Ever notice how drawn we can be to news coverage of disastrous events?
- There’s a mass shooting.
- A volcano erupts in Hawaii.
- There’s a tsunami in Indonesia.
- A major hurricane hits the east coast.
And the world is at our fingertips. We’re right there, phone in hand, checking out the coverage, watching for updates, educating ourselves in all things “disaster”. We feel compelled to stare at the aftermath. Why this big fascination with tragic events… this fascination with the storm?
I think part of it is that events like this happen to real-life people in real-life situations that are out of their control, and it tugs at our natural tendency toward empathy. And yet as we watch or read about it, we remain in control. We can turn off the coverage any time we want.
But sometimes we can’t. There is a stormy trial in our personal lives, and suddenly we are no longer in control and we are living in the aftermath. We feel unprepared. How easy it is in moments like that to do the same thing and become resident experts in all things “trial”.
We play the particulars of our situation over and over in our minds. We wish we hadn’t said or done “X” and that we had said or done “Y.” We imagine all of the worst case scenarios and all of the “what ifs.” We lose sleep. We plan our course of action. We muster our meager resources. We spend hours watching the events of our lives unfold with a growing, gnawing sense of anxiety.
Trials are hard. We can often feel storm-tossed and surrounded. What we really need in those moments is to steep ourselves in all things “God”. We need to remember that we are not alone. We need to remember that Jesus is with us. In the Matthew 8 account of the disciples in the boat when a storm came up, the disciples were terrified by the ferocity of the wind and waves. They assumed they would perish, not even considering the fact that Jesus was right there in the boat with them. (Spoiler alert… Jesus helped them!)
Jesus is in the boat with us too, but our awareness of him may be minimal because we’ve focused way more attention on our storm.
What we stare at will become big in our eyes. How much better to fix our gaze firmly on the One who is able to help us. In Psalm 127:1 the Psalmist declared, “I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth.”
Isaiah 41:10 tells us, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
How much better to walk through a storm with this in view. Our Savior’s help is real and tangible. The storm does not need to define us, but rather we are defined by the grace and hope that we have in Christ.