It’s been said that the only certainties in life are death and taxes, but I think you could add life-storms to that list as well. We have all experienced difficulties we can’t seem to explain, challenging circumstances we can’t seem to overcome, or tumultuous times that toss us about. Their purpose is unclear, the way through is muddy, but the pain and strife they cause are very real. These storms cause our mind to churn with questions that seem to have no answer and leave what little faith we may have shaken. We stand in the midst of the storm wondering how, or if, we’ll ever make it through.
But we cannot give up. We see Jesus’s power over the storm on display throughout scripture, and it teaches us how we can weather the life-storms that we all experience.

  • Mark 6:48-51: He [Jesus] saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. Shortly before dawn He went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them, but when they saw Him walking on the lake, they thought He was a ghost. They cried out, because they all saw Him and were terrified. Immediately He spoke to them and said, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” Then he climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down. They were completely amazed.

There are a few words/phrases that stand out to me in this passage. First it says that Jesus saw His disciples were out in a storm and went out to them. But notice that it says, “He was about to pass by them.”  This tells me that when we are in the midst of our storms, Christ sees us and is even moving toward us. However, He will not intervene until we do what the disciples did. They cried out to Him, and we must do the same! In our storm we must cry out to Christ, we must reach out to Him trusting Him to carry us through the hard times.
When we do this, notice what it says Jesus did – it says that He IMMEDIATELY spoke to them, encouraging them. He got in the boat and the storm died down. Christ’s response to His disciples' surrender and acknowledgement of dependence was instantaneous – it was not delayed. They called out to Him and He responded. We should all be greatly encouraged by this statement. We must believe that if Christ responded to the disciples immediately, He will respond to us this way as well.
This was also demonstrated in Christ’s interaction with Peter. In this account, Matthew shares that after telling the disciples to take courage, Jesus invites Peter out of the boat. Put another way, Jesus calls Peter out of the safety of the boat and literally into the middle of the storm. Peter obliges because its Christ calling Him, but he soon begins to focus on the storm instead of Christ.

  • Matthew 14:30-31: But when he [Peter] saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out His hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” He said, “why did you doubt?”

Buffeted by the wind, rain, and waves, Peter does what any of us would have done in that circumstance and looks at the raging tempest around him. In doing so, he takes his eyes off of his Savior and begins to sink. But notice again how rapid Christ’s response is. Peter cried out and “immediately Jesus reached out.” This is the God we serve. One that sees us where we are, and desperately wants to swoop in and help us, but we must do what we see modeled by Christ’s disciples. We must cry out to Him.
This may be why many struggle to attain and retain peace, because they haven’t cried out to Christ, they haven’t allowed Him to be the center of their lives. Maybe, there is fear associated with letting go of the storm for the unknown, or rather, unclear will of the Lord. But Paul says that we won’t have peace until Christ becomes the center of our lives.

  • Philippians 4:6-7 (MSG): Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.

These words tell us not to worry or fret. They highlight that when we shape our concerns into prayers offered to the Lord, we enter into a state of complete and utter peace. This peace transcends our ability to comprehend our own circumstance. But I love what the last sentence of these verses translates to in the Message, “it is wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.”
No matter where you are in life, no matter how fierce the storm is around you, or how hard it may be to change, I challenge you to let Christ displace whatever is at the center of your life today. Do this and watch the difference He will make in AND through you.

This Sunday we continue our discussion on Evangelism, but move more fully into the practical and tactical elements entailed in sharing our faith. In the meantime, remember to pray and proclaim the good news to your mission field. Let your light shine before them, so they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in Heaven.

P.S: Click HERE for the the booklet summarizing what we learned in the “Names of God” series.

In His Service,
John McRae