Week of January 26, 2007
by Max Lucado
The following is excerpted from Chapter 13 of In the Eye of the Storm.
Download the entire chapter.
On Sundays I stand before a church with a three-point outline in my hand, thirty minutes on the clock, and a prayer on my lips. I do my best to say something that will convince a stranger that an unseen God still hears.
And I sometimes wonder why so many hearts have to hurt.
Do you ever get doubtstorms? Some of you don’t, I know. I’ve talked to you.
I think you are gifted. You are gifted with faith. You can see the rainbow before the clouds part. If you have this gift, then I won’t say anything you need to hear.
But others of you wonder...
You wonder if it is a blessing or a curse to have a mind that never rests. But you would rather be a cynic than a hypocrite, so you continue to pray with one eye open and wonder:
- about starving children
- about the power of prayer
- about the depths of grace
- about Christians in cancer wards
- about who you are to ask such questions anyway.
Tough questions. Throw-in-the-towel questions. Questions the disciples must have asked in the storm.
The light came for the disciples. A figure came to them walking on the water. It wasn’t what they expected. Perhaps they were looking for angels to descend or heaven to open. Maybe they were listening for a divine proclamation to still the storm. We don’t know what they were looking for. But one thing is for sure, they weren’t looking for
Jesus to come walking on the water.
“‘It’s a ghost,’ they said and cried out in fear” (Matthew 14:26).
And since Jesus came in a way they didn’t expect, they almost missed seeing the answer to their prayers.
And unless we look and listen closely, we risk making the same mistake. God’s lights in our dark nights are as numerous as the stars, if only we’ll look for them.
When the disciples saw Jesus in the middle of their stormy night, they called him a ghost. A phantom. A hallucination. To them, the glow was anything but God.
When we see gentle lights on the horizon, we often have the same reaction. We dismiss occasional kindness as apparitions, accidents, or anomalies. Anything but God.
“When Jesus comes,” the disciples in the boat may have thought, “he’ll split the sky. The sea will be calm. The clouds will disperse.”
“When God comes,” we doubters think, “all pain will flee. Life will be tranquil. No questions will remain.”
And because we look for the bonfire, we miss the candle. Because we listen for the shout, we miss the whisper.