I was taken aback by my physical and emotional reaction to what I saw. I had known all along it was coming, but when the day arrived, I got sick to my stomach and felt teary. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I stepped out of the house last week early Monday morning and looked up to see what the building crew had done. Part of my house was missing. (You can read here about how last year’s ice and snow caused our roof to partially collapse.)
What followed was a week of controlled chaos. A team of amazing builders worked quickly and precisely to beat a predicted rainstorm later in the week. The men worked hard, tore off old rafters, set new trusses, and cleaned up debris – always making sure that by the end of the day the section of the roof they had worked on was sealed.
I have never had to face the loss of a home or experience substantial damage to it, and I must admit that I have taken the roof over my head for granted. When I saw it partially gone I suddenly realized how dependent I have been on my comfort. I started to pray and asked the Lord to make my anxiety go away. I suddenly remembered the story in Mark 4:36-41 where Jesus calms the storm.
Jesus had been teaching His disciples through many parables during the day. Then, as evening set in, He invited them on a journey to learn one more lesson. I wonder if they felt a windstorm coming. I wonder if the trees were bending already and the leaves were rustling as Jesus asked His disciples to take Him across the lake. I wonder if the disciples looked at the sky and then looked at each other, shrugging their shoulders and then still pressed past the crowds into the boat. The story tells us that some time later, while they were on the lake, a great windstorm arose, and the waves crashed into the boat. The disciples became afraid and looked for their Master. They found Him asleep in the stern on a cushion.
In my prayer, I told the Lord about the impending storm at the end of the week and my worries about what a mess it would be if water got into the house. I imagined myself in the boat trying to wake Jesus up. I could almost feel my knees getting wet from kneeling in the wooden vessel in some fishy smelling water. I imagined myself rousing the Lord, trying to shake His holy feet and shoulders. “Can’t you see? Don’t you care?” My prayers felt like helpless questions rather than a naming and claiming session. I heard Him speak to his disciples,
“Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?”
The problem with my faith is that I confuse it with my feelings. I get scared, worried, confused, depressed, anxious, and impatient when I focus on what could happen. The enemy swoops in and feeds the fire of my emotions. But when I go to Jesus my feelings calm, and I become confident in who He is. I wonder if at the root of Jesus’ question was the fact that the disciples were focused on what they were feeling, “Why are you so afraid?” Maybe He was reminding them of what He had been explaining to them all day.
“Put your faith in Me!”
While construction is still in full force, while water still got in this week, while parts of our ceilings didn’t hold up, and while we are still taking care of our family in the middle of the chaos, Jesus remains Who He said He is. While my faith still is under construction, being tested and worked out, the Lord asks me to confidently trust Him. I do well to remind myself and my feelings about the things He said about Himself. Faith is an “assurance and a conviction of things I can not see.” (Hebrews 11:1). When I remember the the God of my faith, my feelings usually don’t lag too far behind.
“Lord, I get it wrong so many times. Please help me to look up, toward You, and and not down toward my feelings. You are the One Who Calms the Storm and knows what I need. You always will provide for the things I need. Thank You for being so patient with me.”
I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From where does my help come?
2 My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot be moved;
he who keeps you will not slumber.
4 Behold, he who keeps Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The Lord is your keeper;
the Lord is your shade on your right hand.
6 The sun shall not strike you by day,
nor the moon by night.
7 The Lord will keep you from all evil;
he will keep your life.
8 The Lord will keep
your going out and your coming in
from this time forth and forevermore.
(Pictures and devotional, Heidi Viars, 2019)