The rain pounded and the wind howled, and all we could do was wait through the night, wondering how the storm might affect our newly acquired property. My family recently moved to a rural farmhouse and although we aren't stranded on a boat, the storms that have hit have been pretty intense. The morning following that first storm we ventured outside to find one of our tall and mighty double-trunked maples half-taken down by the gusts.
The storms of life come in much the same way, taking us unawares, and I find my initial response similar to that of the disciples in today's Gospel (Mark 4:35-41): Jesus, do You care? Do You care that I feel abandoned? That I’m scared? That I feel this storm is going to wipe me out completely? Do You care?
It turned out that the part of our tree that came down had been dead and diseased, weakening the tree as a whole. The storm actually did the tree a favor by pruning it, removing that part that no longer brought life.
Habitual sins, grudges I hold, and wounds that run deep over time blacken parts of my heart. They put a chasm between me and Jesus as I choose to rely on myself. I push them to the side planning to deal with them later, hoping they might just disappear on their own. As I allow my heart to cling to those dead parts, my trust in God declines, or at best stalls.
Sometimes it takes a storm to prune away the lifeless bits, to refocus my course on Jesus, so my heart can be strengthened and bring forth life again.
Jesus not only cares about our storms, He is with us in the boat. He offers us a safe harbor to hide our hearts within in the midst of our trials and suffering. And through that storm He accompanies our hearts as we let go of the parts that have been deadened by sin. Be still. Allow Him to prune your heart and breathe new life into you.
Where are you dead inside? Take some time to journal with Scripture today. Sit with these verses and tell your story of the storm.
Sarah Ortiz is a Catholic convert, and when not folding laundry, she can be found reading, experimenting in the kitchen, or writing at her blog. You can find out more about her here.