May 22, 2024
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The Word of God will calm the storm

By John Mwazemba

The first time I worried about my father’s health was when, one day after school, he started coughing without stopping. I was maybe 10 years old. He had a wracking, dry cough that was scary to me. It was so unbearable for me that I left the house for a while, trying to find some peace.

I went up a hill at the border of our farm. I could still see him, a distant figure, stooped on his chair, most certainly still coughing.

I loved my father. And my father was strong. Always healthy as far as I knew. And this was my first real storm with coming to terms with his mortality.

What scared me was the suddenness with which it happened. A cough from nowhere that quickly escalated into a crisis.

This reminds me of the story of Apostle Paul in Acts 27. Apostle Paul is a prisoner being taken to appear before Roman authorities. He is with other prisoners being taken to Rome. He advises the captain that they shouldn’t sail.

He is a prisoner and a “Jesus man” so no one listens. What would a “religious” prisoner know? “But the centurion, instead of listening to what Paul said, followed the advice of the pilot and of the owner of the ship” Acts 27:11.

So after they sailed, the drama started. It started mild; nothing serious.

“When a gentle south wind began to blow, they saw their opportunity; so they weighed anchor and sailed along the shore of Crete” 13. But then “Before very long, a wind of hurricane force, called the Northeaster, swept down from the island”.

Category 5 hurricanes

It’s frightening how a gentle wind can escalate into a Category 5 hurricane in a short time.

A seemingly small argument, a wrong word and it’s a marriage in a crisis. A small boil that turns into a full-fledged health crisis that needs leg amputation. A wrong turn that ends in a murder. Life is a mysterious proposition. Everything calm can change in a split second into a wind of hurricane force.

That’s why these days, I am less judgemental. You don’t know what kind of storm the person you are dealing with is going through. Some are dealing with gentle winds while others are in a Category 5 hurricane. At work but in a storm — everything is flying.

What was supposed to be firmly on the ground can be flying in seconds in a strong wind. A solid relationship flying. A solid business flying. A solid parent flying. Rootless.

People are dealing with all manner of storms but you will never know because of the polite smiles and polished mannerisms.

Apostle Paul’s account becomes even more dramatic, “We took such a violent battering from the storm that the next day they began to throw the cargo overboard… When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days and the storm continued raging, we finally gave up all hope of being saved.” Acts 27:18-20.

During the violent battering, the men lost all hope of ever being saved. This is when people have so much stress they can’t eat. You have heard people say they are stressed. And they can still go to the barber and salon. And they can still eat. There is a kind of violent battering that makes one leave the house with only one shoe on. And not know they haven’t put on a complete pair of shoes. A lady can leave the house without makeup and not care a thing about it or even remember where the makeup kit is.

There is a kind of violent battering that makes one stop eating. It’s like when one is so sick in a house that the children stop playing and everyone forgets to laugh. There is a kind of violent battering that leads to sleep loss. People walk around in a daze.

In Apostle Paul’s case, all the 276 men in the ship went a long time without eating. They didn’t listen to him the first time but now that they were almost perishing, they listened to the Jesus man.

It’s interesting how everything we know and all our pride can be stopped by a real storm. 

It’s interesting how everything we know and all our pride can be stopped by a real storm. 

So, with their full attention, Apostle Paul stood up before them and said: “Men, you should have taken my advice not to sail from Crete; then you would have spared yourselves this damage and loss. But now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed”.

Paul was a spiritual man and he knew what would happen. No one would die, he said. Only the ship would be destroyed. How did he know that? How sure was he?

He continued, “For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve, saying, ‘Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee’. Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me”.

He believed what God told him. He described himself as belonging to God. “The God WHOSE I am”. He said, “I believe it shall be even as I was told”. That’s what can keep anyone sane in a senseless storm. To cling to the word of God. Some people make fun of it. But it works for me. That word will calm the storm, in the end. The storm will not win. God’s word will. Peace, be still.

John Mwazemba is a book publisher based in Nairobi.

One thought on “The Word of God will calm the storm

  1. When the oceans rage and thunder roar, father you are king over the earth, I will be still know you are looord.

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