Manners...don't forget, are kindness. You must always be kind.
- Melissa Hellstern
On that day, when evening came, He said to them, “Let us go over to the other side.”
Leaving the crowd, they took Him along with them in the boat, just as He was; and other boats were with Him. And there arose a fierce gale of wind, and the waves were breaking over the boat so much that the boat was already filling up. (Mark 4:35-38)
I’ve always known the storms of life would come to our family. I didn’t look forward to them, but I knew we’d encounter them. I’ve never believed that being a Christ follower would guarantee me a life free from friction.
But I never clued into the fact that sometimes being in the middle of God’s perfect will would actually propel our family into hurricane-force winds.
Somehow I’d developed the idea that God’s will was a safe haven, a calm passage between the storms. I believed that being in God’s will meant we’d be protected from those destructive winds. Oh, I knew the enemy would throw the weight of his frustration against us, but I still felt like God would direct us safely around and through those attacks.
Then came our season with a son in the Marine Corps, serving on the frontline in Iraq. I never imagined storms of that magnitude. During this time, I struggled to reconcile God’s perfect will for my family with our oldest son’s service.
What I found was this passage above, and several others like it. The Bible clearly shows Jesus directing the disciples right into the teeth of danger. They obeyed, without the slightest hesitation, and still ended up in the midst of chaos. It made me remember what my son told me when he chose to enlist: “I’m safer in the middle of God’s will–even in a war zone–than out of his will.”
As I considered all the implications of this, it finally dawned on me that these storms have a purpose, a God-driven purpose. He sends us into these crazy difficult situations to strengthen us and give us a foundation for our faith.
Personally, every time my own boat seems swamped and danger surrounds me, he’s there. The danger is all around, but God calms the waves of chaos when I turn to him, each time making my faith stronger and more unshakable.
Edie Melson is a leading professional in the publishing industry. She also knows what it’s like to send a loved one off to war. Her oldest son went from high school graduation, to Marine Corp boot camp, to Iraq; where he served two tours fighting on the front lines as an infantry Marine. Fighting Fear: Winning the War at Home When Your Soldier Leaves for Battle, is Edie’s heart project. Look for her two newest books for military families debuting in 2014: While My Son Serves and While My Husband Serves. You can also connect with Edie on Twitter and Facebook.