At Peace in the Storm

Ann Spangler
Ann Spangler
2013 7 Jan

Imagine that you have just fallen overboard into stormy seas. Fortunately a strong swimmer is nearby to rescue you. But if you flail about in a panic, trying to grab hold of the rescuer, you will only make his job worse. This is how Hannah Whitall Smith pictures the person who finds it difficult to trust God in the midst of personal battles. Instead of turning to God, this person becomes fearful, making it more difficult to receive the help God wants to send.

Smith points out that a great deal of what we call spiritual conflict might more accurately be labeled spiritual rebellion. “We fight,” she says, “but it is not a fight of faith, but a fight of unbelief. Our spiritual ‘wrestling,’ of which we are often so proud, is really a wrestling, not for God against his enemies, but against him on the side of his enemies. We allow ourselves to indulge in doubts and fears, and as a consequence we are plunged into darkness, and turmoil, and wrestlings of spirit.”[1]

The next time you are faced with a challenge that makes your knees shake and your heart lurch, think of yourself as a person in stormy seas. Picture Christ coming to you, taking hold of you, and carrying you safely to land. As you calm yourself in his presence, ask for his guidance so that you will know how to meet the challenge at hand.

While you pray, remind yourself that the spiritual struggles you face probably won’t be overcome in an instant. Instead, they require that you continually surrender, that you trust Christ for all that troubles you, and that you stand in the faith he gives you. 

 (Image courtesy of Travels with a dog and with a camera at

[1] Hannah Whitall Smith, Daily Secrets of the Christian Life (Ann Arbor, MI, Vine Books, 1985), 3.