Jesus said that storms will come in our lives, but they don’t have to overcome us. Sometimes he calms the storms, but other times he calms His Disciple. One of the most difficult parts of the Christian life is the fact that becoming a disciple of Christ does not make us immune to life’s trials. Why would a good and loving God allow us to go through such things as the death of a loved one, disease, injury, financial problems, worry and fear? Surely, if He loved us, He would take all these things away from us. After all, doesn’t loving us mean He wants our lives to be easy and comfortable? Well, no, it doesn’t. The Bible clearly teaches that God loves those who are His children, and He “works all things together for good” for us (Romans 8:28). So that must mean that the trials and tribulations He allows in our lives are part of the working together of all things for good. Therefore, for the believer, all trials and tribulations must have a divine purpose.
As in all things, God’s ultimate purpose for us is to grow more and more into the image of His Son (Romans 8:29). This is the goal of the Christian, and everything in life, including the trials and storms, is designed to enable us to reach that goal. It is part of the process of sanctification, being set apart for God’s purposes and fitted to live for His glory. The way trials accomplish this is explained in 1 Peter 1:6-7(ESV) “In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which perishes, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” The true believer’s faith will be made sure by the trials we experience so that we can rest in the knowledge that it is real and will last forever.
Trials develop godly character, and that enables us to Romans 5:3-5(NLT)3 We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. 4 And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. 5 And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.
1. SOMETIMES HE CALMS THE STORMS:
a. Just because you’re in a storm doesn’t mean you’ve sinned, Jesus said we will have difficulties in life. John 16:33(HCSB)33 I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.
This story takes place right after an amazing miracle of provision – feeding the 5,000.
“Immediately He made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while He sent the multitude away.” (Mark 6:45).
The disciples were obeying Jesus and found themselves in a storm.
Just because you’re in a storm doesn’t mean Jesus doesn’t care.
Mark 4:35 (HCSB)On that day, when evening had come, He told them, “Let’s cross over to the other side of the sea.” 36 So they left the crowd and took Him along since He was already in the boat. And other boats were with Him. 37 A fierce windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking over the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. 38 But He was in the stern, sleeping on the cushion. So they woke Him up and said to Him, “Teacher! Don’t You care that we’re going to die?”
39 He got up, rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Silence! Be still!” The wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40 Then He said to them, “Why are you fearful? Do you still have no faith?”
41 And they were terrified and asked one another, “Who then is this? Even the wind and the sea obey Him!”
The apostles’ lack of faith reminds us that even those who lived and walked with Jesus, saw His miracles, and heard His message still found it difficult to be 100 percent faith-filled all the time. In that way, the disciples were a lot like us. However, their lack of faith was rebuked—and, by extension, so is ours. If Jesus was able to rescue the apostles from the storm, He is also able to rescue us from the storms of everyday life: sickness, job loss, marriage problems, and even the sting of death.
c. When you’re in the storm, you will encounter Jesus in a new way.
Matthew 14:22 (HCSB)Immediately He made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side, while He dismissed the crowds. 23 After dismissing the crowds, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. When evening came, He was there alone. 24 But the boat was already over a mile from land, battered by the waves, because the wind was against them. 25 Around three in the morning, He came toward them walking on the sea. 26 When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost!” they said, and cried out in fear.
27 Immediately Jesus spoke to them. “Have courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
28 “Lord, if it’s You,” Peter answered Him, “command me to come to You on the water.”
29 “Come!” He said.
And climbing out of the boat, Peter started walking on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the strength of the wind, he was afraid. And beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me!”
31 Immediately Jesus reached out His hand, caught hold of him, and said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 When they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33 Then those in the boat worshiped Him and said, “Truly You are the Son of God!”• Jesus doesn’t always come in the way we would like Him to.
• When Jesus comes, He says, “Have courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
Even though Jesus seemed absent in the storm, He was watching them.
• In the early morning, Jesus finally came to them.
- God is never early, but he’s never late. He will come when the time is right.
- When you’re in a storm, cry out to Jesus for help:
In their first storm, Mark tells us: Mark 4:38(HCSB)So they woke Him up and said to Him, “Teacher! Don’t You care that we’re going to die?”
First Storm Jesus was with them and they asked who was he?
Second Storm Jesus didn’t go with them but met them then they knew who He was!!
When Jesus “gave orders to go over to the other side” (Matthew 8:18), He knew the storm was coming. He is omniscient (John 2:25); even with a storm brewing, He decided to launch out to sea. The Lord never promised we will never see a storm in life (as a matter of fact, He has told us to expect trouble, John 16:33(HCSB)33 I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.”. Rather, He has promised that He will be with us in the storm. He will never leave His children alone in the midst of trouble; with perseverance we will overcome James 1:12(HCSB)12 A man who endures trials is blessed, because when he passes the test he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.
2. SOMETIMES HE CALMS HIS DISCIPLE:
Acts 27:7-8(HCSB)7 Sailing slowly for many days, we came with difficulty as far as Cnidus. Since the wind did not allow us to approach it, we sailed along the south side of Crete off Salmone. 8 With yet more difficulty we sailed along the coast and came to a place called Fair Havens near the city of Lasea.
Acts 27:18-21(HCSB) 18 Because we were being severely battered by the storm, they began to jettison the cargo the next day. 19 On the third day, they threw the ship’s gear overboard with their own hands.
