“…a fierce storm…”


“Suddenly a fierce storm hit the lake, and the boat was in danger of sinking.  But Jesus was asleep.” (Matthew 8:24)

Last Wednesday I stopped long enough to snap this photo right before I went into our local television station to do an interview on the 5:00PM news.  About ten minutes later I watched out a window as one of the hardest hailstorms I have ever witnessed rushed through the area.  I fully expected to go out after the interview and find my car cratered like the moon.  (Thankfully there was no damage.)

I’ve been through several storms in my life both personally and professionally.  Looking back, I realize I’ve been pelted by some pretty hard emotional/spiritual pellets at various times.  Early in my career as a minister, during one particular storm that overwhelmed me about as quickly as this front in the photo moving through last Wednesday, I remember leaning against a tree in the woods all by myself (except for the cold body of one of my youth group members lying a few feet away) and praying (screaming) to God, “I quit.”

I’m certain there was quite a lot of screaming when the disciples found Jesus asleep in the boat during a raging, life-threatening storm.  Surviving in a storm can be messy and intense.  Our prayer life may even reflect the messiness and intensity of our situation with outcries of pain and suffering.  Don’t worry, God can handle our intensity and messiness!

When the disciples cried out to the sleeping Jesus in the midst of the storm, he heard them and spoke to their need.  When I shouted out to God, “I quit,” in the midst of my storm, God heard me and spoke to my need.  I heard God’s voice offer me peace, hope, patience, and challenge.  I’m still a minister and pastoral counselor some 30 years after that storm, so obviously, God got me through that storm and several others.

Philosophers, theologians, and the rest of us have debated for centuries and centuries about why “storms” (i.e. “bad things”) happen.  For now I have decided that my simple answer to that question is, “I don’t know.  Someday I plan to ask God face to face.”  Until then here’s what I can tell you about storms.  First, God hears us in the midst of them.  Knowing that I’m “heard” means more than I can describe in this simple offering.  Suffice it to say that being heard gives me the encouragement I need to get through the storm.  That brings me to the second thing I do know about storms.  God gets us through.  That’s what I’ve found, and that’s what I’m sharing!

I pray that God will help me share the Good News:  God hears us in the storms and God gets us through the storms!  How about you?

Blessings and Peace,
Pastor, Sand Hill United Methodist Church
Boaz, West Virginia

Help save lives! For more information on my new book, “A Relentless Hope: Surviving the Storm of Teen Depression,” visit

Check out my new video, “Teens Surviving the Storm”


~ by revgenelson on March 30, 2011.

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