By David Faust
Quick—where do the folow-ing words appear in the Bible? “He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the seawere hushed.” If you’re like me, you immediately think of the four Gospels, which tell the well-known story about how Jesus calmed a storm at sea. Surprisingly, however, those words were written centuries before Jesus walked the earth. They appear in Psalm 107:29 in a chapter that paints an honest picture of the ups and downs of life.
On the downside . . . sometimes God’s people wander in the desert (v. 4). They’re hungry and thirsty
(v. 5). They sit in darkness, chained in prison (v. 10). They endure bitter labor; they fall and no one is there to help (v. 12). They are “humbled by oppression, calamity and sorrow” (v. 39).
On the upside . . . sometimes God’s people “tell of his works with songs of joy” (v. 22). Sometimes God turns parched ground into flowing springs (v. 35), grants a fruitful harvest (v. 37), and lifts the needy out of their affliction (v. 41).
God deserves praise through all of life’s ups and downs. In all circumstances we can “give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind” (v. 21).
Surviving a Storm at Sea
Sailors face literal ups and downs on the ocean. “Some went out on the sea in ships; . . . They saw the works of the Lord, his wonderful deeds in the deep. For he spoke and stirred up a tempest that lifted high the waves. . . . in their peril their courage melted away. They reeled and staggered like drunkards; they were at their wits’ end” (vv. 23-27).
In the midst of a storm, prayer comes naturally. “Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and he brought them out of their distress. He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. They were glad when it grew calm, and he guided them to their desired haven” (vv. 28-30). Surely Jesus’ disciples remembered Psalm 107 after that terrifying night on the Sea of Galilee when they thought they were going to drown, but Jesus “rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm” (Matthew 8:26).
When it comes to sheer terror, few experiences can rival going through a storm at sea. From Daniel Defoe’s book Robinson Crusoe to Tom Hanks’ movie Cast Away, it makes a great story when someone survives a storm.
Surviving Our Storms
Most of us will never face a storm at sea, but we go through storms nonetheless—some of them severe.
You might be going through a storm right now. Your teenager has you at your wits’ end. You’re searching for work and coming up empty. The doctor tells you disturbing news. Your church is in turmoil. Your marriage is on the brink of disaster. Your boss is driving you
When his disciples went through the storm, they though they were
going to die. But one fact made all the difference: The Lord of life was in the boat with them.
He’s in the boat with us, too.
“Let the one who is wise heed these things and ponder the loving deeds of the Lord” (Psalm 107:43).
David Faust is president of Cincinnati Christian University, Cincinnati, Ohio, and past Executive Editor of The Lookout.
Use this guide to read through the Bible in 12 months. Follow David Faust’s comments on the highlighted text in every issue of The Lookout.
THE LOOKOUT’s Bible Reading Plan for May 13, 2012
2 Corinthians 10
1 Samuel 24, 25
2 Corinthians 11:1–15
1 Samuel 26—28
2 Corinthians 11:16–33
1 Samuel 29—31
2 Corinthians 12:1–10
2 Samuel 1, 2
2 Corinthians 12:11–21
2 Samuel 3, 4
2 Corinthians 13
2 Samuel 5—7