In Mark chapter four we see Jesus teaching from a boat. The boat is pulled up on shore and a lot of people are gathered around. Afterward he says to his disciples, “let’s leave the crowd and go to the other side of the sea.” The boat that was just used to teach the crowd will now be used to teach the disciples!
Mark 4:35-37 “That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped.
Now I don’t know if any of you have ever been in a boat that you thought was going to sink before. If I haven’t but have been in a plane that I thought could crash. If you’ve ever been in a plane where there’s massive turbulence you might not be a believer but you suddenly believe in prayer! “Oh God if you are there, help me out!” This is that type of situation where the disciples think the end is near. “We’re we’re going to drown!” But look at what Jesus is doing…
Mark 4:38-41 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”
“Why are you so afraid?”
I’m not a meteorologist, but I discovered that the sea of Galilee is about six hundred eighty feet below sea level and is surrounded by mountains. It’s very common for a storm just to explode onto the sea of Galilee with very little warning at all.
And what’s interesting is that as you go through life, all seems good and normal and then out of nowhere a storm explodes into your life! Maybe you’re having the best sales month of your career and then you find out your company is laying people off because you’re one of the newest people on the team. Out of nowhere things were great and then boom you could be out of a job.
It could be your marriage is better than ever and you think, “we’re finally smooth sailing.” Then your spouse goes to the doctor to check something out and suddenly you got horrible news. You feel like the rug has been pulled out from under you. You don’t even know how you going to make it. Or you think your child is doing good. You have prayed so much and worked with your child you think, “Finally, they’re on the right track” and then you find out that your child is making bad decisions. It doesn’t matter what else in your life is going well, you’re in the middle of a storm. I’ve discovered that church people are the best at hiding the storms that they are in. Some of you right now, you look totally fine but behind your smile you’re in the middle the storm and nobody even knows about it
I’ve seen times where people are jealous of other people thinking, “I wish I had their life” “I wished I lived in that house.” But they are thinking “I’m 2 payments behind and I may lose this house and nobody even knows the private storm that I’m going through!” Sometimes people look on and say, “I wish I have a marriage like that, they seem to get along so good.” But in reality they are thinking, “You have no idea how we can fake it on the outside but on the inside we’re barely hanging on by a thread!”
Sometimes you look good on the outside and nobody else would know that you go to sleep afraid and you cry yourself to sleep. You feel alone. Even the pressure of a lot of good things feels like way too much. Even though you’re moving in all different ways you know there’s no way you can keep going at this pace. You put on a smile and yet on the inside you’re in a emotional storm and nobody knows about it
Many of us are in the middle things that we just didn’t see coming.
Two Truths to Remember When You’re in the Storm,
1. You’re in the Storm with His Presence
Jesus is there! Verse thirty seven and thirty eight shows us that, “A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped.” But we see in verse thirty eight Jesus was where? “Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion.” Where was Jesus? Jesus was in the stern. Jesus was in the boat!
Here’s what happens so often. I believe a lot of people think, “wait a minute if with Jesus is there. There shouldn’t be a storm!” “I gave my life to Christ therefore it should be smooth sailing for the rest of my life!” And I need to tell you, that is not true. In fact Jesus said “In this world you will have trouble, but take heart I’ve overcome the world.’ John 16:33 Jesus never promised that if you come to him, life will be easy and it will be storm free. The reality is often the opposite. When you move from darkness to light suddenly you step into the middle of the spiritual battle! You see Christianity is not a playground but a battleground. It’s a battle ground between the forces of darkness and forces of the light. When you step on the side of the light suddenly darkness is against you and you will face opposition. You will face temptation and there will be spiritual warfare and to think, “Just because I’m with Jesus nothing should go wrong” is a major misunderstanding. God never ever promises you that just because Jesus is on the boat that the storm will never rock you. The promise is that the storm will never sink you. Because if God is for you and God is with you and there is nothing that can take you out of the presence of God.
Jesus was in the stern and he was on the boat. And that’s the total game changer. I recently read this really interesting article that older people actually live longer if there’s something else living in their house. This is so interesting. You live longer when there’s anything else living in the house. Anything at all, it can be an old deaf guy that doesn’t even talk back to you. It can be a house plant. It can be a cute little dog, or big, ugly dog. It can be a goldfish, a ferret or a gerbil. You live longer when there’s something living inside the house.
A day may come when you’re going to be in the middle the storm and it’s going to get really bad and people are going to look on and say “How are you getting through that?” “How are you an enduring this?” “How come your world falls apart and you’re not falling apart?” “How come everything’s going wrong and yet you still have this quiet confidence?” “Why is it that?” It’s that you know in the middle of the storm, there’s this deep assurance, you have this this peace in the middle of the storm. What you’re going to be able to tell them is, “Because there is someone living in my house. There’s something in the house and it’s not just a life but is the author of life, Jesus.”
“Jesus is in the boat and he’s in my life and house and because he is with me I can sense his strength. I can sense his presence and I can sense his power and I can sense his comfort because he is with me! He is in the boat with me. Just because I’m in a storm doesn’t mean that he’s not with me.”
Never let the presence of the storm cause you doubt the presence of God.
I like to personalize scripture. I like to take Psalm 46:1 and personalize it: “God is my own refuge. He is MY strength. He is my ever present help in a time of trouble.” He has been with me in the storm. I like to personalize Hebrews 13:5 “Never will my God leave me. Never will he forsake ME.” I want to personalize Psalm 23:4 “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of doubt” you see I’m not staying there but I’m walking through and what I’m walking through I will feel no evil, why? Because my God is with me.
He never promises that the storm wouldn’t rock you. He promised that the storm wouldn’t sink you. He’s in my house, he’s in the boat with me. I’m not alone in the middle of the storm. I pray that you find comfort, no matter what you’re going through but you’re in the storm with His presence.
In the next post we’ll examine the 2nd truth, you are in the storm for His purpose….