Surviving Life's Storms (Article 19-5)
To some, life may appear like being in a boat out to sea. At times it may seem as if we’re on a sea faring cruise, feeling relaxed and enjoying the wonders of a beautiful sky and the night’s brilliant sparkles of light; engaging with and witnessing the teeming life around us; the scents and freshness of ocean air; the refreshing wind blowing through our hair; and the warmth of the sun enveloping our bodies. But then a storm comes and where we once felt safe and secure, nothing around us seems familiar anymore. What we once embraced now threatens to devour us. We feel vulnerable and become afraid. Our joy is replaced by anxiety, restlessness, and fear. We weigh our options to get through the storm but come up with nothing. We come to believe all is lost and conclude we’re going down with the ship - destined to a watery grave - lost and never to be thought of again. These are the times we are likely to ask “Where are you God”? “Are you there”?
It's Not A Matter of "If" You Will Be In A Storm, But Rather "When". In Matthew 14:13-33, we read about the story where Jesus completes His miracle of feeding a multitude of 5,000 people from a young boy’s pitiful lunch of bread and fish. He then tells His disciples to get into a boat on the Sea of Galilee and to meet Him on the other side. Christ then, as He often did, retreats to a mountain to be alone and to converse with the Father. While this is occurring, the disciples boat drifts to the middle of the sea, a long away from land. With the night’s darkness now upon them, a terrible storm envelops their boat. The high winds stir the waves and the spray of the sea drenches the boat. Eventually, the disciples find themselves in a life-threatening situation. As the boat is being beaten about in the darkness (referred to as the fourth watch [3.a.m. to 6 a.m.]), what appears to be a “ghost” approaches them on top of the water. Possibly sensing that they were in the middle of evil’s realm, and with the waves indeed attacking them, they likely concluded the ghostly image was an angel of death. Terrified of the image, the disciples cried out in fear. Upon hearing their cries, the ghostly image reveals Himself to be Christ. Hearing their cries, Christ says to them “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.”
"Keep Your Eye On the Ball". Upon seeing Jesus, Peter says “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to you on the water.” Christ responds “come” and Peter slides out of the boat with the winds raging around him and the waves crashing below his feet. As he is walking toward Jesus, Peter suddenly takes notice to the storm and the chaos it was creating around him. He becomes frightened and diverts his attention and sight off of Christ. Instantly, Peter finds himself no longer being able to walk on top of the water and begins to sink into the sea. Believing that he was experiencing the last moments of his life, he cried out “Lord, save me!” Christ then “immediately” extends his hand and caught Peter. As He lifted Peter up, Christ said “O you of little faith, why do you doubt?” When Christ and Peter got into the boat, the storm stopped.
What We Learn From This. If we choose to weather our storms without Christ, we will come to realize our powerlessness and vulnerability to forces we can never hope to control or to be protected. Over time, we will lose hope – our joy will be taken from us, realizing that we are unable to alter our destiny from which the storm heads. We can expect to sink into an abyss, being convinced that it is only a matter of time before we will perish. We will find ourselves waiting for what we conclude is the inevitable – a death, likely preceded by a meaningless and unfulfilling life. It is only at this point can we begin to realize our need for Christ and that He is who He says He is - apart from Him we can do nothing (John 15:5). It is at this point too that He tells us “Take heart, it is I; have no fear”. Jesus reveals himself to us - not simply as our Lord and Savior, but as “I AM” and because of who “I AM”, not to be “afraid.” Christ is ready to deliver us from our hours of darkness and with it, the bringing of new a dawn – a new day, with a new beginning – a new beginning that knows no darkness. We must only “believe”.
Inexplicable Realities. When confronted with the inexplicable reality of Christ controlling storms with his toes, we finally become convinced that it is only by way of Christ’s divine power and our abidance in Him, we are able to put our life’s storms below our feet. Note however, that during our storms, Christ will not calm the seas to make our steps easier. Instead, He lifts us up and out of the storm, thus underscoring a key point of the scripture we reviewed – that being to never let our eyes be diverted from His. Another inexplicable reality is that it is only by way of Christ can we hope to experience joy, no matter what storms rage around us. However, it is only possible to experience Christ’s promises of joy by way of our faith – our unyielding and unshakable trust in Him. It is our faith (trust in Him) that we are able to have eternal life, and it is only by faith can we have life more abundantly while here on earth.
Yes, Christ is here and always will be and always has been, for He is “I AM.” The only question is whether you believe it to be true? If so, fear nothing!