by Dianne E. Butts
I followed my husband up the interstate highway, he riding his Harley Davidson, me on my Kawasaki Vulcan. We’d put a lot of miles behind us already that day after leaving the motorcycle rally in New Mexico, bundled up against the chilly early morning air. An annual ride for years, we knew the 460-mile trip would take most the day. We pushed hard to get home before sunset, grateful for clear skies and good weather.
We rode two-lane highways to Interstate 25, then north over Raton Pass into Colorado. Getting weary and with still more than two hours to home, we turned from I-25 and headed east.
That’s when I saw the huge thunderhead billowing on the eastern horizon, brilliant white in the afternoon sun. Storms in eastern Colorado can dump torrents of rain and damaging hail, not to mention the dance of dangerous lightning. We made our turn eastward, straight toward the storm.
I glanced in my rear-view mirror. Behind us toward the Rocky Mountains was nothing but brilliant sunshine and clear blue sky. Ahead of us, a towering storm.
For a moment I so wanted to turn back! Growing tired, I wanted the rest of the ride to be sunny. Pleasant. Easy.
Seriously, though, if I turned around and followed the sun, where would that get me? The way home was into the storm.
Another day, long ago, Jesus purposely told his disciples to head into a storm. Matthew tells us immediately after Jesus miraculously fed 5,000 men plus women and kids, “he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. And…he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but the boat by this time was a long way from the land, beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them” (Matthew 14:22-24, ESV).
The word Matthew uses here, that Jesus “made” them get into the boat, strikes me every time I read it. Jesus surely knew that storm was brewing and he was sending them right into it. Why would he do that?
Because he wanted to show them something more than they could fathom, something about himself, that he could not show them if they were not in the middle of a storm.
“In the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea…” (v. 25).
The day my husband and I turned toward that storm, either the road took us around it or the storm floated south, but either way we never ended up riding through the storm. We arrived home safe and sound. Tired, but dry.
Remembering that experience, when I catch myself longing for an easier, more pleasant journey, I resist the urge to turn back, away from the path God has me on. I no longer fear storms that appear to loom in my path. The Lord might remove them completely as he did that day, or stormy times may lie ahead, but he is leading me home. And I don’t want to go any other direction. We have to remember, even as Christians, sometimes the only way home leads into the storm.
“But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, ‘It is a ghost!’ and they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid…’
“And when [he] got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him…” (Matthew 14:26-27, 32-33a).
About the author: Writing for 25+ years, Dianne has written 300+ articles for Christian magazines, six books, and has contributed to twenty more books including Chicken Soup for the Soul. Her screenplay placed as a finalist in the Kairos Prize for Spiritually Uplifting Screenplays and a short film she produced won Best Documentary and the Evangelista Award for clearest presentation of the gospel at the 168 Film Festival in August 2017. Dianne and her husband are 20+ year members of the Christian Motorcyclists Association. Learn more about her at http://www.DianneEButts.com, follow her film at bit.ly/ConnectFilms, read her blog for writers at www.ButtsAboutWriting.blogspot.com, and join her newsletter.
Join the conversation: What storms have you experienced? How did God reveal more of Himself to you at that time?