When Sorrow Like Sea Billows Roll

The world is going through convulsions these days. This storm shall pass, but while we’re in it, we have a great opportunity to learn deep and lasting lessons. Let’s pray this prayer: Lord, help is go through this well as Christians, so we can help others who walk the same path.

Several years ago I came across an excellent example of how believers can respond in times of fear and real trouble. John Wesley was the founder of Methodism, and as a young man he went on a mission trip from England to the USA. Below is an excerpt from Wesley’s journal. He was on the ship bound for America and observed Moravian Brethren [anabaptist Christians, whom he sometimes called ‘Germans’] in the midst of a life-threatening storm:

——-

Sunday, January 25, 1736

At seven I went to the Germans [Moravians]. I had long before observed the great seriousness of their behaviour. Of their humility they had given a continual proof, by performing those servile offices for the other passengers, which none of the English would undertake; for which they desired, and would receive no pay, saying, “it was good for their proud hearts,” and “their loving Saviour had done more for them.”

And every day had given them occasion of showing a meekness which no injury could move. If they were pushed, struck, or thrown down, they rose again and went away; but no complaint was found in their mouth.

There was now an opportunity of trying whether they were delivered from the Spirit of fear, as well as from that of pride, anger, and revenge. In the midst of the psalm wherewith their service began, the sea broke over, split the main-sail in pieces, covered the ship, and poured in between the decks, as if the great deep had already swallowed us up.

A terrible screaming began among the English. The Germans calmly sung on.

I asked one of them afterwards, “Was you not afraid?”

He answered, “I thank God, no.”

I asked, “But were not your women and children afraid?”

He replied, mildly, “No; our women and children are not afraid to die.”

From them I went to their crying, trembling neighbours, and pointed out to them the difference in the hour of trial, between him that feareth God, and him that feareth him not. At twelve the wind fell. This was the most glorious day which I have hitherto seen.

——-

Hebrews 2:14,15

Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death–that is, the devil– and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.

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