There were several of them, traversing the sea from one bank to the other. The journey ensued and a great storm arose. Wind battered the small ship - to and fro, to and fro. The waves beat against the vessel until it seemed as if it would sink and all aboard should perish. The Master slept in the hinder part of the ship as the crew feared for their lives. Awoken, they inquired of him, "Master, carest thou not that we perish?"
"And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm." (Mark 4: 38-39)
I've been facing many a great storms in my life as of late. I have felt as the Apostles felt - afraid that I might sink. It has taken all my strength to stay above the waves. Discouragement and fear have been my companions. I find myself praying often, "Master, carest thou not that I perish?"
I have felt relative to Peter whom the Lord warned to be on his guard:
"Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat;"
But the Lord reminded Peter that He would never abandon him:
"But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not; and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren." (Luke 22: 31-32)
Previously, I have proclaimed to replace our fear with faith! I have had to draw on my reserves to do that. Life always has another storm around the bend, waiting for us, doesn't it? Honestly, I am not afraid of the storms anymore. My faith is sufficient to see me through, but the storms are still hard.
I feel like there is so much wisdom in verse 32 of Luke 22. Jesus tells us (1) that He is mindful of each of us and petitions on our behalf to our Father in Heaven; (2) always have faith; and (3) when your faith is sufficient, share your light with others and help to lift them so their faith might also be strengthened. I feel this constant back and forth. It makes sense to me now. When my faith is weak, I work on myself. When my faith is strong enough, I can then help others. Life is full of ups and downs. In order to exercise our faith continually it becomes necessary for us to stretch those spiritual muscles a little farther. Our Heavenly Father loves us enough to give us hard things so that we can stretch those muscles and become stronger. But just as with stretching the physical muscles in my body, stretching my spiritual muscles might cause me some discomfort or even a little pain.
My spiritual muscles are being stretched right now. When I am in the midst of my storms I always turn to the scriptures and to my Heavenly Father in prayer to help me find a way out. It has become my second nature and is my first instinct because I KNOW that is where my comfort lies. As I search, ponder, and pray for guidance and strength my discouragement and fear seem to lessen. I can understand why Satan would deceive the children of God into believing there is no need to pray. He doesn't want us to feel peace. He hates us and wants us to be miserable like he is. He wants us to separate ourselves from God so that our faith doesn't grow and so that we don't feel those healing balms that come from heaven. I am grateful for the knowledge I have of a loving Heavenly Father and a loving Savior. I know I am a child of God and I know that He knows me by name and loves me. And that is enough to help me endure any storms that come my way.