“Jesus is with you even when you don’t feel His presence. He is never so close to you as He is during your spiritual battles.”St. Padre Pio
In 2019, Zach Williams and Dolly Parton released a single “There was Jesus”. When Zach Williams wrote the song, he was reflecting on his life and saw Jesus present in his struggles and his successes.
This song paints a beautiful image of Jesus as our companion on our journey. He is the one constant companion, in our successes, our failures, our brokenness, our loneliness, when we are searching, waiting, and healing. In other words, He is always by our side even when we don’t hear Him or feel Him.
The other day, while walking and listening to this song, the lyrics moved me very deeply. I started to think about the crosses I often see as I walk. These crosses remind me of my own crosses that Jesus helped me embrace and carry.
The part of the song that brought tears to my eyes was the chorus where it speaks about Jesus being like a blessing found in the shattered pieces. I visualized this image of Jesus on His knees putting all these broken pieces of glass together to form an image of me, reflecting all His goodness. Each piece of glass represents something in my life that brought some form of hurt or failure. Yet through His healing, His presence in every moment, He picks them all up and transforms that brokenness into me, the one created and loved by God.
We all have storms and brokenness in our past. If we see Jesus’ presence as we reflect on our past, why is it still so hard for us to trust that He is there in the midst of the storm?
In 1Kings 19:9-13, God tells Elijah to go out and stand before Him. Elijah sees a great wind, an earthquake and fire, yet God was not present in any of those powerful forms of nature. What we learn from the reading is that God was present in a small whispering sound that Elijah hears.
What about in the gospel reading when the disciples, surrounded by heavy winds on the Sea of Galilea, don’t recognize Jesus as the Son of God until the wind dies down?
In both stories, the children of God don’t recognize God in the theatrical moments but afterwards in the whisper of the wind.
Perhaps, we find it hard to trust because we still struggle with finding God in the tiny whisper. We focus on the storm, not allowing our hearts to be open to the wider landscape.
We saw in the gospel that Peter struggled with this. He was walking on water but the minute he focused on the storm, he began to sink.
Often, I find myself, like Peter, taking my eyes off Jesus and focusing on the storm. Even though my head knows through my own experiences that Jesus is right there with me, ready to rescue me from the raging waters, fear still overcomes me. Until I focus back on Jesus and His presence, anxieties take hold of me, pain from my past floods my body, and I feel as if I’m drowning.
Jesus invites us to recognize Him in the whisper of the wind during the theatrical moments in our own lives.
He truly is the blessing in your storms and your brokenness. He waits in the middle of the broken pieces for you to allow Him to put them together and reveal a beauty buried beneath it all – a better you , a stronger you, a valued you, a loved you…
Will you recognize His presence in the current storm or the one to come holding out His hand to pull you out of the raging water, up from the rubble burying you?