“When upon life billows you are tempest tossed. When you are discouraged thinking all is lost, count your many blessings name them one by one and it will surprise you what the Lord has done…” I can imagine what Johnson Oatman Jr. saw when he wrote this hymn. Life is full of challenges and issues. The storms of life can be very devastating to man and worse, when you have no anchor to hold you in the storms of life.
The story of PI, an Indian shipwrecked boy who lost everything: family, properties and friends inspires me to write this piece. Alone at sea, his only consolation was a surviving tiger with which he shares a life boat. How terrifying and awesome some storms can be, yet God allows them to hit us so hard we can barely see anything but only that which we hold onto: Christ.
It is true that this boy did not know God the messiah as we Christians do but he believed the man up there had all the say and solutions. He knew with him on his side, he could do his best to survive with a wild tiger glaring at him as his next available meal. But God wanted more than survival for him.
And just when life was being comfortable at sea, with all that he had gathered from the stores of the life boat: food, drinks, manual for the boat, records of all that he had seen at sea, a calming yet frightening relationship with the tiger, etc., the biggest storms came, shook him from his forever happy dream and left him with nothing but a terrified and hungry tiger at the shores of an ever green carnivorous island.
Yes, I felt sad at his loss and I think I cried at the question he asked God in the moment of his storms “What more do you want from me? I have lost my family; I have lost everything, I surrender”. We all at one point in our difficult moments might have in one way or the other asked such unwarranted “stupid” and desperate questions. Even Job, David, Gideon among many others have questioned God’s plan for their lives. And we may have said “how dare them question God”? Surely they dare not question the Almighty; yet their mortal brains failed to ascertain the gravity of the questions. We are all at fault in one way or the other. I am super guilty and do not by any means justify my actions or theirs.
But I learnt something worth sharing. In the moments of our rage during the storms, we forget the one keeping eyes over us. We forget our anchor, the man in the boat with us. We need to turn and take a good look at the Master in the storms: He is so calm; he found sleep in the storms (Matthew 8:23-27). I for once always wonder how he did that and I pray for the same each day – peace and providence in the storms. That’s what the master sees behind the storms.
Pi, after crying his lungs out in the storms surrenders to the rule of him who watches over him. Holding fast to the boat plank, he found sleep in the storms and woke up to a beautiful green pasture. And though the carnivorous island was dangerous and deadly, he was able to fill his boat with all the fresh water and food enough for them to stay alive at sea.
Beloved, God is not only interested in your survival (i.e. continuous existence). He desires for you to thrive (flourish and grow well), rejoicing in his providence each day. Just imagine what the boy would have done if he had arrived at the island with a boat half full? Not only would he not have space, but will not see the essence of God’s providence and assume self-sufficiency until he died of hunger at sea and lost forever.
So next time, the good Lord finds you worthy of a storm, remember these things: He is with you and He is giving you peace and providence. Don’t lose out on your breakthrough by giving in to fear, discouragement and despair. You are more than a conqueror; for the Lord gives peace and providence with each STORM.