Sunday, November 10, 2013

Master, the Tempest is Raging

As most everyone is (or should be) aware of by now, the Philippines was recently hit by Typhoon Haiyan, which was one of the largest storms in recorded history. The devastation and loss of life is overwhelming, and my heart is aching as the reports and pictures and descriptions of this tragic event are making the news.

Credit: RAUL BANIAS/AFP/Getty Images

I was looking at the pictures on this morning (link here) and a couple thoughts came to mind.

The first was this account given in Matthew 8:23-27
 23 And when he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him.
 24 And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep.
 25 And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish.
 26 And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.
 27 But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!
Then came the words of the hymn:

Master, the Tempest Is Raging

Hymns, Master, the Tempest Is Raging, no. 105
1. Master, the tempest is raging!
The billows are tossing high!
The sky is o'ershadowed with blackness.
No shelter or help is nigh.
Carest thou not that we perish?
How canst thou lie asleep
When each moment so madly is threat'ning
A grave in the angry deep?
The winds and the waves shall obey thy will:
Peace, be still.
Whether the wrath of the storm-tossed sea
Or demons or men or whatever it be,
No waters can swallow the ship where lies
The Master of ocean and earth and skies.
They all shall sweetly obey thy will:
Peace, be still; peace, be still.
They all shall sweetly obey thy will:
Peace, peace, be still.
2. Master, with anguish of spirit
I bow in my grief today.
The depths of my sad heart are troubled.
Oh, waken and save, I pray!
Torrents of sin and of anguish
Sweep o'er my sinking soul,
And I perish! I perish! dear Master.
Oh, hasten and take control!
3. Master, the terror is over.
The elements sweetly rest.
Earth's sun in the calm lake is mirrored,
And heaven's within my breast.
Linger, O blessed Redeemer!
Leave me alone no more,
And with joy I shall make the blest harbor
And rest on the blissful shore.
Text: Mary Ann Baker, ca. 1874
Music: H. R. Palmer, 1834-1907
Now, I don't know the exact reasons why the Lord allows such things to happen. He has the power to prevent the storms, to protect us from the calamities, and to preserve our lives, but often allows these events to take place for purposes known only to Him. It requires not only faith to "be still and know that He is God" (Psalm 46:10), but also hope that "all these things shall give (us) experience, and shall be for (our) good." (Doctrine & Covenants 122:7).

I do know, however, that disasters, tragedies, and calamities often give the rest of us great opportunities to serve. We need to remember the Savior's words in Matthew 25:34-40
34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
35 For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

Just some food for thought this Sabbath Day.

(and be sure to listen to the Tabernacle Choir as they sing "Master, the Tempest is Raging" from the October 2013 General Conference)

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