One day Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s cross to the other side of the lake.” So they got into a boat and started out. As they sailed across, Jesus settled down for a nap. But soon a fierce storm came down on the lake. The boat was filling with water, and they were in real danger. The disciples went and woke him up, shouting, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!” When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and raging waves. Suddenly, the storm stopped and all was calm. Then he asked, “Where is your faith?” The disciples were terrified and amazed. “Who is the man?” They asked each other. “When he gives a command, even the wind and waves obey him!” -Luke 8:22-25 NLT

The other day I listened to a sermon podcast from my church in London, Holy Trinity Brompton.  I visited there on my study abroad trip during junior year of college, but it still feels like yesterday. Churches have a special way of making you feel at home even in faraway places across the pond. The sermon was about choosing faith over fear, and its message felt so comforting in these days of “quarantine” and “social distancing.” Those phrases have become common speak everywhere we turn — from the fridge to the news to social media. But one phrase from this sermon broke through the noise. It gave me new words, new thoughts, and new hope in the midst of all these virus phrases circling the news and our conversations.

Jesus is in the boat.

In Luke 8 we read about Jesus and his disciples out for a cruise on the lake. (A day at the lake sounds pretty nice right about now!) But things take a turn when a storm comes while Jesus is asleep. Frantic, the disciples wake him while the boat fills up with water. Jesus changes the tide of fear when he asks them, “Where is your faith?” The storm calms at the sound of his voice. The disciples are amazed. Jesus had been asleep, but he is not idle. He is with them even though they feel alone and helpless against the tide. They are never alone! The disciples cry out to Jesus and he comes out into the storm with them. He stands on the top deck and calms the storm and their fear.

Jesus was in the boat.

And he is still in the boat today.

We’re all in the same boat weathering the waves of Coronavirus. News reports and increased confirmed cases make it feel like more and more water is flooding the boat. How will we make it safely to shore on the other side? We long for normalcy. We plead for healing. But we still find ourselves surrounded by water.

God gives us another story — His story.

It may look like I’m surrounded, but I’m surrounded by You. (Surrounded, Michael W. Smith)

When storms surround us, we will not be shaken. Jesus is in the boat! He is with us and he is at work. Even while we wait for the storms to pass, our faith is strengthened with every wave. God’s promises are true. He sent Jesus to save us from the storm called sin, and Jesus rose from the storm victorious in 3 days. Bob Goff says, “Darkness fell, His friends scattered, hope seemed lost — But heaven just started counting to three.” We may feel that darkness today as the virus rages, schools close doors, and businesses hold breath; but we are not alone. Our hope is not lost.

Jesus is in the boat with us, friend. Heaven is our lighthouse — counting to three for the storms to pass, and bringing us to shore. The hardships we face here will not last forever. In the process, nothing can separate us from the love of God. Jesus sees us and knows us and loves us. We can rest here as we wait — patiently— faithfully— prayerfully. Jesus is in the boat.

May God the Father bless you, God the Son heal you, God the Holy Spirit give you strength. May God the holy and undivided Trinity guard your body, save your soul, and bring you safely to His heavenly country; where He lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen. -The Book of Common Prayer

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