In life we consistently encounter storms. Some are big. Some are small. The truth for me is that I seem to always be walking into a storm, through a storm, or out of a storm. I think this is the case for any person who is actually living. I actually would argue that if you haven’t seen a storm in a while then you probably aren’t doing too much.
The disciples were in a boat in the middle of a lake in the middle of a raging storm that for all intents and purposes was going down really quickly. How many of you have been similar storms? Life is raging and you are going down. In the midst of this storm, Jesus appeared and declared, “I’m here.” The storm calmed, the lightening stopped and the waves subsided…all with one phrase, “I’m here.” How often do people simply need to hear that one phrase “I’m here” to calm their storm?
Yesterday, a few of us marched in the North Texas State Fair Parade. For most of the other marchers and floats, this was a time of joyous carefree celebration. This was not the case for me. I am privy to too many of the emails and phone calls that our church gets. I guess I know enough to be afraid.
One of the more difficult moments in the parade for me came when we were about to reach The Denton Square. There might have been upwards of a thousand or more people standing out there. This was the height of my anxiety.
I saw a tremendous amount of unfriendly faces and I knew that the announcer was about to call out our name. I looked around at the people from our church that were marching with me and gave thanks for their presence. I didn’t want to let anyone else know that I was afraid. The silence was deafening.
The announcer called out, “The Church At Mable Peabody’s…a church for all people that loves all people.” For a brief moment, there was silence. Then, scattered throughout the crowd there was intermittent loud applause, cheers, and words of approval. For me, these individuals were Jesus. In the midst of the storm of my anxiety, these individuals had the courage to say, “I’m here.”
When I arrived home after the parade, there was a message on the church’s Facebook page from a young lady. She wrote:
“I saw your church in the parade this morning. I wanted to thank you for marching. In spite of the many storms in my life, it is nice to know that God is still speaking and standing with the oppressed.”
For the young lady, by marching in the parade…The Church at Mable Peabody’s loudly declared, “I’m here.”
Jesus calmed the storm with mere presence.
May we never stop doing the same.