Listen: Chris Witts presents Morning Devotions. (Airing daily on Hope 103.2 and Inspire Digital at 9am)
The year 1945 is a long time ago. But for many who are a bit older, the show tune from the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Carousel will still be remembered today for the wonderful lyrics—”You’ll Never Walk Alone”.
First heard on Broadway, the song was an instant hit—perhaps because World War 2 had just ended and it spoke of triumph over adversity. It remained popular through the 1950s and in 1963 the Merseybeat band Gerry and the Pacemakers brought it alive. The song has a strong message of hope:
When you walk through a storm,
hold your head up high,
and don’t be afraid of the dark.
Walk on, walk on
with hope in your heart,
and you’ll never walk alone.
It has a strong and encouraging theme—that no matter what happens, you are never alone. Don’t be afraid because others are going through a similar experience to you. Storms of life are, sadly, a reality for each of us—when fear, doubt and questions will invade our thinking and disrupt our peace. But how are we supposed to walk on with hope in our heart
Where does it come from anyway? The Weather Bureau are pretty good at predicting storms. But the storms can blow in from anywhere—you can’t control the storms. You can put away your outside furniture to stop it blowing around and make sure the doors and windows are closed. But you have no control over its ferocity or timing. It will just hit.
Storms Come to Everyone
No-one is exempt from the storms and struggles of life. They will come when you least expect them. And you will need courage and perseverance. It has nothing to do with whether you are a religious person or not. Life is uncertain and plans you’ve made might be turned upside down. But I like this quote I read: “The storm you face is your teacher. The experience you gain is your lesson. The life you make from it all is your blessing’.
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The New Testament has a story of a dramatic storm in Luke 8. Jesus and the Apostles were in a small boat on the Sea of Galilee, which sits in a depression surrounded by mountains about 2,000 feet above sea level. The winds funnel down these mountains, and violent storms sometimes are the result. Some of the men in the boat were seasoned fishermen—they were used to unpredictable weather and sudden raging storms which hit that region.
But this was a super-storm. The waves were crashing into the boat and they were in fear of their lives. Jesus was asleep obviously exhausted from his day’s work, unaware of the danger. In sheer panic, the disciples woke Jesus up from his sleep, “Master, we are perishing”. Then Jesus calmed them—and the storm.
It was a miracle to control the elements. His men in the boat were astounded that he had the power over the angry sea. Did they really believe he was the Messiah? It seems not. They forgot that nothing is impossible to Jesus.
We sometimes talk about Corrie Ten Boom, the Dutch survivor of a concentration camp. She wrote the book The Hiding Place. A remarkable story of faith and courage. Later in life she toured the world, speaking to thousands of people. Often people would say, “Corrie, what great faith you have”. “No”, she replied. “It’s what a great God I have”.
Trusting God in Our Storms
The more we trust God in the storms, the more we know him and his amazing strength to help us. Some Sunday School songs stay in your mind like the one that says, “With Christ in the boat you can smile at the storm”. Not sure if that is really true—but I get the meaning. Trusting God helps calm the storm in our lives, so we can live in peace, even in the rough times.
Maybe today you are in the middle of a massive storm. The difficulties on your plate are too much—too hard to handle on your own. Jesus can take the darkest moment and turn it around in a way you thought couldn’t be done. He wants to take care of our problems—but we must rely on him. That’s what faith is all about. It does not mean you won’t face another storm—you may well do. It means you now have someone on board your boat who takes care of the winds and waves.
Yes, I’m not painting a rosy picture. Life can be cruel, with misfortune, grief, shame, or loss. Following Jesus does not give you immunity from troubles. But you have the experience of his peace in the middle of the storm. Jesus brings peace and calm to the struggles you face.
There’s a wonderful verse from the Bible in Matthew 6:34 (The Message):
Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.