By Pastor Paula Lund Burchill
We have been sharing devotions with you most days this week, and will continue to do so. You get them in an email. They are an audio devotion you can find however you do podcasts, called “Encounters with the Word.” I have had some ask for me to share in print the devotion I shared this past Tuesday. Here it is and may God hold you in the palm of his hand in these times.
Several years ago, my friend Julie flew out to visit with another friend of ours. Julie was a new mom and had never flown alone since she had had kids. She was as nervous as a cat. Gripping the arms of her seat, which was fully in the upright possession, she prayed with white knuckles for Jesus to protect her so that her children would not be left motherless.
As the plane ascended to its cruising altitude, Julie was able to relax just a bit. She and Becca shared a laugh, ordered some ginger ale.
But then the captain’s voice came over the loudspeaker, telling people to buckle up because they were going to be experiencing some turbulence. Julie’s eyes flew open and she once again grabbed the arms of her seat.
Becca, pried a hand free, took it in her own, and said to her: Jesus is in the turbulence, Julie. Jesus is in the turbulence.
I love that phrase—Jesus is in the turbulence. I have said it to myself countless times since hearing the story after my friends landed safely in Seattle.
Psalm 139 is a Psalm that speaks of God knowing us inside and out. From the time even before we were born. And it speaks of those times in our lives of turbulence:
Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are here; if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there. If I take the wings of the morning and settle at the farthest limits of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me. And you right hand shall hold me fast.
Good people of faith, in these turbulent times, know that Jesus is in the turbulence. That the mystery of our faith is that in the times of our lives that seem the most bleak, the most dark, the most scary, that is precisely where God is hanging out—so that we never have to go through those times alone.
Try this: Close your eyes and open up your hands. Imagine Jesus, taking your hands in his. Imagine Jesus saying to you: I am in these turbulent times. There is nowhere you can go that I will not have already gone before you.
As Psalm 139 continues: If I say, surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light around me become night. Even the darkness is not dark to you, O God, the night is as bright as the day. For darkness is as light to you.
Jesus is in the turbulence. Right beside you. Holding your hand.