Last Sunday, we looked at a most spectacular account – Jesus calming a huge storm on the Sea of Galilee (Matt. 8:23-27). In Mark’s parallel account (Mark 4:35-41), we read that Jesus calmed this storm with just three words, “Peace! Be still!” So many things could be said about this powerful account, but let me just offer five applicational thoughts from this demonstration of Jesus’s power and authority. Four will sound familiar as I mentioned these items in last Sunday’s sermon; and the fifth thought is an addition, but a needed addition. Check out these five seriously serious stormy statements (try saying that five times faster)…
- Storms in life sometimes happen BECAUSE you are following Jesus. Think about it. Who commanded and led the disciples to cross the Sea of Galilee? You betcha. It was Jesus who commanded and led His disciples to cross the Sea of Galilee and subsequently led them right into the middle of a fierce storm. All of us must learn to decipher the difference between storms brought about because of our sin (storms of punishment), storms brought about because of Satan (storms of persecution), and storms brought about because of the Savior (storms of pruning). Bottom line, not all storms are because of your sin or Satan. Some storms in life happen precisely BECAUSE you are following Jesus.
- Storms in life sometimes happen out of nowhere – they’re unpredictable. Again, think about it. The disciples in Matt. 8:23-27 were totally not expecting a storm. It hit them, seemingly, out of nowhere! Because of how sudden and fierce the storm was, they were filled with great fear and even accused Jesus of not caring. Are you facing a storm right now? Did it seemingly come out of nowhere? Often this is how storms work. You are moving through life (work, vacation, school, family) and BAM you are hit with an incredible, overwhelming storm. Bottom line, the only expected thing about the storms of life is that they are often unexpected – they’re unpredictable. So, here’s some pastoral encouragement: Don’t live your life as if storms aren’t allowed to enter it. Storms happen.
- Storms in life is NOT an indication that God hates you or is unnecessarily messing with you. This is what the disciples momentarily thought as they shouted at Jesus through the roar of the storm, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?!” Please hear me, God is not some cruel puppet master in the sky who finds joy in your pain and suffering. God is good, kind, and loving even when we’re in pain…pain that He Himself puts us through. How can this be? Well, that’s the million-dollar question, isn’t it? But let me just offer this thought. Do you know how muscles grow? I suppose there are many right answers, but let me simply state it with this…”time under tension.” That’s right, you have to put your muscles through tension for a set period of time. The longer the tension, the greater impact you’ll receive with muscle growth and development. Perhaps God is putting you through a storm, not because He hates you or is messing with you, but to grow and develop your faith as He puts you in some “time under tension.”
- Storms in life give to you an opportunity to practice one of three kinds of faith: No faith, little faith, or great faith. Just before Jesus calmed the storm at sea, what did He do? Yeah, He rebuked His disciples for their “little faith.” Now, just hours before, Jesus had been wowed by a Roman Centurion’s “great faith.” So, in the words of Pastor Tim O’Tool, “How will Jesus marvel at your faith?” Will He marvel at how small it is or how great it is? Bottom line, all storms in life give to us a prime opportunity to exercise one of three kinds of faith: No faith, little faith, or great faith.
- Storms in life do NOT last forever. Praise the Lord for seasons in life! Darkness gives way to light. Hurt gives way to healing. Storms give way to calm. Hear me…the intensity of your storm right now might be fierce, and you may feel like you’re not going to make it, but storms do not last forever. Indeed, the One who put you into the storm has the power to still the storm – the one raging outside of you and the one raging inside of you.
As we close out this blog post, check out this song from the band, Skillet. It’s entitled, “Anchor.”