Have you ever felt like no matter which direction you turn, the wind is against you? Have you recently gone through a season in your life when you felt the weight of the world, the burden of circumstances, and the loneliness of the struggle? Or have you had a time when it just seems like everything is against you?
Last week I was having quite the time with my 2005 gray Ford Escape (“Grey”). It all started on a Sunday when I had planned an awesome day of reading, hiking, and running at Jay Cooke State Park by myself. When I got to the park and stopped to pay for a pass, I locked my keys in Grey and had to pay $70 to have him unlocked. The very next day, I accidentally left the lights on and killed the battery which required asking a friend to come jump start Grey. It didn’t end there. The NEXT day while out for a run, the key fell out of my pocket on the Lakewalk. If anyone is familiar with the Lakewalk on a beautiful day, there are tons of people out and about. To make matters worse, I was only wearing one contact due to an eye irritation and was running half blind. While frantically running around with only half my vision, I kept thinking, “God just give me a break please”. As I got closer to my locked vehicle with no spare and losing hope quickly, I began imagining the worse. I began thinking the key fell out near the vehicle and someone either stole Grey or stole everything out of him. I began wondering how I would explain my carelessness to my husband and prayed desperately for God to give me a miracle. When Grey came into sight, I felt a surge of relief that he wasn’t stolen, but was still worried about how I would get into Grey and drive him home. I thought the key was lost for good. Over and over in my head I prayed “please please please please God”. About 100 meters from Grey, in plain sight for 45 minutes sat my key on the paved trail. I picked it up and cheered out loud that somehow over 45 minutes of people walking past it, not one person moved it.
I know this is a minor issue compared to what many people are going through and I am so grateful that a vehicle key is the worst of my worries currently. I share that story not because I want people to know how terrible I can be with vehicles or because I’m looking for a good laugh about my misfortune, but because I think a lot of people can relate to this. The feeling that everyday the wind is against you and things keep piling up around you until you feel like you are drowning in your circumstances. Maybe it starts out as a little breeze and then the wind picks up and before you know it, you are pressing with all your might against a wind stronger than you. Yet it seems when the wind is against us, we often hide behind our pride and try to convince the world that we are ok and are in control. Why do we always have to be ok? Why is it that we feel the need to constantly be in control? Instead of pretending we are ok all the time and we’ve got everything under control, we need to set aside our pride and ask for help.
My initial plan this week was to write about “When the Wind Changes” (that will be next week!), but after going to Eastridge Community Church Sunday, I realized I need to back up and first address what we need to do when the wind is against us. Pastor Tom shared the story of Jesus walking on the water while his disciples were sent out across the lake ahead of him. A terrible storm came and the disciples were straining at the oars fighting the wind in the middle of the night. Many people have heard this story. Jesus walks on water. The disciples cry out in fear thinking he is a ghost, but Jesus calms them by telling them to have courage. Jesus comes to them and calms the wind and the storms. However, Pastor Tom discussed how we miss a key component of this story when we just read through it. Have you ever noticed in Mark 6:48-49 it reads “He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. Shortly before dawn he went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them, but when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost. They cried out, because they all saw him and were terrified. Immediately he spoke to them and said, ‘Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid'”. Jesus was about to pass on by. He saw the disciples struggling at the oars, fighting the wind, and was about to just pass on by. Now you might think that doesn’t sound like something Jesus would do. How could Jesus just walk on by and let them struggle? Maybe even you yourself have blamed Jesus for the times you are fighting the wind. He sees you struggling. There is nothing that He does not know or see. But keep reading my friend. The disciples cried out and immediately Jesus came to them. The disciples cried out. Jesus came.
How often do we fight and fight the wind with all our might, but never cry out for help? We hide behind our pride and our perfectionism and our sense of control. God sees us struggling at the oars, fighting the wind, but we need to cry out. It does not need to be a pretty cry or a cry that is full of knowledge and fancy words. The disciples cried out thinking Jesus was a ghost! Do you think their cry was fancy or full of the right words? No. Instead of trying to fix everything ourselves, why don’t we cry out to the One who is higher than us? The one who calms the winds is willing and able to save if only we call out to Him.
So rise up from your need to be in control, rise above your pride, and call out for help because He is a wind changer. Jesus is forever a Reason to Rise.