The wind died down and it was completely calm. Mark 4:39
When I was in High School, I was struggling with my walk with Jesus. Most of that circled around whether or not I was really called to be a shepherd of his sheep. I felt a sense of call when I was a boy, but the older I got the less attractive that vocation became. This affected my walk with Jesus.
Pro Tip: You can’t run from your call and walk with Jesus.
There is nothing like the misery of wanting to walk a life of intimacy with Jesus and running from him at the same time. In fact, it makes other discomforts that are natural life-irritations almost unbearable. It’s like one magnifies the intensity of the other. Normal everyday pebbles in our shoes become infected and debilitating sores when you are running from God.
One summer I was working on a cattle ranch in northern New Mexico and the wind was fierce and relentless. It was a day after day after day occurrence.
My lips were chapped, cracked, and bleeding; my face was constantly red from the wind-blown particles chaffing my skin. You couldn’t speak in a normal voice when you were outside, you had to yell over the din of the forever wind. I had to use a cord to tie down my cowboy hat when I rode my horse to check the cattle; which looked goofy.
John Wayne never did that.
For over two weeks, daily angry winds blew me to a shriveled and nearly insane teenager.
That summer I was trying to reignite my walk with Jesus by reading my bible every day and journaling my prayers and walking in obedience, but that wind was testing my paper-thin resolve.
On day 16 of the tortuous wind, I was reading in the Old Testament book of Judges about Gideon where he asked God to confirm that he wanted him to take on the Philistine by setting out a fleece and asking him to not allow dew to touch the ground but saturate the fleece. God did it. Then Gideon tested God again and God came through again.
I loved that story. I thought to myself, “I have an idea of how to discern God’s will for my future.”
One night, I wrote in my journal these sentences.
“I give up, Lord. If you really want me to shepherd your sheep then, like Gideon, show me a sign. Would you please stop the wind? Please? If you stop this wind, I’ll shepherd your sheep.”
I woke up the next morning to a dead calm.
You would have thought I would have been thrilled with the calm morning. I was not. I was scared out of my mind. Why? Because I realized that tucked away in a two-room mountain cow camp cabin, Someone was listening to a pimple-faced, gangly teenager.
And now—I had to do something with this answered prayer.
It was calm on the outside in northern New Mexico, but the wind was still raging in the soul of a teenage boy. Then I remembered the flannelgraph story of Jesus sleeping through a storm and then silencing the wind with a word and found some solace.
Over the years I’ve learned that the only good place to be during a storm is in the arms of God. And while it’s a good place, it may not be a safe place.
Do you remember what Mr. Beaver said to little Lucy in describing the Christ figure Aslan in Chronicles of Narnia?
“Aslan is a lion- the Lion, the great Lion.” “Ooh” said Lucy. “I’d thought he was a man. Is he-quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion”…”Safe?” said Mr. Beaver …”Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”
I don’t know what storm is brewing in your life, but maybe the answer is not only blowing in the wind but in the behavior of the wind when Jesus said, “Quiet! Be still!”
That’s a good place to be.