Before and After the Storm | UMC YoungPeople
Connecting young people and their adult leaders to God, the church, and the world
May 2015

Before and After the Storm

By: Collins Etchi Ako

37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, such that it was nearly swamped. 38Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. - Mark 4:37– 39

Mark 4:35-41 reminds us of Christ’ presence with us in the storm and the fact that he is able to speak and command quietness to the storm. Very often, when the storms, winds and typhoons of life start blowing, we forget that Christ is right there; asleep in the boat with us. We forget that he is capable of commanding quietness to the storms, winds and typhoons of our life. During a trip to the Philippines for a youth and young adult event, I was reminded of Jesus’ presence when life’s storms, winds and typhoons start blowing.

I had seen different typhoons prior to this second trip to Manila, then Tagaytay in the Philippines for the United Methodist Church’s Global Young People’s Convocation and Legislative Assembly (GYPCLA) in July 2014. Sorry I almost forgot emphasizing the fact that all the typhoons I had seen prior to my Pilipino trip had been on television.

When our team got to Tagaytay, the venue for our 2014 GYPCLA gathering, most of the décor for the event had been set up, the CCT Tagaytay and Retreat Center was almost ready for more than four hundred delegates and other participants expected to be a part of this quadrennial world event. Our team had arrived four days before the opening event, to permit us to meet with the host organizing team and make some last minute recommendations. It was going to be the climax of twelve years of service and participation in Youth and Young Adult ministry for me. All had been very quiet, except for the conference calls with other planning team members from different parts of the world, a few last minute emails and travelling across three continents.

It is evening, July 16,2014, the eve of our official opening ceremony, and it is raining. Different delegations from different parts of the world are arriving at the venue for the event and all of us are working hard in the rain to help the CCT staff find rooms for our delegates. Youth, young adults and other youth workers from all around the world are gathering to worship, pray, and work together. At about 1:30am typhoon Glenda makes hits the retreat center. I had never seen a typhoon before and I am very scared. Winds are battering everything in its path and we are working hard to make sure everybody is safe.

Once everyone is accounted for, I finally run into the hall which we were using as office space for the planning team to move our laptops and other office equipment to safety. It is there that I meet Jesus asleep in the storm; there was a group of delegates singing and playing the guitar. It was a small group but our global church was represented; Philippinos, Africans, Americans… I joined them and we sang through the Typhoon. The following day, the organizers found a different venue for the program and before leaving the damaged retreat centre, all of us present made a special offering to the CCT retreat centre to help fund repairs for the damaged retreat center.

During the typhoon, we were able to sing, to pray, to have morning devotion and to make an offering. As the storms of life blow, do not stop singing God’s goodness and faithfulness, do not stop praying, do not stop meditating God’s word and please make an offering. Through these different acts of prayer, meditation, singing and offering, Jesus is commanding quietness to your storm. Asleep or awake, Jesus Christ is Lord. By faith we know Christ is always present. Faith and fear cannot exist together, fear paralyzes faith. It is windy, stormy and there is a typhoon, fear not, for Christ is present and all powerful.

Prayer: O God, help me see and feel the presence of Christ in my life and in my heart at all times. As I journey through life fill me, inspire me, strengthen me and free me to respond generously to your call. Amen.

Discussion questions: What do you do when the winds, storms and typhoons of life starts to blow? Do you see Christ commanding quietness to the storm, if not why?

See more devotions from Collins and our other Young Adult writers, or find our how you can become a writer yourself at our By Young Adults for Young Adults devotion page.