Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!” (Matthew 8:23-27 ESV)
So, here I am, asked to resign and seeking a new call. Many would say that that is a pretty big storm, but Christ has carried me and my family through so far and I don’t expect things to be any different in the future. Now the reasons for this I will not fully address in this post, but eventually as I decompress I will share, maybe. The reality is that issues will always arise in life, especially if you are doing that which God calls you to do. There are many challenges which face the Church and the sad reality is that many congregations don’t face these challenges well. Facilities, bills, and the like often become central to the “business” of the church and the true business we are called to become muddled or lost. God is a providential God, he creates everything and has provided everything and is so powerful that all he must do is speak and whatever he says happens. That for me is amazing. The most difficult thing is to trust him completely when the storms are raging as the wind howls and things are in chaos all around. I can relate with the disciples in that boat as the waves crash against it and water begins to pour in. It’s easy to feel like God is not aware of your circumstances, but we have an all-knowing and all-powerful God that loves us and is truly good. He is a good father and will always provide for our needs. I have experienced this in my own life and, though I have to remind myself, I trust in him wholeheartedly. I don’t believe that what happened was his desire, but out of it good he can provide an outcome better than I could imagine. You see in the midst of the storm he is there just as much as he is in the calm. The business of the “church” is the same as it was when Jesus walked with us, the same as when the apostles were proclaiming the Gospel, the same it has been for generations and will be for generations, the proclamation of the Gospel in its purity and the right administration of the Sacraments. It isn’t about budgets, attendance, or all the things that often seem to fill our time in discussions as I have known them in council meetings. Those are all important also, but they are of secondary importance, what should be of primary importance is the continued growth in faith through the study of the Gospel and through prayer as we seek out the guidance of the Holy Spirit. If we keep those things in primary focus the secondary things will be much easier to take care of in our congregations because in those things the Holy Spirit is present. As we seek these things out the storms of the world will have less impact in the safe harbor of the church as the calming words of our Lord fill our hearts and give the storm less quarter in the hearts of all who belong to him. What the disciples hadn’t yet learned and would not know until they were given the Holy Spirit is that when Christ is present we are safe and the dangers of the world can not truly harm us in the eternal sense. Sin and shame have no power as we lay it all down at his feet. The law is powerless because we have new life given to us in Jesus Christ.