November is the beginning of the holiday season with the great American feast day showing up on the fourth Thursday of this month. For November’s Wisdom Wednesday, I will highlight four aspects of Christianity that I am thankful for based on the writings of the Ancient Church Fathers.
And how, you say, can faith increase? It does so when we suffer something horrible for the sake of faith. It is a great thing for faith to be solidly established and not to be carried away by some sophistry. But when the winds assail us, when the rains on every side and the waves follow on one another, that fact that we are not shaken is a proof that faith grows, grows abundantly and becomes more exalted.
-Chrysostom Homilies on II Thessalonians 2
In the gospel accounts recorded in the New Testament, we are given several accounts of storms. Winds whipped up on the Sea of Galilee as the disciples of Jesus tried to make their way across the body of water. These violent winds caused their ship to take on water and provoked despair in their gut. While I’ve never been in the belly of a ship during the turmoil of a tsunami, I can only imagine what it would be like.
In my mind’s eye I picture the scene as the storm that struck the ship early on in Life of Pi or the squall captured in Perfect Storm. How terrifying?
Jesus once described another storm in relation to how foolish and wise people act. A fool will take short cuts and will build their house on the sand. While it might be easier to work on the malleable soil, nothing of worth will last. Instead it’s the wise that will do the work and lay a sure foundation for their home.
In that passage Jesus told the people that the storms of life will come, it will hit the homes of both the wise and foolish. It will hit both those who respond to the words Christ and those who reject his words. The promise of Jesus is that those who place their hope in him will not have their life destroyed, even when the storms hit.
I am thankful that in Christ we can have an assurance of salvation, even in times of turmoil. As the great church father wrote above in a sermon on II Thessalonians, faith in Christ will help us withstand the winds whipped up in life. If we build our life on the rock of Christ, then we can withstand the hurricanes that make landfall on our souls.