In the same storm, but not in the same boat.

I read a post recently that explained it was a mistake to assume we are all in the same boat in this season of global pandemic and lockdown. It stated, “We are in the same storm, but not in the same boat. Your ship could be shipwrecked and mine might not be. Or vice versa … We are all on different ships during this storm experiencing a very different journey”.

As I pondered on the phrase, ‘we are all in the same storm, but not in the same boat’, I felt God unpack some deeper truths beyond the exhortation to have empathy for those facing difficulties of many kinds at this time.

Storm
We are indeed in the same storm.
This storm is a time of testing that is revealing the truth about our lives and the foundations of belief upon which they have been established.
The boat we are in represents our life and as the storm hits, its resilience is tested.

Boats
Some boats are taking on water.
What looked robust and impressive in the days of calm have quickly been exposed as fragile and flimsy in the time of testing. Lives built around job security, status and material comforts are all being stripped back leaving those on board in a state of distress as they start to sink.

Times
This is a time of confrontation.
Of facing the consequences for decisions where we have chosen to invest significantly in those things that only bring a temporary comfort. The storm is exposing these as counterfeit to the everlasting peace promised by Jesus and the treasures which cannot be destroyed.
I’m reminded of the parable (and Sunday School song!) of the wise and foolish men, building on the rock and on the sand. When the floods come, the wise man’s house established on the rock stands firm, while the house on the sand is washed away.
Regardless of the shape and size of the boat that people find themselves in, the integrity of each is being tested and many are being found wanting.

Ark
As with Noah, God sealed his family in the Ark; a boat that was secure and able to withstand the storm. As we learned recently in our Sunday teaching, Jesus was sent as God’s ‘better Ark’.
We have been hidden with Christ in God and eternal security and peace from the storm are ours.
 
Riding the storm
For many, despite the fragile appearance of their boats, they are still flourishing in the storm, sailing with confidence, negotiating the waves with ease. There is something different about these boats. They have another person on board, an experienced captain, calmly giving instructions and smiling reassuringly. His name is Jesus.
Even when some of these boats appear perilously in danger of being overwhelmed by the waves, the captain is unfazed and invites the sailor to step out into the waters to follow him, just as Peter did. Walking where Jesus leads means that even stormy seas can be a steadfast footing for the trusting child. They experience his supernatural provision and protection.

Help
But from many boats, there are calls of distress and cries for help going out to those secure in their boats. Many of the secure boats come together, lashing themselves to each other to create a steady platform of support for their brothers and sisters that are struggling. For those that are further adrift, they purposefully paddle their flotilla towards the helpless stricken vessels, extending an oar for them to grab onto so they might pull them to safety.
There are, however, others that are not impacted by the storm, who remain aboard their comfortable surroundings, appearing deaf to the cries and unmoved by the plight of their brothers and sisters. They can be seen motoring away from the distressing scenes, firmly in control of their direction. Alone at the helm. ‘To whom much is given, much will be required’ is inscribed on the hull of their boats.

And us … ?
If you’re experiencing distress of any kind in this storm, invite Jesus into your boat and focus on him and his instructions. He will guide you, comfort you and give you peace:
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NIV).
As we learn to sail in the storm with Jesus by our side, let us be ready to extend an oar of help in response to the cries around us.
Now is the time for the Body of Christ to mobilise for the greatest rescue mission of our time.

David J Devenish