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April 21, 2021

Shortly after we moved to North Carolina, the father of one of my students found out that I loved to fish. One day we went out on Kerr Lake and we got a few here and there. We then decided to go back in on a tributary. I asked him why he was not getting closer to shore and he said because he did not want a snake to drop into the boat. I laughed but I was not going to fall for his joke. Well, I guess he sensed my skepticism, and he went on to explain that snakes would sun themselves or rest on tree limbs and, occasionally, when a boat would come to close, they would drop into the boat. I still did not believe him, and he knew it. We then moved closer to the shoreline and in a few minutes, he pointed to a limb hanging over the water. Do you see it? I really wanted to say no, but there was a snake on the limb. We moved another twenty yards or so and there was another snake sunning itself of a limb. That was in 1990 and I have made sure any boat I am on never gets close to any trees with limbs hanging over the water.
“The storm on the Sea of Galilee didn’t jut whip up the wind and the waves; it sent everyone in the boat into a panic. Even the hardened fishermen among them who would have been used to bad weather were reduced to terrified children. Well, almost everyone. As the disciples panicked and prayed, Jesus stayed asleep. The disciples were only too aware of the danger and the risk. They knew that waves of that size could overturn their boat and take their lives. Jesus stayed asleep.
Two thousand years later, we are still so often found panicking in the boat. When life gets tough, we can spend a lot of time and energy wondering when Jesus is going to wake up and do something! In times like this, our faith is being tested. Eventually Jesus acted, and the storm was silenced as quickly as it came. He calmed the wild sea that was raging around and within the disciples. ‘Quiet! Be still!’ (Mark 4:39)
He is still the same Lord, and He’s still got the same power to calm the winds, the waves, and the panic within us. He still has the power to take a story that begins with fear and end it with faith. As crisis tests your faith, remember that Christ is strengthening you: He wants you to learn to look to Him, to trust Him even in the middle of the fiercest of life’s storms. And like a muscle, as we work it, it gets ever stronger. This is how men and women of faith are made: they live in the knowledge that God protects them.” (Bear Grylls, Soul Fuel)
Now when I realized that those snakes would really drop into the boat, I was anxious, and a sense of panic came over me every time we would get close to trees with limbs hanging over the water. Then and now. When I am fishing in the south, I am wary of the trees and the shore. The funny thing is, I still do it when I am fishing in Wisconsin. It has become a norm when it need not be.
It is just like when we get into situations in life. There are always going to be the possibility of snakes dropping in your boat and there is always going to be the possibility of a storm. Yes, there are still crises today and we often find ourselves in the middle of the storm. We get anxious and panic even though we know that Jesus will calm the storm and that Jesus will be there for us. We just need to call out to Jesus to calm the storm. We need to ask Jesus to give us strength to ride out the storm.
I love what Bear Grylls says: “He’s still the same Lord, and He’s still got the same power to calm the winds, the waves, and the panic within us. He still has the power to take a story that begins with fear and end it with faith.”
God, help us to live in the knowledge that you protect us. Help us to get stronger as we weather each storm. God bless and God’s got this.

About Rev. Bud Budzinski

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