31st October 2021

The power of his presence

Do you believe that God is with you? Do you believe that the Creator of the universe hears you when you call and is present for every moment of your life? As unbelievable as it sounds, most Christians would say ‘yes’. We believe in a God who cares for us as his children. Yet sometimes, still, we find ourselves doubting that God is with us when we find ourselves in precarious situations.

A few summers ago, I decided to train for a Sprint Triathlon. At the time, I was an avid runner and enjoyed biking, but wanted to challenge myself through the swimming portion of the race. I followed a training program for a few months and swam laps at my parents’ community pool on swimming days. They joined in the process, counting laps for me, and cheering me on. My mom even watched YouTube videos to help coach me through my stroke. I felt the love of God through the support and encouragement of my parents.
On race day, we arrived at the beach and the waves were pounding. I had trained but not in open water. I tried my best to play it cool until race participants in the more experienced groups were rescued by boats to get them out of the water. When my group’s turn came up, I entered the water and was immediately forced to swim harder than I had in any of my practice sessions. Determined not to quit, I began praying and swimming, “God, why do the waters have to be this rough. Please, please, please get me to shore safely!” It was easy to trust the power of God’s presence in the smooth, clear swimming pool with my family around me, much more difficult alone in the choppy, rough open water.

Because of this experience, I can relate to this lesson, Jesus’ disciples had to learn about trusting the power of God’s presence. In Mark 4:35-41(NIV) we read:
That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 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!”
Jesus was with the disciples in the storm, but because he did not react in the way they expected, they doubted if Jesus cared about their situation. After performing a powerful miracle, Jesus asked the disciples why they doubted. Since Jesus was the one who told them to sail to the other side of the sea and he was with them, they should have trusted in him. They should have rested in the power of his presence.

We can often act like the disciples. If we are in a trial and God does not react the way we expect, it is easy to doubt his care for us. At times like this, we should remember that God is with us and there is power in his presence. In a moment, God can speak a word and change everything. His power is supreme and even the forces of nature must obey him. This does not mean that we will never suffer. Rather, it means that God will be with us even when we suffer, and he has the power to bring us through any storm.
In case you were wondering, God did not calm the waves during my race, but he calmed me with the peace of his presence and he brought me back to shore.

Presented by Michelle Fleming

 

About the presenter:
The Word of Life each Sunday is taken from ‘Speaking of Life’, (https://www.gci.org/videos/media-speaking-of-life/), a public resource video on the USA website of Grace Communion International.  Michelle Fleming is an elder in Grace Communion International and works in the International Home Office in Charlotte, North Carolina, USA as Media Director.

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