Friday 27 July 2012

The Storm, The Saviour and the Sleep of Victory

Around 13 years ago, I was on my first Trans Atlantic flight, heading to Minneapolis on business. I had 2 travelling companions, one who had been to the US before, one who had never even left Ireland.
On the first leg of our journey, to Chicago's O'Hare Airport, the second companion was commenting how flying was good fun and how he had been told about turbulence beforehand, how bad it was supposed to be and that it was nothing to worry about.

Approximately an hour later, the pilot announced that there were storms ahead and that we were going to be in a holding pattern for another hour, delaying our landing. During that time, the plane pitched and rolled and dropped and rose. There was silence among the crew, the passengers and everyone was waiting for the flight to end as it was very uncomfortable.

This affected me for years after. I have flown on many long haul flights since, but have always taken travel sickness tablets (just in case) beforehand, I've been nervous flying and haven't particularly enjoyed it.

There weren't planes in the bible, but there were storms. The disciples seemed to get caught up in their fair share of them, usually when they were in the middle of a the sea of Galilee:

35 On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side.” 36 Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him. 37 And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. 38 But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?”

39 Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. 40 But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” 41 And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!”
Mark 4v35-41, NKJV

In this instance, Jesus told the disciples that they were going to cross over to the other side. He prophesied to them the outcome of their journey, so if they'd decided to hold onto the prophecy, they would have known that they were in God's hands.

This however, isn't what I want to discuss in the passage of scripture.

A number of years after my flight to Minnesota, we were due to go on another long haul flight. I was getting nervous beforehand, and on the Sunday before the flight, I got prayer from Gerry Butcher about it. He asked God to remove the fear and enable me to relax more as I flew.

The flight went well. I still took travel sickness tablets, but was less nervous than I had been, yet I stil hadn't conquered my fear. It wasn't the flying I was afraid of, it was the turbulence. I didn't like flying through a storm.

God has been changing me over the last few years, and I've seen Him do things in my life that I've only noticed a while after they happened. Part of what He's been doing in me, is teaching me that it's ok to trust in Him.
In fact, it benefits me most when I learn to trust Him completely.

Last month, I went on another Trans Atlantic flight, which was followed up by an internal flight that was about 2 1/2 hrs long.
The first flight was fine. In the days leading up to the flight, I'd noticed that I wasn't nervous. I decided not to take travel sickness tablets or anything like them. It was a step of faith by me that I was willing to take and I was happy with the decision.

We boarded our connecting flight and were told immediately that there would be no in flight service due to the weather that we were going to fly through. I briefly thought about it but wasn't worried. I had decided to trust in God, so knew I'd be fine.
During the flight, there was quite a lot of turbulence, so much that the cabin crew stayed seated for the entire flight and kept their belts on.

About an hour into the flight, I fell asleep, and stayed asleep for approximately 25 minutes.
When I woke, My first thought wasn't about my flight, or my nap I'd had, it was about Jesus in Mark 4.
Jesus lived in a place of constant victory. He let nothing overcome Him and set the perfect example of how to be a Man on earth.
Jesus was able to sleep through the storm on the lake, something that I found myself doing for the first time on a plane in a storm.

So what's so significant about that?

When you can sleep through your storm, you have victory over it. I woke knowing that I'd moved into a new place of victory, something that had bothered me for 13 years no longer had a hold over me. Jesus had demonstrated to me how to be victorious in rest. This is why He was able to wake up and command the storm to be calm. It had no authority over Him, so it didn't worry Him.
He knew they were going to reach the other side of the lake, He spoke it before they left.
The disciples thought they were perishing, Jesus showed them how to have victory.

We often get distracted by what's going on around us, and let the circumstances get the better of us. I did this and ended up with something over me for 13 years that I shouldn't have allowed take hold in the first place.
If there's anything in your life that represents a storm that has a hold over you, give it to Jesus and ask Him to show you the victory that He's already won for you in that storm. Then trust Him and watch how the victory becomes a reality in your life.

Roger C.