One day Jesus got into a boat with his disciples and said to them, “Let us go across to the other side of the lake.” So they started out. As they were sailing, Jesus fell asleep. Suddenly a strong wind blew down on the lake, and the boat began to fill with water, so that they were all in great danger. The disciples went to Jesus and woke him up, saying, “Master, Master! We are about to die!” Jesus got up and gave an order to the wind and to the stormy water; they quieted down, and there was a great calm. Then he said to the disciples, “Where is your faith?” But they were amazed and afraid, and said to one another, “Who is this man? He gives orders to the winds and waves, and they obey him!”
It WAS a dark and stormy night on Wednesday Evening. It was raining hard; the wind was blowing, and a tree fell which resulted in the closing of Tennessee Valley Road just past the church’s driveway. As of this morning, Friday, the road was still closed.
When I was 10 years old, I went through Hurricane Camille. It continues to be one of the most ferocious hurricanes to hit the United States. Over three hundred lives were lost. You can look it up on Wikipedia. There is also a cheesy documentary entitled, “A Lady Called Camille” on YouTube.
It was Sunday, August 17, 1969, when the storm started to hit the Mississippi Gulf Coast. As they did every Sunday, my parents took my brothers and me to church at Saint Matthew’s Lutheran Church in Gulfport. After worship, my father took us to a designated shelter on the Navy Base where he was stationed. It was a strong concrete and brick warehouse. Military personnel with families would shelter in this building.
Across the street was another warehouse. That warehouse was constructed primarily with wood siding and painted gray. It was a World War II Era building. It would shelter the “on duty” military personnel without families.
In the course of the storm, as the winds increased, sections of the roof came off the outer area of the warehouse we were in. As that happened people moved to the center of the building. In turn, the center section became more crowded.
At some point during the storm, before the eye of the hurricane crossed over, the warehouse across the street collapsed. All the people in that building came over to the building in which we were staying. There were a few injuries from the collapsed building but no fatalities.
When the eye of the hurricane came over, everything went calm. Supplies came in from other parts of the base. People felt calmer. Then the eye passed, and the shrieking winds began again. Things became tense again. I was terrified.
Finally, exhaustion overtook terror and I fell asleep at some time around 4:00 a. m. I awoke at some time around 10:00 a. m. It was sunny outside. The storm was over but much damage had been done from Biloxi to Bay Saint Louis with Pass Christian receiving the most damage and loss of life.
The bible passage at the beginning of this blog talks of a time Jesus calmed a storm. The disciples were terrified they might die. In the midst of the storm, Jesus was calmly asleep. The disciples woke up Jesus. The passage records, “Jesus got up and gave an order to the wind and to the stormy water; they quieted down, and there was a great calm.”
I love the words, “there was great calm”.
Sometimes Jesus gives us “great calm”. I think those words not only apply to the storm but also to the disciples. When the water calmed down the disciples felt “great calm”.
In our personal storms, I believe Jesus can calm those storms to give you and me “great calm”.
Yet, other times Jesus gives us “great calm” without calming the actual storm. Instead, Jesus gives us “great calm” so we can weather the storms in our lives. The storms rage but Jesus provides us a “great calm” during these storms. It is as if we are in the eye of a hurricane where everything is calm as the storm rages around us.
Jesus calms us through prayer, through meditation on his word, and reflection on Jesus’ place in our lives.
May Jesus give you peace (great calm) in the storms of your life.
Peace Lutheran Church
Mill Valley, California