Up and down the waves crash violently all around you. You can feel the cold ocean spray as it whips through the wind to greet exposed skin like a leather whip meets the skin of a prisoner. Through the noise of the wind and the sea, you can barley hear the cadence keeping your rowing in sync with the others. “Pull, pull, pull.” The water drips down your face causing your eyes to be blinded. You can barely see your friends in the boat around you, struggling, pulling, gripping, grunting against the perils of the waves. The motion of the oars seems to be the only thing keeping the boat afloat.
Yet, through the waves and the ocean spray, you see a figure out on the water. You shout to your friend beside you to point his attention out on the water. He sees the figure and word spreads around the boat as quick as fear settling in. There must be a ghost on the water. It must be an apparition. Even though you can barely see, there is something about the figure that you recognize. Could it be…?
That night the disciples were out on the sea of Galilee, in the midst of the storm, in the midst of a terrible situation, inches from death, but closer to their Savior than they realized. The storm was a testing time. Matthew describes the boat as being “battered by the waves” (Matt. 14:24). The waves stood as an unofficial test of integrity and strength. A well crafted boat would stand up to the pressures of the waves and storms. A poorly crafted boat would crack and crumble in the tumult of waves. This storm was not just a testing ground for the boat, but more importantly the disciples.
The storms in life sometimes sneak up at the most inconvenient time. Yet, the true test of character is always during those tough moments, those stormy moments, those moments we feel the waves hitting against the bow. Our characters are like that boat the disciples rode in 2,000 years ago. As Christians, when we are tried, will we stand true? Like the boat that one stormy night, when the waves of society batter our lives, will our characters emerge from the storm full of integrity and strength?
The storms we face in life give us opportunity to exemplify true Christ-like characters. Through daily study of the word, prayer and encouragement from each other, we are built strong, full of integrity. Paying diligent attention to the status of your character before the storm hits, will ensure you will come out of it tried and true.
by Michael Gibson