20 For many days neither sun nor stars appeared, and the severe storm kept raging. Finally all hope that we would be saved was disappearing. 21 Since many were going without food, Paul stood up among them and said, “You men should have followed my advice not to sail from Crete and sustain this damage and loss.
• This storm was different than the ones the disciples faced:
o They had several days of rough sailing. The terrible storm raged many days.
o They had to throw out the ship’s cargo and equipment and lost a lot of stuff.
Most of the time its not the strength but the duration of the storm that destroys us.
o Finally, the ship itself was destroyed. “All hope was gone.”
Acts 27:22-26(HCSB) 22 Now I urge you to take courage, because there will be no loss of any of your lives, but only of the ship. 23 For this night an angel of the God I belong to and serve stood by me, 24 and said, ‘Don’t be afraid, Paul. You must stand before Caesar. And, look! God has graciously given you all those who are sailing with you.’ 25 Therefore, take courage, men, because I believe God that it will be just the way it was told to me. 26 However, we must run aground on a certain island.”
- Jesus never calmed this storm for Paul, but the Lord gave him peace in the storm.
Remember, peace is not the absence of a storm – it is peace in the middle of your storm. No matter what happens in my life as a Christian, I have the promises of God’s Word for a safe landing on that heavenly shore. The storms of life will come and go but I don’t need to be afraid. Who do I know who may be going through a storm right now and needs my encouragement?
We do not know exactly when the storms will come into our lives. They usually come suddenly and violently, just like the storm at sea came upon Paul and his company.
These storms come when things are going smoothly. Just prior to the storm, Paul and his party were enjoying smooth sailing.
Since we do not know when these storms will come, we must learn to have confidence in the One who is Lord over the storms.
When we are living with in Him, we are braced for the storms that come.
There are five actions to take when you find yourself in one of life’s storms.
- Spend some time alone with God; All relationships take time. A relationship with God, while unlike other relationships in many ways, still follows the rules of other relationships.Spending time alone with a loved one provides the opportunity to truly come to know that person. Spending time alone with God is no different. When we’re alone with God, we draw closer to Him and get to know Him in a different way than we do in group settings. Spending time alone with God rids our minds of distraction so that we can focus on Him and hear His Word. Abiding in Him, we enjoy the intimacy to which He calls us and come to truly know Him.
- Acknowledge His presence Proverbs 3:5-6(ESV)Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths..
3. Believe His promises (2 Peter 1:3(HCSB) His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. 4 By these He has given us very great and precious promises, so that through them you may share in the divine nature, escaping the corruption that is in the world because of evil desires.).
4. Count your blessings (Acts 27:35)James 1:2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
5. Get rid of excess baggage (Acts 27:38) Here’s some baggage we all need to eradicate from our lives.
Intellectual baggage. This baggage keeps us from thinking clearly. Or understanding correctly. It may be the wisdom of the world that characterized the Greek culture. Paul warned of those who allowed their own reasoning from seeing the simplicity in Christ. Intellectual baggage may fill out minds with useless information. False information. Or preconceived and prejudicial information. Get rid of intellectual baggage so your mind can think on the things of God.
Emotional baggage. Emotions are powerful. They drive us. Or drain us. They motivate us. Or demoralize us. They can take us to exciting highs. But also to depressing lows. The Bible often speaks of controlling our emotions, through sobriety and self-discipline. The sins of anger, wrath, envy, jealously and bitterness have to do with improper emotions. And they create a burden that is difficult to bear. Paul admonished the Ephesians and Colossians to “put off” these things. Get rid of that baggage that is hindering growth and harming your relationships.
Behavioral baggage. Too often we justify bad behavior by saying things like, “that’s just the way I am.” Or, “I’m only human.” God wants us to model our lives after Jesus. To live as He lived. To walk as He walked. To talk as He talked. He gave us a behavioral example. But when we take on the sins of the flesh, with habits that hurt us, and with addictions that alter our minds, wound our emotions and harm our bodies, we have acquired baggage that we need to unload and leave behind.
Intellectual, emotional and behavioral baggage negatively affects all of our relationships, with our family, Friends, Co-workers, Church Family and
most of all with our Heavenly Father.
Get rid of the excess baggage. Hebrews 12:1(NLT)Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. 2 We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.
3. GOD WILL COMFORT US SO WE CAN COMFORT OTHERS:
2 Corinthians 1:4-7 (HCSB)4 He comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any kind of affliction, through the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 5 For as the sufferings of Christ overflow to us, so through Christ our comfort also overflows. 6 If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation. If we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which is experienced in your endurance of the same sufferings that we suffer. 7 And our hope for you is firm, because we know that as you share in the sufferings, so you will share in the comfort.
- When you go through storms, God will comfort you so you can comfort others.
• Is it a storm of addiction – trying to break free from a bondage you have had for years?
• Is it a storm of sickness – praying believing God for healing?
• Is it a storm of financial pressures – trying to get out of debt?
• Is it a storm of relationship challenges – trying to restore a broken relationship?
• Is it a storm of doubt and hopelessness? How can we hope to survive the storm?
In order to face the storms of life successfully, we must be committed to Jesus as well as having confidence in Him. Paul gives us an example of such a commitment. He stood before the frightened group and related to them the vision that he had experienced. He told them that an angel of the God to whom he belonged and whom he served had appeared to him assuring him that there would be no loss of life.The storms of life are going to come. We must learn to face them. How are we going to face them? I pray that we will face them with confidence in Jesus, with commitment to Jesus. If so, we will be able to face the storms victoriously, and we will be able to assure others in their storms of life.