The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!” Matt 8:27

This past week was one of the most trying weeks I have experienced in my life. My son is an officer in the Marines and is stationed at one of the hottest places in Afghanistan; Helmand Province. We knew he would be in danger, but the reality of just how dangerous was brought home in the terrible news that one of the young men under his command was killed by an I.E.D..

We had prayed that all of Chad’s men would return safe. Our prayers in this regard were not answered. We saw the Marines off as their platoon set out for their deployment. We were so impressed by those guys. They were young, but were excited about getting on with their mission. They posed for a picture. Their smiles indicated they were not concerned with the danger or the dangers that were ahead. Now, one of them had paid the ultimate price for his country.

That tragedy left us shaken and concerned for our boy. We grieved with the parents and we feared for our son. In the midst of my struggle, God’s Word spoke to me. I was making my way through Matthew as a part of my morning devotions. Then I came upon chapter 8. Jesus had just issued the call to follow him but he made it clear that it would not be without cost. For a disciple to follow Jesus, it would mean a willingness to live without an earthly home [20] and separation from his earthly family [22]. It would also mean enlisting in a “risky” mission.    

That is where the disciples found themselves at verse 23. Jesus and the disciples got into a boat. While on the sea a “furious storm” set upon them. While the disciples freaked out, Jesus slept. They woke him up and cried out, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” [Matt 8:25] Jesus calmly got up, rebuked the waves and it was suddenly calm.

Listen to the response of the disciples. They asked with great relief and wonder, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!” [Matt 8:27] As I read this, the thought came to me, if God controls the waves and the winds, does he not also control the trajectory of bombs and bullets? In other words, my son’s life is not in the murderous hands of the Taliban but in the gracious hands of my Lord. All of the days ordained for Chad were written in God’s book before one of them came to be. [Psalm 139:16] No one ambushes God or his plans for his people. In that I can rest.

I confess that it is not a passive rest. I still know that my son is in danger from men who are committed to killing him. That is an awful burden for a father to bear. If I could, I would go there and take the place of my Marine. But that is not possible and my son would have none of it. He is there by choice.  So, all day long I have to remind myself with the promises of God’s Word.  I pray throughout the day and night, often with tears. In the end, a peace comes upon me, the same peace that allowed Jesus to sleep in the midst of the storm. The One who loves me and my son, the One who controls winds and waves, also controls bombs and bullets.