By Sarah Christmyer
Rushing to the car with a cart full of groceries, I hit a pothole. Not a big one, just big and deep enough to grab a front wheel. The cart flipped forward, and I flipped with it. It all happened in slo-mo: the bar hitting my shin, me recoiling in pain, the coffee flying, me pulling back, the sideways lurch, the catapult, the unforgiving pavement. I lay there stunned, watching people walk into the store, eyes on their cell phones, oblivious or determined not to see.
Life hits like that sometimes. One year, we moved across the country and couldn’t sell our house. Not long after, my husband was laid off, we lost our savings, my grandpa died, and my mom got cancer. “It never rains but it pours,” they say, but that doesn’t capture the pummeling we feel when bad things won’t stop coming and there’s no help in sight.
I think of the disciples in the storm in Matthew’s gospel. Wave after wave came across the bow of their fishing boat until it seemed they would sink, and Jesus slept. They woke him up; I imagine them shaking him, wild-eyed, begging for help. He did, of course, but it’s what he says that grabs my attention: “Why are you afraid, O men of little faith?” (Mt 8: 26)
“Why are you afraid,” indeed? Why am I afraid, when storms come and rock my boat, when Jesus is beside me? Even if he seems to sleep: why am I afraid? Do I not have faith that he will help? Jesus calmed the sea, but he also is the master of bringing life out of the jaws of death. I wonder if there was some greater good that might have come about, had they had faith to wait.
“Stay in the boat in which he has placed you, and let the storm come. Long live Jesus!; you will not perish. He may sleep, but at the opportune time he will awake to restore your calm.” (Saint Pio of Pietrelcina)
About the author:
Sarah Christmyer is co-developer and founding editor of The Great Adventure Catholic Bible study program. The author of numerous Bible studies and several guided journals for Bible reading, she speaks at conferences and retreats on topics related to Scripture and the Catholic faith. She teaches at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, Philadelphia. Follow her blog at ComeIntotheWord.com.
Adapted with permission from www.ComeIntotheWord.com under the title “When the waves come: Stay in the boat” originally published on 11/14/2014.
Sarah, I needed to read this today. Sometimes we think our lives are so burdened, but God is there, always! Thank you and God bless you! +JMJ+
Thank you for this beautiful message! I have been through some stormy weather and come out on the other side to see the peace and calm.
Thank you for this needed insight. Matthew 26:8 is one of my favorite lines from the New Testament. Life is very bumpy at times and we need to remember we are never alone. Thanks.
Thank you, Sarah, for your message. Another devotion I read today, revealed the same message. Life is messy and complicated; there are times when we may not feel HIS presence. But, our God is available 24/7! When He is not walking beside us, He is carrying us.
For the past several months, I have been working on starting a new Women’s ministry in my church. Although I’ve prayed over such a ministry for the last two years and felt the call, I have had some bumpy delays while trying to be patient with those helping to provide resources that are not available to me otherwise. I am so thankful I have a merciful God, who has gifted me with insight to adjust my sails, to hang on and to persevere.
Growing up and into my young adulthood, I faced trials that I would not wish on anyone. It’s those times that remind me that what I am going through right now is so small in comparison. I love the quote you shared from Saint Pio of Pietrelcina, “Stay in the boat in which he has placed you, and let the storm come. Long live Jesus!; you will not perish. He may sleep, but at the opportune time he will awake to restore your calm.” .
May we always Submit ourselves to our Lord, Pray without ceasing and Trust in His timing … when we need Him most, He shows up large and in charge! God bless!
Totally needed to hear this today! It’s exactly how I feel at this moment in my life. Thank you for sharing!
Thanks for writing, all you who feel “in the same boat” as it were. As I ride the waves, I’ll pray for you as well. Blessings, Sarah.
Beautiful post, Sarah! Thank you, sweet friend!