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In the same boat

Rosy Keane on clinging to God in the storm.
A red boat in a lake after a storm
Posted April 11, 2013

I’ve never been much affected by anxiety, stress and depression, but lately they’ve come on in an unrelenting onslaught and it’s all I can do to keep my head above water.

I’ve had to pray on the armour of God every morning (surely a good thing), and have been enlisting the prayers and petitions of friends (also a good thing), but still I’ve found myself despairing some nights about the day ahead. And whatever way you look at it, that’s never a good thing.

We like to read stories and testimonies of people who have fought and battled and won against adversity, mental exhaustion and emotional strain. It’s a harder thing to watch and be involved in a difficult situation that is not yet a success story.

I once heard a woman preacher tell how she had been covered in terrible hives throughout a traumatic pregnancy, and still is today. Her hives caused so much pain and irritation that she continually cried out to God for relief.

She began reading Mark chapter four—the story of when Jesus and his disciples got on a boat to cross to the other side of a lake and a ‘furious storm’ arose. She drew our attention to verse 36, which says ‘other little boats were also with him’.

The disciples’ boat wasn’t the only boat in peril. The disciples weren’t the only ones facing possible shipwreck and even death. Other little boats were nearby, and the people on those boats were looking to the disciples’ example and faith.

I re-read this story while in the middle of my own recent storm, and what struck me were the disciples’ cries as they awoke a sleeping Jesus.

‘Teacher! Do you not care that we are perishing?’ (I’m pretty certain these words would have been delivered with exclamation, force and sheer terror.)

Anxiety? Uh, we’re about to die, and Jesus is asleep.
Stress? Ah! We’re about to die, and Jesus is asleep!
Depression? We’re about to die. Oh, and Jesus is asleep.
Jesus then gets up, rebukes the wind and sea … and ‘there was a great calm’. After which, Jesus says to his disciples, ‘How is it that you have no faith?’

Jesus sees me.
Whether I think he does or not.

Other boats around me are rocked by the tides and may even sink. But there is a God, he is powerful and he is with me. And he is not willing to let me drown.

God is using me to anchor others, and God is using the storm to strengthen my faith.

God calls us to fight openly and sincerely against the powers of darkness in our world. He says we aren’t to grow weary of praying and doing good. God tells us to cast all our worries on him, because he cares for us.

I’m going to cling to that, because God has already made my life into a success story—he has written my name in his Book of Life.

And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Hebrews 12:1-3)

By Rosy Keane (abridged from War Cry, 6 April 2013, p3)