Friday, January 16, 2009

LIFE’S UNEXPECTED STORMS



Where do you go when you are facing a trial that seems to press in from every side? At such a time there is nowhere to flee. Perhaps you have been there, dear Christian, so you already know the answer: Your only hiding place is the omnipresent God (Psalm 32:7).He alone is our refuge, our surest port when the fierce storms of life come our way. We sing songs and hymns and read Scriptures that remind us of the assurance of the Lord’s presence, and it is well that we do; but only in the midst of the tempest can we know the reality of it.

The disciples of Jesus experienced such an event when they set out one night on the Sea of Galilee, a familiar experience for seasoned fishermen (Mark 4:35). However, they quickly learned that this trip across the sea would be unlike any other they had taken. We read in Mark’s gospel: “And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full” (4:37). This was not a storm that their sailing vessel could “ride out”; this was a crisis which threatened their lives. The ill-fitted boat was no match for the angry waves of the sea. As fear engulfed them, they went to Jesus in desperation. They seemed outraged at His indifference. So we read, “And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish?” (4:38).

How often have I cried out to my Savior in similar fashion? Such times are too numerous for me to mention. My faith has been as weak as that of the disciples that night, facing the most intense storm of their lives- an unexpected storm. I too have wondered silently, “Does Jesus care?” It is much easier to trust the Lord when the sun is shining and life’s seas are calm; it is hard to do so in the dark of the night when the sea billows roll. Brethren, this is the lot of men of flesh. We are weak by nature and prone to doubt the Lord we love and profess. But thankfully He does not abandon us in the hour of need, for the Scripture says: “And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.” How could a “great storm of wind” (verse 37) suddenly become “a great calm” (verse 39)? The disciples pondered this very question, “And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”(verse 41). They had failed to see the One they had with them that night in the boat, and fear took hold of them. Proverbs 30:4 speaks of Him: “Who hath gathered the wind in His fists? Who hath bound the waters in a garment? Who hath established all the ends of the earth?” This One is Jesus. Terrified by the storm just moments before, they were suddenly gripped with a greater fear of God’s sovereign power when Jesus rebuked the wind and spoke to the sea.

Mark’s story of the storm at sea should be seen in light of Psalm 107 to truly appreciate what occurred that evening in the lives of the disciples: “They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; These see the works of the LORD, and his wonders in the deep. For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof. They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths: their soul is melted because of trouble. They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wit's end. Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses. He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still. Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven” (verses 23-32).

Dear child of God, will your anchor hold when the storms of life come in, when the clouds unfold their winds of strife? Let us always remember that Jesus will never leave us nor forsake us in such an hour (Hebrews 13:5). Continue to praise Him in the worst of times when fear and doubt prevail, and you will catch a greater glimpse of His infinite glory and majesty. Moreover, you can be assured that in His time He will lead you to a place of quiet rest. He will one day bring you to your desired haven in that land which is “fairer than day.” This is the promise of the Master of the sea: “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:1-3). The best days are yet to come!

Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake
To guide the future as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know
His voice Who ruled them while He dwelt below.

Trusting in His Care,

Pastor Tom

No comments: