Friday, September 30, 2005

Storm Surge

Storm Surge

The boat rocked. Waves slapped its wooden hull. The men on board lunged with the craft, stances unsteady. Streaks of electricity split the charcoal skies, bringing the prospect of even more danger. One direct hit to the mast and they were going down.

The stormy night, beyond their control, spewed water into the hull of their boat. If a massive wave came along, no human strength could stop the boat from capsizing. Fishing nets they could mend and manage, but the roiling lake grabbed the fishermen’s imaginations and took them on a spin of terror.

The men clung to the boat’s rigging, hoping for the storm to abate. But the storm didn’t go away. Instead, their reasons for alarm increased when what seemed to be a ghost appeared above the water surface. They wanted the approaching phantom to disappear. Blinking water from their eyes, shaking their heads, they tried to banish the ghost from their vision.

The supposed apparition didn’t go away, but spoke to them with a familiar voice — the voice of Jesus. His soothing voice offered hope to his fishermen followers, “Take courage.”

His presence and words seemed to say, “I’m here now. Cheer up. I’ve got enough courage to go around, and besides all that, I control the fury of storms.” After identifying himself to his disciples, Jesus again urged them “Don’t be afraid. Then he climbed into the boat, and the wind died down. They were completely amazed” (Mark 6:50-51).

When the disciples thought they saw a ghost, they despaired, because false spirits create doubts and fear. Fear tends to over-cloud hope. Charles Hodge says, “Fear is the darkroom where negativity is developed.”

On the Gulf Coastline of Texas where we live, the term “storm surge” is in the news again. It means a productive landmass is temporarily overcome by seawater and robbed of normalcy. Storm surges or bad news can arrive at any time, due to weather, a bad health report, or a rumor of war.

The psalmist declared that when he called, God made him “bold and stouthearted” (138:3). He can and will do the same for today, no matter what is in the near future. Take a deep breath and exhale it in prayer, then take courage from the Savior. One of his specialties is climbing into rocking boats and calming storms.

You may contact Cathy Messecar at

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