Thanks so much for sharing your heart, Josha.
Do you feel stuck?
“A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, ‘Teacher don’t you care if we drown?’
He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, ‘Quiet! Be still!’ Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.
He said to his disciples, ‘Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?’
They were terrified and asked each other, ‘Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!’” Mark 4:37-41 (NIV)
This story was discussed in the Bible class I attended last Sunday morning. The facilitator of the class asked if any of us had an example or story from our own life that relates.
I shared about the time I got stuck in an elevator in a foreign country. It was an old elevator with a very specific capacity of weight that it could handle. As the last two people literally shoved their way on with their luggage and as the doors barely came together, I had a bad feeling about the next few seconds. Indeed, it was just a few seconds after our descent began, and there were some unusual movements and sounds of the elevator before it became officially stuck
….and then the lights went out.
Every piece of my body was pressed against a different person. I could not even see a shape or outline of anything. Complete darkness. We all patiently waited in silence with the hope of the doors opening.
Finally, a woman found the panic button and intercom and shouted, “We need help, we are stuck!” And the voice that returned said something, but it was not in English. We continued to wait and as we heard another voice say the familiar word, “Hello,” we felt a moment of hope. But then the next words that followed dashed our hope again, “Looking for the key.”
“What?!! They can’t find the key?” someone yelled out.
Panic started to set in. I could hear one fearful person crying. The air was starting to thicken and it became harder to breath. A man managed to get a little girl up high enough to knock a paneling out for air flow, as the paneling dropped on someone’s head the voice came back just to say, “Looking for the key, looking for the key!” Despite the little airflow that came in from top, panic continued to fill the tiny little room. I stood there in the dark with my parents apart from me. I was alone. I was scared. I was uncertain. I was frustrated. I stood there in the dark and within myself, all I could say was, “Lord please help. Lord please help. It feels like the life is being sucked out of me. Where are you? Please help. Don’t you care?” I felt a peace come over me. I had resolved that we truly were in the Lord’s hands.
It was approximately a 20-minute ordeal, but finally, there was a crack of light between the two sliding elevator doors. We could hear people and see people prying open the two doors. Soon, we were able to step up and out of the elevator where it was jammed 3 feet bellow it’s original destination. As I exited the trauma, there was my mom and dad, patiently waiting and wondering if I was one of the people on the stuck elevator. There faces were never so beautiful to me. Despite my calm inter-self, my hands were trembling. Mom and Dad brought me to the dinning area and gave me a glass of O.J. and listened to my story of what had happened on the other side of the doors were they were standing so patiently.
This story relates to the story of Jesus calming the storm in that the disciples were in a little fishing boat, in the midst of big waves and a furious storm. They felt stuck and were panicked for their lives as Jesus was sleeping and appearing to be unconcerned.
Jesus was setting an example of faith in God by sleeping for he knew the plan of God and he knew that God would be protecting them for his good purpose. Even though the disciples had enough faith to follow Jesus, they still panicked with a belief that their life was about to end.
As Jesus woke up he expressed to the disciples that they did not need to be afraid. God would have seen them through the storm, however, he then commanded that the storm cease, despite their lack of faith. And the disciples stood in awe, trembling, and realized that God really was in their midst.
I shared the elevator story with the class, but I really wanted to tell a different story. But the story I wanted to share is not safe to share in Sunday morning Bible class at this time in my life, so I will share it here:
The story of my “coming out” is much like the elevator story and relates to Mark 4:37-41. At times I felt alone. In the dark. Apart from my parents. I was scared. I was uncertain. I was frustrated. I stood there in the dark and all I could say was, “Lord please help. Lord please help. It feels like the life is being sucked out of me. Where are you? Please help. Don’t you care?”
My journey has been filled with ups and downs of doubt and faith, and I am now questioning once again, “Who is this? Who is Jesus? He has calmed this storm.” You would think I would know by now how powerful Jesus can work, but perhaps that is the beauty of God and his mysteries. He keeps amazing us with what he can do in our lives despite our doubt and despite our panic and we find ourselves trembling as we stand in awe, over and over again just as his disciples who witnessed him with their own eyes.
My parents listened to my story of what happened on the other side of the elevator doors that stood between us, and they have been listened to me tell my story of “coming out.”
How have you felt stuck?
Are people crying out to you “Looking for the key!” leaving you with no hope?
Who is waiting on the other side of the “elevator door” to listen to your story?
What will it take for the “doors” to open?
I will be prayerful for you as you are preparing and waiting for the “elevator doors” to open. I’m confident that the Lord is with you even though it does not feel like it. I pray that the power of Christ releases you from your stuck position and may you have more faith than before as you stand in awe of the presence of God.
The following song is a prayer that I have found encouragement from during my journey.
Take courage my soul,
And let us journey on.
Though the night is dark,
And I am far from home.
But thanks be to God,
The morning light appears.
The storm is passing over,
The storm is passing over,
The storm is passing over,
(Original lyrics by Charles A Tindley)