White Knuckles

By: Alan Harvey

Posted: June 18, 2018

Category: Daily Devotional

They went to Him and woke Him up, shouting, “Master, Master, we are perishing!”
Luke 8:24
Read Luke 8:22-25

It was the Spring of 1990 and I was returning from my second trip to Europe. I had joined a tour led by the pastor, who supervised me during my intern year at Rock Spring Presbyterian Church in Atlanta. Dick Ribble and his wife, Jean, had become good friends and he came and participated in my installation service as your Associate Pastor in September 1998. Dick and Jean have now joined the Church Triumphant and I sorely miss them.

We had attended the Oberammergau Passion Play in Germany and had visited Austria, Italy, and Switzerland. We had a great time and we were returning to Orlando from whence our journey began. One of Dick’s members from Crystal River was seated beside me. We had been enjoying a good conversation but as the flight began to experience some turbulence I guess I had been noticed to be quieter than usual. We were rollicking even more and the passenger seated beside me said, “Alan, I did not know that you were a white knuckle flyer.” It was then that I looked at my hands with their ironclad grip on the armrests and sure enough my knuckles were as white as snow. I suppose that I was trying to deal with my anxiety in a way that has served me well over the years, namely praying the Jesus Prayer*.

I was hoping not to draw any more attention for fear of making fellow passengers more apprehensive. We landed safely (Praise the Lord!) and then we went our separate ways to go to our respective homes. If I had been aboard that boat with Jesus and His disciples, then I would have been one of the ones to awaken Jesus as we crossed the lake during that fierce storm.

Storms are frightening be they electrical storms, raging floodwaters, or fierce winds. Of course, not all of the storms we encounter are natural. Other storms could be the loss of a job, the turmoil of a separation or divorce, heated arguments that can lead to estrangement of families, friends or neighbors, indebtedness, substance abuse, or other situations.

In the midst of the storms of life, we can take comfort knowing that Jesus is with us. He can give us courage and strength. He reassures us that He is with us and He will not fail or forsake us. It is a great blessing to know we are not alone even when we seem to be battered from all sides.


O Lord, You did not promise us that we would not encounter storms in our lives. You did promise us that You would never fail or forsake us. May this promise help us through the difficult and trying times so that as we emerge of the other side, we discover that our faith has become stronger. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

*Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy upon me, a sinner.