Genesis 19: 15-29
When morning dawned, the angels urged Lot, saying, “Get up, take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or else you will be consumed in the punishment of the city.” But he lingered; so the men seized him and his wife and his two daughters by the hand, the Lord being merciful to him, and they brought him out and left him outside the city. When they had brought them outside, they said, “Flee for your life; do not look back or stop anywhere in the Plain; flee to the hills, or else you will be consumed.” And Lot said to them, “Oh, no, my lords; your servant has found favor with you, and you have shown me great kindness in saving my life; but I cannot flee to the hills, for fear the disaster will overtake me and I die. Look, that city is near enough to flee to, and it is a little one. Let me escape there—is it not a little one?—and my life will be saved!” He said to him, “Very well, I grant you this favor too, and will not overthrow the city of which you have spoken. Hurry, escape there, for I can do nothing until you arrive there.” Therefore the city was called Zoar. The sun had risen on the earth when Lot came to Zoar.
Then the Lord rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur and fire from the Lord out of heaven; and he overthrew those cities, and all the Plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground. But Lot’s wife, behind him, looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.
Abraham went early in the morning to the place where he had stood before the Lord; and he looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah and toward all the land of the Plain and saw the smoke of the land going up like the smoke of a furnace.
So it was that, when God destroyed the cities of the Plain, God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when he overthrew the cities in which Lot had settled.
Psalm 26: 2-3, 9-12
Prove me, O Lord, and try me;
test my heart and mind.
For your steadfast love is before my eyes,
and I walk in faithfulness to you.
Do not sweep me away with sinners,
nor my life with the bloodthirsty,
those in whose hands are evil devices,
and whose right hands are full of bribes.
But as for me, I walk in my integrity;
redeem me, and be gracious to me.
My foot stands on level ground;
in the great congregation I will bless the Lord.
Matthew 8: 23-27
And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. A windstorm arose on the sea, so great that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. And they went and woke him up, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!” And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, you of little faith?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a dead calm. They were amazed, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him?”
What do your prayers sound like when you are afraid? What are your thoughts like? When you find yourself in crisis, do you find it easier or more difficult to sense God’s presence in the situation?
The readings today show us two stories in which a crisis arose and God's people struggled to keep their eyes on Him. In the Gospel, the disciples panicked in the midst of the storm. They forgot that Jesus was with them, and even questioned His care for them or whether they lived or died. All of a sudden the storm that had arisen seemed to have much more power than the One they had dedicated their lives to, who was with them the whole time. In the first reading, Lot argued out of fear with the very angel that God had sent to deliver him and his family from destruction. He seemed more accepting of death and skeptical of his rescuer, and his wife even opted for death when she chose to look back at Sodom. All they needed to do was go with the angel and trust that they would be alright, but the fear took over and they chose that place of fear instead of faith, and, in the case of Lot’s wife, this choice cost her her life.
When a storm arises in our lives, it is human nature to panic, to let our thoughts focus on our fears, and to abandon rational thought, let alone faith. We can wonder where God is, why He let this happen, or if He plans to help us. While it is natural to feel the fear, we ultimately choose what we do with it, and this choice can result in us coming through the storm with greater faith and trust in God, or in losing our peace to anxieties or making hasty decisions that we regret. Faith is a challenge during times like this, but it is essential to keeping our peace and coming through the trial with Him. If you are facing a storm today, take heart and ask the Lord for the grace to refocus your gaze on Him and to trust in His presence in every situation.
Prayer: Thank you Lord, for being with me in every moment of my life, especially during the storms. When I am afraid, help me to remember that you are with me, and to keep my faith in you rather than in the storm. Jesus, I love you and I trust in you. Amen.