Into the Wilderness
The music director for the Methodist Texas annual conferences was doing mission work several years ago in Cameroon, which is a small country on the western coast of Africa. He was working with Christians who lived in extreme poverty, helping them to turn prayers into songs. A woman named Theresa Nomo, wrote this song; “In the boat with Christ my Lord on the wild and stormy sea, all is well both in this hour, and for all eternity. All is well both in this hour and for all eternity.” The music director said, “This is a great prayer song that people can pray all day. It’s a beautiful little song. But why don’t you complete it with a verse about Jesus calming the storm? Theresa replied, “Because all of my life is a storm. In the storm is where I experience Jesus. Jesus never promised that he would calm the storms of my life. He promises to be with me in the chaos of the stormy sea.”
Theresa is a woman who knows Jesus. Her life circumstances require that she spends more time developing her relationship with Christ than many Christians, especially Christians who live in affluent communities. Her life is lived in the chaos of the storm sea. She lives three days journey into the desert with no food. Her only option for salvation every day is complete reliance upon Jesus. Her little Christian community is the center of her life, her church means everything to her. She gives everything she can to serving others, and she spends all day every day in prayer, praying ceaselessly, “In the boat with Christ my Lord on the wild and stormy sea. All is well both in this hour and for all eternity.” Theresa knows Jesus because she literally gives her life to Jesus. She does not just say she believes in Jesus. Her knowledge of Jesus is so strong that she actually ministers to the missionaries who think they are coming to help her. She is ministering to us today.
As we enter Lent, we are entering the wilderness. This is the place of growth; if we choose to accept the challenge of growing through the struggles the wilderness brings. The first step in this growth is to practice the presence of God. Find a way to remind yourself throughout the day that Jesus is with you. Perhaps you could set your phone to sound an alarm throughout the day. This alarm is a reminder to stop for a few minutes. Recognize that Jesus is with you. Thank him for his presence, and ask him for the courage to grow through the challenges. In our relationship with God, everything begins with prayer, everything begins with practicing the presence of God, until the presence of God overwhelms us.
May our Lord Jesus guide you through the wilderness, protect you in the storm. May he bring you home rejoicing at the wonders he has shown you. May he bring you back rejoicing once again into your home.
Rev. Eric Meyer