Troubled times or difficulties in life have been part of humanity since our creation, whether we personally are going through times of trouble, or know someone who is. We can conclude that they are not the best of times, or fun at all. During difficult times, it is in our nature to look for support, guidance and leadership. Hopefully we have a strong spiritual and emotional support system to guide us.
As believers, we are not immune to any difficulties of life. Through many Bible passages we can find numerous stories of God’s people experiencing difficulties and traumatic times. All of those experiences can lead us to grow in our faith journey. Jesus Himself went through difficult times, and the disciples found themselves experiencing troubled times as well.
In Mark 4:35-41 and Matthew 8:23-27, we find a particular story that comes to mind: it is when the disciples found themselves in the midst of a big storm. There was an abrupt change in the weather. We know that some of the disciples were experienced sailors and skilled fisherman, and as experienced sailors, they had a good idea regarding whether it was safe to sail or not. We don’t have many of these exact details, but we can make the inference. One thing that is very clear in this Bible story is that the disciples were following Jesus, yet now they found themselves in the middle of a powerful storm. It was so powerful that fear gripped their hearts. Even though they were experienced fishermen and have faced storms before, they felt powerless. They needed support and guidance through this storm.
As a spiritual leader or as a pastor, you might find yourself right in the middle of these “storms.” You may be alarmed by troubled times like the disciples, or interrupted by someone else’s storm during your quiet time like Jesus. Troubled times are not fun. They can cause restless nights, they can shake your faith and values, or bring out your insecurities and even character flaws. They can also bring out the best and the worst in all of us.
Clear-minded guidance and leadership can be vital through many of life’s storms. As a spiritual leader, you might feel unprepared or even powerless like the disciples—unsure of what to do. Your faith might not be strong enough to speak against the storms or to calm them like Jesus did. But there are a few things we can learn from this wonderful story: as long as Jesus is in the boat with us, we will be ok. I might not have the faith to speak to the storm, but Jesus can—and He will. If you find yourself being awakened by someone’s storm, they could be overwhelmed by the bigger picture and their fear might take the best out of them, but don’t take it personally. Troubled times can push us to the limit, but no storm lasts forever, even though it may seem like it does. ∞
Byron Salguerro is a 3rd-year M.Div. student from Tijuana, Mexico. He is the pastor of Mision De Fe Church in Grandville, Michigan.