Are you in the midst of a storm? In Mark’s gospel, there is a story about a boat caught in a terrible storm that arose suddenly and violently. It was so intense that the waves were not only breaking over the boat, but the boat was filling with water and on the verge of sinking. The disciples were afraid. Mark tells us that Jesus was asleep in the stern of the boat and resting soundly when the disciples roused him with a question: “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” Jesus seemed to ignore their question, and instead said to the wind and the waves, “Peace! Be still!” In the storms of our lives, we need to remember that the waves threatening to overturn us are under Jesus’ control. The reality is our walk with God will not always be smooth sailing. But Jesus is in complete control of the storms in our life and has a purpose for them.
Bottom Line: Find God’s purpose in your storm.
Something To Talk About:
In his book Rumors of Another World, Philip Yancey says, “No one gets an exemption from hardship on planet Earth. … The Bible never minimizes hardship or unfairness – witness books like Job, Psalms, and Lamentations. It simply asks us to withhold final judgment until all the evidence is in.” Withholding judgment and maintaining our faith can be the toughest task. We want to make sense of it, to understand, to reason why. Sitting with God in the midst of adversity is a test of faith. If you are in a storm of life today, or in a storm sometime in the future, you do so:
- With his knowledge: We all experience storms. Sometimes the storms are merely inconveniences that get in the way of our daily routine. Other times they create havoc in our lives, and bring chaos or distress. And sometimes they are life-changing; completely altering the way we view life, plan for the future, and even get through the day. But regardless of the storm, it will never be a surprise to the Lord. He’s been there. He knows how you feel. He knows you. He changed the course of history. He changed millions of lives. He knows everything we are going through. More than that, He’s orchestrating our circumstances for His glory and our benefit, according to His good will. This quote from C.H. Spurgeon can bring hope to you in the midst of a storm: “The Lord knows all about your troubles before they come to you; He anticipates them by His tender foresight. Before Satan can draw the bow, the preserver of men will put His beloved beyond the reach of the arrow. Before the weapon is forged in the furnace, and prepared on the anvil, He knows how to provide us with armor of proof which shall blunt the edge of the sword and break the point of the spear.”
- With His presence: In the storms of life, you may feel as if you’ve been abandoned by God. You may feel as if your whole world has been turned upside down and wonder how you can possibly survive with the boat sinking. In times like these, you can feel very much alone. But you are not alone. God is with you. Even if you do not feel Him near, God is there. God looks at you with love regardless of what you are doing. We may have lost sight of Him, but He will never lose sight of us. He promises to never leave us alone. Therefore, wherever you are, God is. There are many passages of scripture that reveal that Jesus is not indifferent to storms of this life. John 9:1 tells us, “As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth.” John 9:35 says, “Jesus heard that they had cast him out, and having found him he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” and John 11:33-35. says, “When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled. And he said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus wept.” God is always present.
- For His purposes: God does not look upon the storms of life as we do. Where we see stress he sees opportunities. Where we see crisis, He sees growth and betterment. There is always a purpose. There are other storms in the lives of those Jesus loved, who also were in God’s will. There is the story of Lazarus in John chapter 11. Then there is the story of the stoning of Stephen in Acts 7:55-60. Paul Stoned at Lystra in Acts 14:19-20 and Paul shipwrecked in Acts. 27:1-44. Storms come into the lives of everyone but a unique promise is given to those who belong to God by faith in Jesus Christ when they experience storms? “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
- Why do you think we use the term storm to describe difficult times in our lives?
- List some events and circumstances that we would consider “storms” in life? What are some storms you have encountered in your life?
- If a variety of passages in the Bible reveal that Jesus is not indifferent to our storms, why do you think He is indifferent to yours?
- Although we can feel alone in the midst of a storm, this is not the truth. Read Hebrews 13:5-6. What do you see in here that is an encouragement in the midst of storms?
- A final passage to meditate upon that is helpful in storms is Psalm 46. Spend some time reading and meditating on it’s truths.
- Would you ask God to give you a glimpse of His purpose for allowing a storm to sweep through your life?
Take One Thing Home with You
Mark 4:42 finished the story of Jesus calming the seas. “ And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” The disciples were frightened. The only thing more frightening than being in a small boat in the middle of a big storm is being in a small boat with a man who shouts at big storms and the winds and the waves listen to Him. They had seen another side of Jesus that they had not seen before. Even the waves and the wind obey Him. He has power over the elements. He controls nature itself.
We all experience storms and our inclination is to cry out, “Jesus, don’t you see what’s going on? Are you asleep while we are in harm’s way? Don’t you care if we drown?” Instinctively we know better, but even with a theological foundation, we’re not so sure at times.
Jesus is there in the midst of the storm of doubt, in waves of despair, in the hurricane strength winds of defeat. He rests in the assurance of God’s care in the storm. His presence with the disciples in the storm tells us more about who he is–neither removed from suffering, nor always preventing suffering–then why we suffer. “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” He is the Son of God who is bigger than we can understand and more powerful than we can control. We need the faith that knows the Savior of the World is on board.