Thursday - August 6th Scripture to Read for Today's Devotional: Mark 4:35-41
Today's Selection from our Sermon on the Mount Reading Plan: Matthew 5:27-32
"Who is this?
Even the wind and the waves obey him!"
As Jesus and the disciples crossed the Sea of Galilee after a long day of ministry, a storm threatened to capsize and sink the boat. Even with Jesus in the boat with them (though he was napping), the disciples panicked. Many of the disciples were experienced fishermen accustomed to fierce storms on the Sea of Galilee. But, they still panicked. It must have been an awful storm.
Before we are too critical of the disciples for being overwhelmed by fear when they had Jesus with them, we need to evaluate our own tendency to panic. The coronavirus pandemic brought intense anxiety over all of the unknown factors related to health and the economy. Our world has panicked more than once during this stormy year. One of the phrases that has become a part of our 2020 vocabulary is "panic buying."
During the first wave of COVID-19 back in March and April, panic buying occurred across the country. We experienced a shortage of toilet paper, hand soap, work-out equipment, and meat. When stores had any of these and other hard-to-find products, shoppers were limited to one item per trip to the store. While toilet paper and other items now line the shelves, on Wednesday, Clorox announced that disinfecting cleaning wipes will not be readily available in stores until 2021. The demand has been so high, companies like Clorox have failed to meet the demand.
Yesterday, the New York Times included an article entitled, "The New Panic Buys: Kayaks, Pools, Tents, and Trampolines." These are the panic buying items of the second surge of coronavirus in our country. People are looking for ways to get outside, enjoy the summer, and stay safe with family and friends. The article mentions that RV sales and rentals this summer are at an all-time high for any summer in recent history. As consumers, we feel better controlling our own environment of living beyond our homes. We prefer tents and RV's to hotel rooms or Airbnb rentals. We keep the space clean. We know who stayed in the tent or RV recently.
It is so intriguing to me that patterns of panic buying have changed throughout our coping with the COVID-19 pandemic. While we face the same needs, challenges, and concerns of the non-believers in the world around us, we should not panic as they do. In Jesus' sermon on the mount, He mentioned that we should not panic like non-believers.
The example of the disciples panicking in Mark chapter four should help us understand that we walk with the one who can with a phrase, not even a full sentence, calm the fiercest battle. When I was a kid, we would sing a song in our children's ministry at church that said, "With Christ in my vessel, I will smile at the storm." How can we smile at the storm? We serve the One Who can quiet any storm, and if He sovereignly chooses not to calm the storm, He can safely get us through it.
No matter how worrisome and dark life is right now, don't panic. Jesus is with you! Take some time today to acknowledge before Him in prayer that you trust Him in the storm!
The winds may be howling, and the waves may be crashing, but Christ Jesus has your back!