About a year ago the world began to change drastically as COVID-19 started its deadly spread around the globe. Since then we have seen the world grow more unstable and uncertain. Just about everywhere we see unease, unrest, and uncertainty. Things don’t seem to be getting better. Many hearts are filled with anxiety, fearful about what lies ahead.
It reminds me of how the Bible describes the last days. Jesus said, “And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken” (Luke 21:25, 26).
While times and situations may change, fear and anxiety are not new. Looking back 2,000 years ago with the help of Scripture, we see terror on the faces of Christ’s disciples and hear it in their voices as they are tossed to and fro in a tempestuous storm, certain that they are about to drown in the Sea of Galilee (see Matt. 8:23-27).
Things hadn’t started out that way. In fact, the day had been like so many others, filled with activity as Jesus taught and healed the many people who crowded around Him. But the time came to leave the multitudes and get some much-needed rest.
As the little group stepped into the wooden fishing boat and set sail on the calm sea, little did the disciples realize a storm was brewing. Exhausted from a very full day, Jesus was soon fast asleep in the back of the boat.
Before long, however, the atmosphere changed and a storm burst upon the lake. Due to the mountain and ravines surrounding the lake, even today the Sea of Galilee is known for its sudden changes from calm to storm in a very short time.
In the book The Desire of Ages, Ellen White describes the scene this way: “The sun had set, and the blackness of night settled down upon the stormy sea. The waves, lashed into fury by the howling winds, dashed fiercely over the disciples’ boat, and threatened to engulf it. . . . They were helpless in the grasp of the tempest, and hope failed them as they saw that their boat was filling.”
Friends, how tempting it is when, like the disciples, we find ourselves in the midst of a storm, to feel helpless and hopeless—forgetting that Jesus is “a very present help in trouble” (Ps. 46:1).
Nevertheless, He is there, and just as He responded to the desperate cry of the disciples, He will answer our pleas as well.
Continuing on in that beautiful chapter of The Desire of Ages we read: “Their cry arouses Jesus. As the lightning’s glare reveals Him, they see the peace of heaven in His face; they read in His glance self-forgetful, tender love, and, their hearts turning to Him, cry, ‘Lord, save us: we perish.’ Never did a soul utter that cry unheeded. . . . Jesus rises. He stands in the midst of His disciples, while the tempest rages, the waves break over them, and the lightning illuminates His countenance. He lifts His hand, so often employed in deeds of mercy, and says to the angry sea, ‘Peace, be still.’”¹
Instantly the storm stops. Imagine that moment— going from thrashing waves and howling wind to serene silence—all in an instant. Once more the sea is calm, and so are the amazed disciples.
IN THE MIDST OF THE STORM
Today we are indeed in the midst of a storm—a storm of uncertainty, anxiety, and fear. And we know that an even greater storm is coming. How can we get through this storm and be prepared to meet what lies ahead?
In the book Our High Calling we are given this valuable insight: “That night in that boat was to the disciples a school where they were to receive their education for the great work which was to be done afterward. The dark hours of trial are to come to everyone as a part of his education for higher work, for more devoted, consecrated effort. The storm was not sent upon the disciples to shipwreck them, but to test and prove them individually.”
The author continues: “The time of our educating will soon be over. We have no time to lose in walking through clouds of doubt and uncertainty. . . . We may stand close to the side of Jesus. Let none . . . shirk one hard lesson or lose the blessing of one hard discipline.”²
What a wonderful promise: to be close to Jesus through every storm, to remember that He is by our side to strengthen and guide us through whatever we may face. How important it is—now more than ever—that we spend time reading His Word, which shines light in the darkness (see Ps. 119:105), and connecting with Him through prayer.
OPEN OUR EYES
The Bible is filled with examples of people who did just that when faced with seemingly insurmountable situations. While the examples are many, perhaps one of the most stunning is found in 2 Kings 6.
The Syrian king sent a mighty army with horses and chariots to completely surround the city of Dothan, where the prophet Elisha was staying. Early in the morning Elisha’s servant was terrified to see what appeared to be certain death on the horizon. He cried out, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” (verse 15).
Elisha remained calm; he was already looking through eyes of faith. “Do not be afraid,” he replied, “for those who are with us are more than those who are with them” (verse 16, ESV).³ Then he did a wonderful thing—He prayed. “‘O Lord, please open his eyes that he may see.’” The Lord answered his prayer in a magnificent way! The young man “saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha” (verse 17, ESV).
This, my friends, is the secret of peace. This is how we weather the storm. This is how we have certainty in an uncertain world. We see through eyes of faith, believing that God is near, trusting in His Word, connecting with Him through prayer, allowing Him to teach us valuable lessons of faith and trust, providing us with revival and reformation, and moving ahead with the incredible mission of saving souls for Him in Total Member Involvement—all through His power.
Maranatha! Jesus is coming soon! In spite of the challenging circumstances we all face, let’s each respond to Jesus’ call by saying, “Lord, I will go.” As our upcoming General Conference Session theme says: “Jesus Is Coming! Get Involved!”
President of the Worldwide Seventh-day Adventist Church •
Ted N. C. Wilson is president of the worldwide Seventh-day Adventist Church. Additional articles and commentaries are available from the president’s office on Twitter: @pastortedwilson and on Facebook: @Pastor Ted Wilson.