I sincerely love the smell of the rain. I know I’m not actually smelling “rain” but rather the chemicals and oils given off by spores and plants as well as the ozone…But still it sounds prettier to say “the smell of rain” than “the smell of ozone and byproducts of living organisms”. There is something alluring about rain. Everything about it is wonderful to me. I love storms…big powerful scary storms filled with lots of thunder and lighting…small drizzles of rain that cast a gloominess into the whole day. I love it. All of it. The rain makes me want to drink coffee and read a book…or write a novel…I feel pensive when it rains.
Growing up on a farm I learned early on that rain represented life and death. Without it crops would die. Too much and crops would die. Rain was fickle, beautiful, and ultimately unpredictable. Sure you could memorize weather patterns and figure out if there was a chance of rain, but ultimately there was nothing you could do to make it rain any more or less. It did want it wanted and when. It’s things like rain that remind me how small and mortal I am. All life is at the mercy of the rain…
But more than rain I love that I serve a God who can command the rain. I love the history of Jesus and the disciples out on the water in the middle of the storm. In Sunday School the story was often told like they were in a small row boat in a light rain. But this view diminishes the extraordinary display of power and sovereignty that Jesus exhibited. This was no ordinary storm…no small rain cloud. Several of the disciples were fishermen by trade. What that meant was they spent their lives on the water, lived and breathed the air of the sea. They were no strangers to squalls, and they certainly couldn’t afford to be timid of them or they would never make a living as fishermen. These were seasoned sailors who knew the difference between a “storm” and a hurricane like one. They respected the rain and weather patterns. They knew when it was safe to “weather” a storm and when they needed to return to land. For these disciples to cry “Don’t you care we are going to drown?” shows just how intense of a storm they were in. They were terrified…This implies the magnitude of the danger they were in. These experienced fisherman were in perhaps the worst storm of their lives…and Jesus was sleeping. SLEEPING!
Can I just pause there for a second…..Jesus was SLEEPING…. I’ve already said how much I love storms and how magically peaceful the rain is to me….but in a hurricane like storm I assure you my adrenaline would be flowing, with both excitement and danger….I would NOT be able to sleep in the midst of the howling winds, pounding rain, and crashing thunder….
I believe the reason Jesus was able to sleep so soundly despite what was happening around him was because of the trust and security he had in the Father. He knew that he was ALWAYS in the Father’s hands. Whether he lived or died he simply trusted his Father to be with him…It doesn’t mean he trusted that God would always “save him” in the same sense we think of “saving”. I think it meant he knew he was never alone…and if you’re truly never alone and life is more than just the breath on this earth what is there really to fear?…but I digress….back to the story of the storm….
We now have the scene; a massive hurricane like storm where experienced sailors are sure they won’t survive the night. They awaken Jesus as a last resort and Jesus calmly says “Peace be still” and the winds and the waves stop. I often try to imagine what life would be like as a character in these histories and how I would feel. In that moment I can assure you I would have felt more terror at the instantly eerie calm than I had during the winds…For no one other than a god could calm such a storm in such a way. I would have felt the weight of his sovereignty and my mortality in that moment. And then the terror would fade into a wonderful compulsion to worship this man who could calm the storms….
I don’t know why God allows certain storms…both in creation and in our lives…I don’t know why he doesn’t always speak “Peace” into the chaos and destruction we face…But I do know that I serve a God who can. For some, this sparks the question not of God’s sovereignty, but of his love. How could a God of love allow the storms in our lives…and perhaps we can tackle that question at a later post..but for me I have always felt that this question is irrelevant in response to God’s existence. God doesn’t have to be a loving God to be a Sovereign God. I worship him because he exists and because he is the One True God. The fact that I believe he also loves me makes my worship of him sweeter and more wonderful, but it isn’t the criteria for which I decide whether to worship him or not. I worship and serve him because he is Lord of all creation. I love him because he also first loved me….