Jesus in the Storm

A few weeks ago, Gloria and I flew to Florida. The only other time we were in Florida was 12 years ago when we visited Disney World. This was a trip we had initially planned last year, but our plans were dashed when hurricane Ian wiped out our hotel one week before our scheduled arrival.

When we had booked our trip last year, we included in airboat tour of the Everglades. We decided to take advantage of the same opportunity on this trip, which turned out to be a bit of a challenge. Read on. The day of our tour was beautiful! Not a cloud in the sky, temperature was 82°F with only 58% humidity. Before boarding our airboat, our host explained the dangers of the Everglades, which included several pictures of alligators, snakes, leeches, and other fun bugs. He also explained that Florida is number one in lightning strike deaths and alligator bites. (What a surprise!) Once on the boat, we were given the usual safety instructions, which included the location of our life jackets under our seats.

The tour was great, even in the swampy Everglades you can see God‘s handiwork! I’ve never seen so many species of birds and plant life! The pictures we took really don’t do it justice. Just as we were really getting into the tour, our boat captain said that we had a very large and violent storm coming our direction. We could see a gigantic gray and black wall of clouds quickly approaching.  The captain said that we had to return to the “slips” to get out of harms way and secure the boat. Too late. The storm quickly overcame our boat, the rain came in so hard that we could barely see each other! The wind violently pushed us around as if we were weightless. The lightning and the thunder was blinding and deafening. When we came within 5 feet of hitting another boat, I put my legs through the straps of the life jackets. I thought for sure the boat was gonna tip over, and I wanted to be prepared. Our captain fought against the wind and waves when we finally came up to the boat house.  The problem was, we couldn’t get into our slip. It actually took the captain three tries to get us tied in. Needless to say, we were soaked!! Then, with one bright ball of lightning, and a crash of thunder, the storm started to calm down, and then in another five minutes it was gone!  Blue sky returned, and we were led to the main building. Everyone on the boat had to change clothes, especially pants (for many reasons).

During the storm, I remembered praying. Just asking God to get us back safely and especially to protect the children that were on board. Prayers answered! It was just like Jesus saying to the storm, be still! Sound familiar?  In Matthew 8:23  Jesus was sleeping on a boat with his disciples when a violent storm erupted. The disciples were panicked and fearing that they were going to drown.  They woke Jesus and he just calmly told the storm to be still and it obeyed.

When we are confronted with “storms” in our lives, there’s no reason to get excited or panic.  We just need to call on Jesus to calm the situation. Have faith and know that He is God.

Kent Patton, Operations Manager

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