Summary: It’s hard to know what to do when the storms of life come our way. In Peter’s attempt to walk on the water we discover some valuable principles that will help us face those storms while giving glory to our Lord.
Title: Finding Peace In The Midst Of The Storm
Series: God Uses Broken Vessels
Text: Matthew 14:22-32
Tom Dooley was a young doctor who organized hospitals, raised money, and literally poured out his life in the service of the afflicted peoples of Southeast Asia. Here was a man whose deep relationship with God motivated him to abandon a soft career in the United States for a desperately difficult ministry overseas. In the end that relationship enabled him to die victoriously at the age of 34. Here is the letter that on December 1, 1960, he wrote to the president of Notre Dame, his alma mater:
Dear Father Hesburgh: They’ve got me down. Flat on the back, with plaster, sand bags, and hot water bottles. I’ve contrived a way of pumping the bed up a bit so that, with a long reach, I can get to my typewriter….Two things prompt this note to you. The first is that whenever my cancer acts up a bit, and it is certainly “acting up” now, I turn inward. Less do I think of my hospitals around the world, or of 94 doctors, fund-raisers, and the like. More do I think of one Divine Doctor and my personal fund of grace. It has become pretty definite that the cancer has spread to the lumbar vertebra, accounting for all the back problems over the last two months. I have monstrous phantoms; all men do. And inside and outside the wind blows. But when the time comes, like now, then the storm around me does not matter. The winds within me do not matter. Nothing human or earthly can touch me. A peace gathers in my heart. What seems unpossessable, I can possess. What seems unfathomable, I can fathom. What is unutterable, I can utter. Because I can pray. I can communicate. How do people endure anything on earth if they cannot have God? (James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988) pp. 131-132.)
22 Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away. 23 And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there. 24 But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary. 25 Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea. 26 And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, "It is a ghost!" And they cried out for fear. 27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, "Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid." 28 And Peter answered Him and said, "Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water." 29 So He said, "Come." And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. 30 But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, "Lord, save me!" 31 And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?" 32 And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.
I. JESUS SOMETIMES SENDS ME INTO THE MIDDLE OF A STORM.
22 Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away.
Note: There Are Two Kinds Of Storms. Storms of correction where God disciplines us. Storms of perfection where God helps us to grow.
Note: Jonah was in a storm because he disobeyed God and had to be corrected. The disciples were in a storm because they obeyed Christ and had to be perfected. Jesus had tested them in a storm before, when He was in the boat with them.
23 Now when He got into a boat, His disciples followed Him. 24 And suddenly a great tempest arose on the sea, so that the boat was covered with the waves. But He was asleep. 25 Then His disciples came to Him and awoke Him, saying, "Lord, save us! We are perishing!" 26 But He said to them, "Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?" Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. 27 So the men marveled, saying, "Who can this be, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?"
v But now He tested them by being out of the boat.
Note: Jesus had a specific reason for sending the disciples away. The crowd wanted to make Jesus King. Why do you suppose He has sent you into the storm?