Monday, August 31, 2015

An Anchor in the Storm

I recently had the pleasure of teaching at a middle school camp. The teaching series for the week was called “I Am,” focusing on identity. I was given the topic “I Am Anchored.” I was pretty excited about the topic because I spent a summer working in the commercial fishing industry in Alaska, so being on and around boats is close to my heart, and every good boat needs an anchor.

 My teaching was focused on Matthew 8:23-27, where we find Jesus and his disciples out on the sea of Galilee when a fierce storm starts overtaking their boat. The disciples start to panic, and where is Jesus? Sleeping! Amidst all of this crazy weather, and waves crashing over the boat, Jesus is sound asleep as the boat pitches and rocks. The disciples wake Jesus, fearing for their lives, and Jesus calmly rebukes them for their lack of faith, and with another rebuke, calms the raging waters. How crazy is that? Even the disciples could not believe what had happened, stating, “What kind of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him?” (v. 27, NASB)

As I was reading through and studying this text, there were a few things that really surprised me. First, if you have read through the Gospels in the Bible, you find that Peter, James, and John, three of Jesus’ disciples, were all fishermen. That means they know the sea…it’s what they do, it’s what they lived. So for them to be so frightened by a storm that they thought they would die, it must have been some storm! Secondly, the amazement that the disciples must have felt as they went from fearing for their lives in one moment, to the waters being completely calm in the next.  They stood there, soaking wet wondering what in the world just happened! I can just imagine the disciples dripping water with their jaws dropped wondering how Jesus just did that!

 However, even with all of that, the two biggest things that struck me were Jesus’ reaction, and what it means for us today. In the midst of all of the chaos surrounding the disciples, Jesus rebuked them asking, “Why are you afraid, you men of little faith.” (v. 26, NASB) He didn’t rebuke them because of the immense power he had, but he rebuked them because he was there with them. Almost to say, “Guys, why are you so scared, I’m here! I’m with you.” Jesus is saying, “If I’m with you, you’re going to be ok! You’re going to make it through!” And that’s where Jesus’ words jumped off the page, and jumped into my life experience. As I taught this lesson on being anchored in Jesus, it drew me to this point… 
The job of an anchor is not to remove a boat from a storm, but to hold it fast through a storm

And the same is true of Jesus. If we anchor our lives in Jesus, he promises to be with us through whatever happens, whatever situation arises, and whatever trials we face. He is not a genie or magician who will magically remove us from our trials, but rather, he holds us through our trials, and walks with us as we endure hard times. If you ask me, I couldn’t ask for a better anchor in the storm.

This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast... 
Hebrews 6:19 (NASB)

~Jake Houf

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