“ What on earth is going on? We’re way behind schedule, we’re way off target, we’re losing money and drowning in paper work.” It can be a team, an individual or a whole company which is in trouble. Sometimes it feels as if everything is going wrong at once (even if the truth is that it’s only several things!). You get that sinking feeling –we’re not going to make it – we’re going under here.
It can be just for a day – often it’s several; it seems like a lifetime.
The typical British euphemism is – “we’re going through a rough patch at the moment but we’ll pull through. In the meantime brace yourselves for a bumpy ride”.
When scenes like this are played out at work the image of the storm is rather appropriate. But which kind of storm and what is going on? Paul, Jonah and Jesus faced severe storms in the course of their work. The water was equally cold, the wind as biting and the rain as torrential but the reasons were very different.
Paul was in a storm because he was right in the centre of Gods will for his life: serving Gods purposes and fulfilling His mission. Jonah was in a storm because he was running away from God and trying to hide from His purposes and duck His mission. Jesus’ storm seemed like a devilish murder attempt; some supernatural terrorist attack designed to destroy the life of the Son of God.
The water, the wind and the rain may be very unpleasant but it makes a huge difference if you know why something is happening. For one thing you know whether to bail out, cry out or jump out. For another you may know which way to steer. You probably already know whether you’re serving God, running away or fighting a battle. It may help you to know that God is never taken by storm. For the record, Paul, Jonah and Jesus… they all survived in the end.
1 The word of the LORD came to Jonah son of Amittai: 2 “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.” 3 But Jonah ran away from the LORD and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the LORD.4 Then the LORD sent a great wind on the sea, and such a violent storm arose that the ship threatened to break up. 5 All the sailors were afraid and each cried out to his own god. And they threw the cargo into the sea to lighten the ship. But Jonah had gone below deck, where he lay down and fell into a deep sleep. 6 The captain went to him and said, “How can you sleep? Get up and call on your god! Maybe he will take notice of us, and we will not perish.” 7 Then the sailors said to each other, “Come, let us cast lots to find out who is responsible for this calamity.” They cast lots and the lot fell on Jonah. 8 So they asked him, “Tell us, who is responsible for making all this trouble for us? What do you do? Where do you come from? What is your country? From what people are you?” 9 He answered, “I am a Hebrew and I worship the LORD, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the land.” 10 This terrified them and they asked, “What have you done?” (They knew he was running away from the LORD, because he had already told them so.) 11 The sea was getting rougher and rougher. So they asked him, “What should we do to you to make the sea calm down for us?”
Mark 4:35- 38
35That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” 36Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 37A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”
Acts 27:13-20 (for best results read the whole chapter)
13When a gentle south wind began to blow, they thought they had obtained what they wanted; so they weighed anchor and sailed along the shore of Crete. 14Before very long, a wind of hurricane force, called the “northeaster,” swept down from the island. 15The ship was caught by the storm and could not head into the wind; so we gave way to it and were driven along. 16As we passed to the lee of a small island called Cauda, we were hardly able to make the lifeboat secure. 17When the men had hoisted it aboard, they passed ropes under the ship itself to hold it together. Fearing that they would run aground on the sandbars of Syrtis, they lowered the sea anchor and let the ship be driven along. 18We took such a violent battering from the storm that the next day they began to throw the cargo overboard. 19On the third day, they threw the ship’s tackle overboard with their own hands. 20When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days and the storm continued raging, we finally gave up all hope of being saved.
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