In England, where I grew up, people don’t really talk about the weather despite the stereotype. In Tasmania, where I now live, we sometimes have four seasons in one hour. You’ll often see combinations like board shorts and puffer jackets and flip-flops and beanies all on the same person, all appropriate on the one day. Locals walk through showers, whether in suits or sandals, simply ignoring the rain.
Weather affects my moods and my inclinations, my energy levels and my enthusiasm. In this place, apart from anything else, I am learning to keep going whatever the weather. To enjoy the sun when it comes out but not too much (even dark skin is no match for a hole in the ozone), wrap up against a sudden Antartic snap, enjoy a light misting , or more, of rain and then get blown up the street by the wind.
And then there’s my personal weather. The competing pressures and dynamics of the aspirations and duties and people that surround and affect me. Every once in a while I find that these coalesce into a storm that throws me around and makes me feel anxious and inadequate. I worry about getting hurt. About drowning.
Then I remember the story of Jesus in the storm. It’s in Luke 8 v 22- 25.
Jesus and the disciples have set out in a boat on a calm lake, when a squall comes up and threatens to swamp the boat. The disciples are terrified. Jesus is asleep. They wake him up and he commands the wind and the waves to subside. Which they do. He asks them ‘where is your faith?’ They are amazed, seeing how powerful he is over an element that they, as fishermen, know pretty well and have a healthy fear of.
You know what’s coming. But it’s easy to ignore or forget. That same Jesus, the one in the book, the one from Sunday school, is in my boat, my life, with me. Resting. Undisturbed. Unmoved by the threats and roar of the waves, he lives his life with me. I need to be like him, unmoved, dead to the threat of these pressures. They are in fact the medium by which I move, the element through which my boat manoeuvres. I can use some winds but not all, ride some waves and avoid others. Better still, I can say to the seas and the winds, Be still. Because I can speak with the authority of Christ, who lives in me.