I’m studying in preparation to teach at Calvary Chapel Fredrick (Maryland) tomorrow morning, where we be considering the very familiar story of Jesus calming the raging storm on the Sea of Galilee (Cf. Mark 4:35-41, Luke 8:22-25, Matthew 8:23-27).
As I was doing some additional reading on this text – in an attempt to “stand on the shoulders” of some of the great men of God who have preceded me in this pilgrim life – I came across the following from J.R. McDuff. I gladly share it here for your consideration and edification ~
“It is very easy for us to speak and theorize about faith, but God often casts us into crucibles to try our gold, and to separate it from the dross and alloy. Oh, happy are we if the hurricanes that ripple life’s unquiet sea have the effect of making Jesus more precious. Better the storm with Christ than smooth waters without Him. “
Indeed! When Jesus is in the Boat with us – although the storms of life may rock us – we will reach the other side!
As C.H. Spurgeon so eloquently said:
“No waters can swallow the ship where lies
The Master of Ocean and Earth and Skies!”
Or D.L. Moody, who said:
“With Christ in the Boat, I smile at the Storm!”
And this is the question I want to pose to all of you: Do we ‘smile at the storm’ when we remember that Jesus is in the Boat with us? Speaking for myself, I’m not sure I always do. But I know that I ought to, and I certainly realize that I need to. Most importantly, I most definitely want to – and I’m relatively certain you all would agree. That being the case, how can we make it a reality? By remembering that God always has His hand upon our lives and that He is completely in control of every ‘storm’ we encounter – whether we ‘perceive’ Him being there, or not!
As I was pondering this, I couldn’t help but remember the important and inspiring Words of Job ~ “Behold, I go forward, but He is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive Him: On the left hand, where He doth work, but I cannot behold Him: He hideth Himself on the right hand, that I cannot see Him: But He knoweth the way that I take: when He hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold… for He performeth the thing that is appointed for me: and many such things are with Him.” (Job 23:8-10, 14)
Now, if I’m going to be honest, I must confess that there have been those ‘stormy times’ in my life where I have been tempted to believe that Jesus was asleep… or that He was totally indifferent to my situation. And at times like that, I have found myself thinking ~ Lord… the ship is sinking; Lord… we are in danger if going under; Lord… I’m afraid we’re going to lose everything; LORD… DON’T YOU CARE THAT WE ARE PERISHING?! (Can any of you relate?)
Anyway… at times like that, I can almost hear Jesus asking me (as He asked His disciples in the afore mentioned story) “Where is your Faith?” And I’m cut to the heart! The reason? After more than 36 years of walking with the Lord and 36 years of experiencing His faithfulness… I’ve come to understand that my lack of faith, calls His Faithfulness into question – and robs Him of His glory!
Remember this: Life’s difficulties are but opportunities for our Great God to display His power. And that the storms of life are but opportunities for Him to demonstrate His loving concern for us. And, what’s more, that even in those times when we are faithless, He abides Faithful! (cf.2Tim. 2:13)
Let me conclude with the words of Mark 5:40; Jesus’ question of His disciples ~
“Why are you so fearful; Where is your faith?”
Personalize it ~ Why are you so fearful? Where is your faith? Who or what is the focus of your faith & trust? Let me ask it this way: If someone close to you (a close friend, a family member, a spouse, a neighbor, a co-worker) were asked, “At a time of trial or testing, or during a crisis, ‘where’ / ‘in whom’ does _______________ place their trust” what might they say?
- Their “Roth IRA?”
- TD Ameritrade?
- The FDIC?
- Blue Cross/Blue Shield?
I leave you with the familiar words of a favorite hymn ~
My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly trust in Jesus’ Name.
On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand!
“Faith makes the uplook, good; the outlook, bright; the in-look, favorable… and the future, Glorious!” (Warren Wiersbe)
FAITH! ~ Forsaking All, I Trust Him!