Devotional Readings

In the Storms of Life

Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. Hebrews 2:17.

A storm brewed just ahead of the English steamboat Ariel. The crew urged all passengers to safety below decks. But one passenger approached the captain with an odd request. He wanted to be lashed to a mast on the deck.

The captain stared in surprise at this small man with a weathered face. At length, crew members did as the man asked.

The steamboat sailed into the teeth of the storm. For four hours the wind drove waves furiously around the boat. And the passenger stood there paralyzed, helpless. He had known he would be terribly frightened. He knew he wouldn’t be able to stay above deck if given a choice.

But he wanted, as he said later, to really see the storm. To feel the storm, to have the storm blow itself into him until he became a part of it. That’s why he had himself bound to a mast.

After this experience, the passenger, Joseph Mallord William Turner, went back to his studio and painted a remarkable picture that captured the awesome energy of the elements. It became one of the great artist’s masterpieces.

Only after the artist experienced the storm could he fully understand its fury. He painted a masterpiece because he personally felt the fierceness of the wind, the pelting of the rain, the rocking of the boat, the salt spray of the waves, and the horrendous claps of thunder in the darkness of the night. Before Jesus could fully redeem us, He needed to experience what we experience in order to be our perfect Savior. He too needed to experience the fury of the storm. He needed to experience all of life’s challenges. He needed to be wrenched with all of life’s anguish and torn apart with all of life’s heartbreak. If you are feeling lonely, Jesus understands, for He felt lonely too when His people rejected Him.

Has someone betrayed you? Do you feel hurt? Jesus felt hurt when one of His best friends betrayed Him. Is your body wracked with pain? His was as He hung on the cross. Do you face temptations that just seem to overpower you? Jesus experienced Satan’s fiercest temptations. He understands. Through it all He was faithful. We can come to Him with all of our sorrows, disappointments, pain, and temptation. He will strengthen us to triumph just as He did. We have a sympathizing Savior who understands us and who is there to give us daily strength to meet life’s greatest challenges.

from On Solid Ground
Mark Finley | Review & Herald (2003)
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