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"Stay Seated"

"Let us cross over to the other side"

Mark 4:35

I have lost count how many times the Lord has brought this story to mind to encourage myself and others who are facing the storms of this life. As I read and re-read the account of Mark's gospel I am reminded that, "The calm water is where you are at, not where you are going. The calm is in the boat with Jesus as He is the only one who can truly calm the storms we all face." 

For the last couple of weeks now, in email after email I continue to point the sender to Jesus as they struggle with all the "why" questions that surround a marriage that appears to be ending in divorce leaving them with a myriad of unanswered questions and possibilities of what could have been. In moments like this we all feel lost. Lost between our hopes and dreams for the future and the pain of knowing all the rowing in the world is not going to bring you to your desired destination.

Like a rafting guide on a well known run of a river, I am fully aware that the raft this person who has been reaching out to me is in is heading for rough water and as I ponder the pain that comes with memory the Lord brought to mind a quote from the book, "A Grace Disguised" which was written by a man who lost his mother, wife and daughter in a head-on car collision. If anyone understood the hurt and heartache of being seemingly lost at sea between two ports it was this man. In the book he wrote about the struggle of trying to make sense out of the tragedy, he penned these words, "Loss creates a barren present, as if one were sailing on a vast sea of nothingness. Those who suffer loss live suspended between a past for which they long and a future for which they hope." Anyone who suffers the loss of a loved, be it in an accident or a divorce knows that same emptiness, the same nothingness.

Though its difficult for the one suffering the pain of an impending divorce to see good in the current situation I find myself continually writing, "things will get better" to them for the simple fact as believers we know how our story will ultimately end. It does get better because Jesus promised us it would!

In verse 41 of Mark's gospel in chapter 4 the story ends as the storm subsides and the disciples reasoned among themselves, "Who can this be that even the wind and the sea obey Him?" What the disciples were beginning to learn in their lives is what you and I who follow Christ are learning in our lives too. The destination isn't heaven; the destination is Jesus! The storm they were in served to be a reminder that God is greater than our storms and that safety isn't reaching the other side, safety is the One who is in the boat with you, even in the middle of your storm. Safety, security and destiny are all found in Jesus.

In the book of 1 Thessalonians, the apostle Paul reminds us in chapter 4 that at the rapture of the church when Jesus comes in the clouds, (keep watching the clouds) we will be taken up to meet the Lord in the air and we will be together with Him forever! Not heaven, its better than that. We have been saved for a Savior! We get to be with Jesus forever! That's heaven, that's the goal of our lives, to be with Jesus and the really good news for us is it doesn't begin when we die, it begins right here right now… in the midst of the very storm we find ourselves currently facing. To those of you who are in the midst of one of life's greatest storms today remember this! Jesus is in the boat… that is if we invite Him in or better stated, we get in the boat with Him to where He is leading and stay seated. 

There is even good news for those of us who have launched our boat without extending an invitation to Jesus to join us. He knows how to walk on water to come to where we are, because it was Jesus who promised to never leave you nor forsake you. If you find yourself being tossed to a fro on the sea of despair today invite Jesus into the boat as His presence is what calms even the roughest sea. Peace can always be found where God is.

I felt the Lord reminding me again this morning that we who are in Christ are not a ship stranded between two ports, though it does feel like that at times and is why we are called to walk by faith and not by feelings. The truth is, loved one, we are not lost in the sea of life as the world around us is. We are however on a journey and Jesus is with us, right there in the boat, He is right there with us, as He has ALWAYS been right by our side. Yes, we will go through storms in this life but we never have to go through them alone. The lesson we need to learn today is when the storms of life hit, and they will, allow the winds of the storm to push you to Jesus, for when you reach Jesus you've reached the destination God had desired all along, for when we reach Jesus we have made it safely home! Yes, loved one, the destination is secure making it possible for us to have joy in our journey's, even in the midst of the storm.

"You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore."

Psalms 16:11


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