choose my Response to Crises
When it comes down to it, there are two options when facing a crisis situation. You can be filled with panic (like the disciples), or you will be filled with peace like Jesus. Faith is not “wishful thinking” like some critics say. Faith is a conscious and active decision to trust God when we can’t see past the storm.