The Unexpected Storm
Dateline: Snowbird, Utah – Friday, 24 March 2023. We knew it was going to be cold and snowy when my sons and I left Dylan’s place to drive up the mountain to ski. Unfortunately, that would not be our only complicating factor--a binding on Danny’s snowboard broke as we were about to get on our first lift. Dylan tried for 45 minutes to repair it, snow falling heavily, with no luck. ‘Hey Mom, we’ll go rent a board for him--go catch a lap … we’ll meet you back out here,’ he said.
Yeah, okay, so I took a lap. I’d be lying if I said I enjoyed it--visibility was very poor, and the powder was deep. I kinda prayed my way down the mountain, then headed inside for something hot to eat. The seating area was packed but I was able to beg an empty seat at a table where a couple guys were working on their laptops, one on a Zoom call. Funny stuff. Within 15 minutes, my boys walked through the door, saying all the lifts were closed. Several more minutes, and there was an Interlodge1 order. Wait, a what? Interlodge. The ski resort conditions were dangerous, lightning at the top of the mountain, and then a 300-foot avalanche covered the Snowbird highway. As a result, interlodge--we were confined to the dining area, a misdemeanor if we left the building.
Wall-to-wall people, some stretching out on the floor, trying to sleep… others doing crazy things to while away the time. ‘When would the road open? When would they let us out?’ Getting locked down had not been part of the plan when we headed out that morning; after a five-plus hour lockdown, it was almost dark when we got to the car to drive down.
A good metaphor for life, isn’t it? We expect bumps in the road--we do not expect the road to be closed. Unexpected storm.
Several weeks ago, my group in Israel ran headlong into an unexpected storm on the Sea of Galilee. We stepped off the dock onto a boat under partly cloudy skies, but less than 10 minutes later, a strong wind came up, whitecaps formed, and it started raining--the cold wind driving the rain sideways into the boat. Dang, it was cold!
Unexpected storms. When they came your way, how did you do?
Unexpected storms. If you haven’t encountered one, you will.
Unexpected storms. Perhaps you are in one now. How to weather it…
Remember, friend, you can turn to God for direction, resolution, strength, and comfort in the middle of a storm.
This familiar story is a great reminder:
It is nightfall - our Lord has had a full day, and once again, he heads for the water. The gospel writer Mark is our guide. "He said to them, [his disciples] “Let’s go over to the other side.” After dismissing the crowd, they took Him along with them in the boat, just as He was; and other boats were with Him. And a fierce gale of wind developed, and the waves were breaking over the boat so much that the boat was already filling with water. And yet Jesus Himself was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” And He got up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Hush, be still.” And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm. And He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?” They became very much afraid and said to one another, “Who, then, is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?” Mark 4.35-41
Listen to me--no matter our storm, we are not in it alone.
No matter your storm, you are not in it alone.
The One who is with us has power over the wind and the sea…the snow and the mountain. Like the disciples, we too must call on Him! As the psalmist wrote, "Trust in Him at all times, you people;
Pour out your hearts before Him;
God is a refuge for us." 2
He is not caught off guard nor is he caught by surprise.
The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.3
Unexpected storms in life are a given, but we have a Shelter in the storm. His name is Jesus.
The Footsteps of Jesus in the gospel of Mark, 15
2 – Psalm 62.8
3 – Deuteronomy 31.8
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