Then Jesus got into the boat and started across the lake with his disciples. Suddenly a terrible storm came up, with waves breaking into the boat. But Jesus was sleeping.” Matthew 8:23-24 (NLT)
Today’s devotional is by Tom Holladay, teaching pastor at Saddleback Church and author of ‘The Relationship Principles of Jesus.’
If you are going to deal with worry and anxiety, the first thing you have to do is face reality.
In Matthew 8, we see the reality of the situation that Jesus and the disciples faced. What they went through shows us the reality of what we have to face when life doesn’t go the way we plan.
- They faced a sudden storm. This is a picture for us of unexpected problems. We often don’t know what direction a problem is going to come from or where we will be when it hits.
If you build your life around the belief that you’ll be okay this year as long as nothing goes wrong, you’re going to lose. Because something will always go wrong.
- They faced waves. Waves in our life are overwhelming circumstances. For the disciples, the waves in the midst of the storm were higher than their boat. They had overwhelming circumstances. And the same thing happens to us. A storm hits our life and the circumstances of it leave us wondering, “How am I going to face that?”
- They had a boat. This is a picture for us of inadequate resources. The boat wasn’t big enough to hold the waves that were coming. We face the same situation.
If only we had all the money in the world, then everything would be fine. But we don’t. If only we had all the time in the world, then everything would be fine. But we don’t. That’s just reality, and saying anything else is a lie.
- Jesus was asleep in the boat. Here were the disciples in the midst of a storm and almost ready to drown, and Jesus, the one they knew could make a difference, was asleep.
This is a picture of how many of us feel when we are facing a genuine problem in life. We don’t know what to do or where to turn, and we know God knows what we’re going through. The worse it gets, the more we wonder, “God, where are you in all of this? Why don’t you do something to change the situation?”
The question is how can we keep from worrying when life is overwhelming and it feels like God is slow in answering?
Anxiety wears you out and it shortens your life, but if you have no other answers, you are going to keep worrying. Many people think the answer to worry is to somehow pretend that there is nothing to worry about. But the only way to deal with worry effectively is to face reality and then choose to face reality with faith.
My comment to Warren’s devotional: Interestingly enough, 2 nites ago I had a dream w/my spouse & myself high up in a boat during extremely bad weather (unexpected problems) watching an acquaintance below swimming back & forth, fighting the waves (overwhelming circumstances). This is all I remember, this one picture frame, & it lingered in the back of my mind–I didn’t think Rick Warren’s devotional from that same day would bring the interpretation my mind sought–which is to say, I face my reality daily, but I must consciously do this, with faith.
Thanks Julia for sharing with us once again!