The Wind and the Waves

My brother Charlie particularly enjoys hearing the wind rush around the corners of his house, bluster through the trees, send leaves scattering. He has heard some mighty boisterous wind the last couple of days and seen snow too, a nice thick fall in north Georgia. Several of my siblings and I very much like to hear the wind whistling around the corners. I think we inherited a love of the wind from my Dad. The only thing better to him than the sound of the wind was the sound of the surf crashing on the shore. He often commented that the wind blowing around our house reminded him of the ocean waves. (He had spent several years as a single young man homesteading on Cape Canaveral.)

Wind can be brutal, waves too. Recent tornadoes in midwest US destroyed lives, homes, whole communities. Constant wind on the seashore stunts the growth of palms, oaks and pines turning them into strange, yet beautiful silhouettes on the dunes. Every year we hear of folks killed when caught in a riptide. Hurricanes are a fierce and frightening force.

On a lighter side, wind can bring havoc to a picnic or a camping adventure. My husband and I often remember the strong wind on a Saskatchewan prairie that blew our tent right down on our faces. Walking along high cliffs of the Oregon shore we felt we would be blown down to the sea lions on rocks below. A sign in a gift shop read, “Yes, the wind always blows here.”

I say I love to hear the wind. But that doesn’t mean that I enjoy driving in a storm. I enjoy seeing the moods of the ocean. But I would not want to be in a ship battling to stay afloat in a cyclone or typhoon. Reading about them is as close as I want to get.

One of the very best storm stories is the account in the Gospels where Jesus went to sleep in a boat on the Sea of Galilee and a violent storm came up suddenly. The disciples were terrified and shook Jesus awake. “Don’t you even care that we’re about to die?” they asked. Jesus stood up and calmly spoke to the sea as if talking to an over wrought child. “Peace, be still,” He said. The storm quieted instantly. Then He chided the disciples for having so little faith. They should have known their Master would take care of them. The disciples were suddenly fearful in a different way. “Who is this who even tells the wind and the waves what to do?” (paraphrased)

No, I don’t want to be in a storm, I just want to listen to them while staying safe inside. I don’t want to be in a storm but if I am, I know that now, as that day on the Sea of Galilee, Jesus can calm the tempest whether it’s an actual tornado or a figurative storm in my life, although in His infinite wisdom He may not choose to. He has purposes I know not of. Just as the wind and the waves change the trees on the shore, God may have designs to resculpt me too. But do I really trust Him to hold my hand through the wind and the waves? Or am I, like the disciples, filled with fear?

I do love to hear the wind rustling in the trees. I greatly enjoy watching and listening to the waves constantly chase each other to shore. One thing I love so much about them both is that they remind me of the strength of God. If He can speak to the wind and the waves and instantly calm them, then He is strong enough to see us through any kind of storm.

And he arose and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. Mark 4:39

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