the storms that SHAKE us most severely, SHAPE us most significantly
Read James 1:2-4
Many of us can think of one friend who was always proposing bad ideas. He was the kid your mom didn’t want you hanging around, and you knew his suggestions were going to lead to heartache and pain. I wonder if that’s the way the disciples felt about Jesus. There are several times when we read about Jesus telling the disciples to do something only to result in trouble. In Luke 8:22, Jesus tells the disciples to get in the boat and go across the lake at night. During the night, as they’re sailing to the other side of the lake, a massive storm came upon them. I wonder if the disciples wondered aloud, “Whose idea was this, anyway? That’s right, it was Jesus’ idea. Bad idea, Jesus.”
In that moment, many questions must have risen in the disciples’ minds. First, did Jesus know this was going to happen? Second, why had Jesus put them in a position that evoked such fear and turmoil? Finally, was Jesus going to do something about it? There are times when we have similar questions for God. The storms in life feel like an unexpected sickness. They feel like a future that’s been ripped from us. They feel like uncertainty and vulnerability. The problem with the storm is that we’re completely out of control and at the mercy of the wind and the waves – and the God who stands over it all. We often lament the storm, but God views storms as part of his toolbox and his workshop. The storms that shake us most severely, often shape us most significantly.
Jesus tells the disciples to go across the lake knowing the storm is coming because he wants to teach them something. He designs the trial so that their lives will be refined and their faith will be strengthened. The book of James reiterates this point by saying, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:2-4). Trials and storms are one of the ways God strengthens our faith. However, simply going through trials doesn’t shape us. Faithfully walking through trials is what develops and strengthens our faith. Jesus’ seemingly “bad ideas,” are the ones prepared to mold us into his image. Maybe what we perceive as ‘bad ideas’ are God’s method of helping us become more like Him.
Reflection and Response
Take a few minutes to reflect back on a time when Jesus led you directly into a storm. Praise him for the storm and praise him for what he shaped in you because of it.
By Ryan Paulson