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Bolts from the Blue!

Updated: Dec 12, 2023

I remember, in March of 1999, preparing to travel to Edmonton for my Graduate courses. Two days before the trip, 1decided to go into Sydney and get a haircut. I kissed Cathy goodbye... Got into my car and not too far down the road 1was involved in a car accident and as a result broke my neck. The accident came out of the blue and I was traumatized. My world was turned upside down.

I had to cancel all my plans and my neck was kept immobilized for nine weeks. I did an absolutely dumb thing by getting up and walking around after the accident. The specialist on such things said I had a "hangman's break". One bad move or if I had moved my head in a different way and I would have died instantly. At best I could be paralyzed. Nonetheless, here was a case where the unexpected happened.

I recall in December of 1988, when after a few months of illness my father died of Cancer at the age of fifty-one. I can remember how my mother anguished over the loss of her husband of thirty-one years and the emotional hurt of my brothers and sister. I suddenly found myself picking out a coffin and taking part in funeral arrangements. I always mark this as the moment when I grew up and became an adult.

Six years later, my brother dies at the age of thirty-three. After having barely recovered from her husband's death, my mother had to endure the death of her son. Death too soon and 1t took years for us to fully recover from the grief we experienced.

Now these stories are not that uncommon. Each of us has experienced something like this. So, it is rather easy for us to say that we know someone who has been through an unexpected experience, of huge trauma, when their world has suddenly fallen apart.

As we grow older, we experience more death. We experience more of the unexpected events that almost seem to change our perception of reality, which leaves a mark, a scar. Out of the clear blue sky, a storm blows up from nowhere and we are plunged deep into it. To go from a calm existence to a stormy world evokes terrible shock and panic.

At a moment like this, where do we tum to find strength? Who can calm us in the midst of trauma? Maybe these events are something we must simply endure and that any comfort is small comfort.

Like the Sea of Galilee, human life is a mixture of beautiful calm, sunny days and terrible storms, and all conditions in between. When the unexpected comes, it sometimes seems like God has deserted us. If we ever think that God isn't listening, let alone not answering, be assured that God is still there, seeking us out and quietly imploring us to live in Peace.

Jesus is always there, and His authority is shown to extend to the world of natural forces. He may appear to be asleep, and he may offer us help in ways we don't expect, but if we sincerely ask Him and trust in Him, He will go to the heart of the matter and calm the storm within us.

The Disciples grew spiritually, for they, like us received new insights into Jesus. With Jesus, we are a little more prepared for the storm. Jesus is able to bring Grace into a situation which only the most observant might see at the time. It is through these 'life storms' that we are able to grow stronger and become better able to handle the next storm, growing spiritually toward God, through our pain and distress and difficulties.

For the reality is that when we are fearful and anxious about our own welfare and the welfare of others, St. Mark 4:41 tells us that we need not worry. For," Even the wind and the sea obey Him". It is all part of Gods plan. Faith trusts God to achieve His purpose even through apparent destruction, even when it is out of the blue.

When this happens, we can ask Him to part of our pain and anxieties. When we allow Jesus into our lives, things begin to change. The burden is lighter because it is shared. Nothing is worse than carrying pain by yourself. Take it to Jesus or to the people whom Jesus has given you.

Like the Disciples, we can wake Jesus up instead of allowing Him to sleep. So that when we find ourselves in crisis or are in the position of providing comfort to those in distress, it is the awakened Jesus within us that may give the Grace of Peace during the storms, which invariably swarm around us.

Overtime, it is that Peace, which allows us to move on, and it is that Peace that gets us through the sting of death or the dying of what once was. It is good to remember that if we trust in Jesus, our wounds will be healed, and we can continue on our life's journey prepared for the next storm.

Let us pray:

Calming and reliable God,

When the storms break, we break too!

Especially if the storm is sudden and unexpected,

Panic sets in, we find ourselves drowning, unable to breathe.

Calming and reliable God,

Give us the Faith we need to hang on, in times of darkness, terror and despair.

Thank you, God.


For Morning Prayer on the Second Sunday After Pentecost Published on June 25th, 2000 {Revised on November 24th, 2022}

© Dr. Charles Warner 2022

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