Clinging to Hope in the Storm | Introduction

Save me, O God, for the floodwaters are up to my neck. Deeper and deeper I sink into the mire; I can’t find a foothold. I am in deep water and the floods overwhelm me. I am exhausted from crying for help. (psalm 69:1–3 nlt)

I’ve been in many storms on the ocean in Alaska, but one stands out in which I was sure I would die. It was September, when the weather often turns stormy. There were three of us—my husband, my father-in-law, and me—on a 25-foot speedboat. After a long commercial fishing season, one hundred miles of open ocean lay between us and home. Despite waiting for a calm morning, the sky turned dark within twenty minutes of our departure. Huge waves heaped and curled above the small craft. The wind howled in our ears.

Then one of our engines blew. Sideways in the curl and trough of the sea, we took on water with the break of every wave. As the boat sank lower and lower, we scrambled to put on our survival suits. I was scared, knowing we could all die. Our crippled boat fought the angry seas for three hours until we limped into the shelter of a bay and the homestead of an old man who took us in.

In the Bible, the Gospels tell us of two perilous storms on the Sea of Galilee when the disciples feared for their lives. Both times, in the midst of the gale, they experienced a confusing mix of emotions, as I did in my storm. Jesus was with them, but his presence did not instantly end the danger. They were desperate for his protection, yet they were uncertain of his love. The inner storm this caused was even worse than the storm itself.

Storms come to everyone, not just fishermen. All of us experience struggles and trials throughout our lives. Sometimes it seems as if a trial will never end. You may be there right now, facing sickness, divorce, financial troubles, a prodigal child, a crisis of faith. But hang on, because even when the storm is still raging, Jesus brings real hope and good news in the midst of it.

Leslie Leyland Fields