The furious squall arose out of nowhere. The wind was blowing so hard it was difficult to stand up straight–let alone do anything else. The little boat bobbed up and down on the Sea of Galilee; its small metal roof offering almost no protection against the torrential rain that was coming down in great, diagonal sheets …
No, this isn’t a story straight out of the Bible. This particular storm on the Sea of Galilee occurred just five years ago. We were on one of the “worship boats”–a small group of boats that take visitors to Israel onto the Sea of Galilee for a time of peaceful reflection and worship. But there wasn’t a lot of worship happening on this particular boat. And certainly there wasn’t anything resembling peaceful reflection. Really, we were just trying to survive without too much damage!
I was disappointed. It wasn’t supposed to be this way. I had a small group with me and it was the first time in Israel for each of them. That ride on the Sea of Galilee had been a highlight the first time I came to Israel. I was sad my little group wouldn’t get to experience the peace and tranquility of spending time with Jesus in that idyllic–and spiritually significant–place.
Even though everyone was just a little bummed, we got through it with our sense of humor intact. Although we would have liked that day to have been different, it did make for a great story. Ultimately, we were all able to look back with gratitude on the many positive parts of our trip.
Flash forward to the present. Last month I had the opportunity to bring another little group to Israel. Once again, it was the first trip for several in our group. Once again, we made arrangements to spend some time on the Sea of Galilee on one of those marvelous little worship boats. And, once again, the weather wasn’t looking good the day before our scheduled boat ride.
I had been praying about this specific day long before we left the States–you can bet I started praying even more once I saw the clouds and rain move in! Yet when I woke up the next morning, the weather was still wet and gloomy.
I was disappointed. Again. I was just about ready to cancel our reservation. Who wanted to go out on a boat just to get soaked and chilled to the bone? I had so wanted this group to be able to experience the amazing peace of his presence on that beautiful lake. I had been sure he would make a way for us. Maybe if I canceled, we could reschedule and fit it in some other time before we left the area …?
As I was mulling over the possibilities, heaven seemed to intervene. The clouds parted and the sun suddenly appeared! I was thrilled! We would be able to stick to the original plan. In no time, we were happily riding off to the dock.
(Why does there always seem to be a “but”?)
The sun didn’t last. We got to the boat. We set out to sea. But as soon as we left the shore–the clouds came. The wind came. And the rain came.
But … (yep, there’s a “but” here, too) … this time it was different. I had prayed so much about this particular day, that something rose up within me. Something in me would not be denied. I wasn’t about to let some stupid storm kill my joy. I wasn’t about to let some stupid storm rob my team of the opportunity to encounter Jesus on that lake. I wasn’t about to let some stupid storm steal a single thing he wanted us to experience that day. So yeah, it may have looked like the same storm on the outside, but …
This time it was a different kind of storm.
Oh it was just as wet. It was just as dark and cold. And, honestly, it was just as inconvenient. But it was still different. It was different because …
We worshiped right through the storm.
We laughed. We danced. We shouted. And we sang–long and loud. Heck, I even preached a bit. The crew thought we were mad. And we were. We were madly in love with Jesus and we didn’t care who knew.
Obviously, I didn’t want to face another storm that day. Most people don’t. When you’ve gritted your teeth and made it through a few; when you’ve done your best to survive without too much damage and with your sense of humor intact–the last thing you want to do is head into another one.
But have you noticed that storms have a way of coming around whether they are wanted or not?
And since they do, you might as well …Laugh … Dance … Shout … and sing your way right through the storm.
When you worship your way through the storm, it’s possible to find yourself in the midst of a storm where you not only survive, but actually …
Because that’s what happens in a different kind of storm. Or maybe, more accurately, that’s what happens when you’re different in the storm.
Oh, and by the way–this time–before we got off the boat …
The sun came out.