There is a cruise ship named, "The Anthem of the Seas." It has 16 passenger-accessible decks with a total of 2,090 passenger cabins. The ship also has a surf simulator, a rock-climbing wall, a sky-diving simulator, swimming pools, a solarium, a Spa and Fitness Center, a theater, and a football stadium. Ok, I made the last one up but it still sounds very impressive.
On February 7, 2016, the ship sailed through a very serious storm off the coast of Northern Carolina while sailing from New Jersey to Port Canaveral, Florida. The ship was caught in 9-meter waves, with a wind of over 200km/h. Passengers were advised to stay in their cabins, as the rocking of the ship overturned furniture and caused damage in public areas and cabins, including collapsing part of a suspended ceiling and rendering one of the ship's propellers useless. Thankfully, only four passengers suffered minor injuries.
The rocking ship made me think of James chapter 1 today. In verse 5 it says, "If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you." However, verse 6 says, ""But When you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like of wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind."
How often do we ask, hoping for answered prayer right away? However, when it is not, we panic.
I think faith is a lot like working with weights at the gym. We want to be fit and strong. However, we would prefer to go to the gym and get, “fit and strong,” after one visit, because working out is tough. Exercising faith is similar. It takes time to grow and develop. If everything worked out exactly as planned, we would not need faith. When the Bible says, “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we cannot see.” –Hebrews 11:1, it is teaching us to get comfortable with perseverance and waiting.
When we ask God for something in a crisis, the tendency is to ask, wait a minute or two, and then panic (think about everything that could go wrong). That is what makes us feel like a wave tossed in the sea. We are so full of fear and panic, we lose all sense of focus on God's promise, and our thoughts become inundated with as many worst-case scenarios as we can think up.
So what do we do? It is all about trust. A situation may turn out the way we hope, but it may not. Nevertheless, when we trust that God’s purpose is the only thing that matters, our faith will grow and the peace will come…no matter what comes our way.