Storms and Celebrations

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Two years ago, in October, I headed to Myrtle Beach for a friend’s wedding. My days were perfectly planned out: we had a great place to stay on the beach, we would prep for the wedding and have a great weekend celebrating some new friends. Weddings are great, however Hurricane Season is not.

As Hurricane Joaquin developed, so did new plans. We would eventually move the wedding just hours before to the warehouse where their church regularly meets. However the night before is when the storm showed it’s strength, picked up speed, and brought along a storm surge which would result in me swimming in three feet of water just to get to the twelve flights of stairs I would need to climb to refuge for the next two days.

The last several weeks we have experienced absolute chaos centered around storms. We had an evacuation call, a retracted call, the storm moved, and now we see developments of new storms appearing on the map. I’m over the storms. I just am. I would like to opt out of participating in any hurricanes for the rest of the year.

There’s a story that I love in the bible and it takes place in a storm, not unlike the ones we’ve experienced lately. I love the story because I love Peter. Peter is a disciple of Jesus and the most impulsive one. After Jesus performs a miracle, He sends His friends out fishing so He can have some alone time (I see you, introverts).

A storm hits that just about knocks these guys out of the boat. When all of the sudden they see Jesus walking over the wind and waves toward them. Because walking on water is totally normal. Peter is the kind of guy who jumps first and asks questions later, and he asks Jesus to call him out of the boat. Jesus does and Peter is doing great, only to drop when he begins to focus on the fact THAT HE IS WALKING ON WATER BECAUSE WHAT IS HAPPENING PEOPLE DON’T DO THAT THIS IS NOT NORMAL.

The story is so often used to highlight the fact that Peter doubts Jesus and we should never doubt and blah blah blah. Sorry, while that’s not necessarily an untrue statement, can we just talk about that fact that Peter was brave enough to get out of the boat in the first place? Can we talk about the fact that there is a full blown storm happening? When storms happen in my life I want to curl up on the couch, watch 7643567 movies and eat all of my hurricane snacks in one sitting.

Peter teaches us that we don’t have to be afraid of the storm when we worship the One who has the power to calm it.

The reality is, storms are coming. Physical, spiritual, emotional. As much as I want to pretend there won’t be another storm, there will be. It’s just how I handle it.

I think it looks like running to Jesus even when it looks dangerous or difficult to do so. I think we need to spend more time praying and reflecting on the storms and acknowledging that He is big enough to handle it and He will deal with it.

I think it looks like calling out and asking for help. This is so hard. Failure doesn’t make us want to be known, it makes us want to hide. Peter throws his hands in the air and calls out for help. Maybe he acted too soon. Maybe he failed. But instead of letting himself drown and dwell on his failures and the shame that comes with that, he calls out for help.

And I think it looks like celebrating the storm when it passes. That Hurricane Wedding was one of the most beautiful services I have ever attended. We had prayed so much leading up to that wedding. Praying for the storm to disappear. Praying for direction and hope. And I think at the end of the day they would tell you they wouldn’t change it for all of friends, fancy napkins and Cha Cha Slides on a dance floor in the world. What mattered was that God’s glory was shown and the Holy Spirit was ever so present.

THAT is the celebration we all deserve after a storm.

Storms come and they are coming. Some last a day, a week, or several years. But Jesus doesn’t run from storms and leave us to drown. He shows up and shows His glory.