Summary: Our source of strength as we face the storms of life is that God is present "in the boat" with us.
Matthew 8:23-27 “God is Present”
After the monsoon storm of last Tuesday, we can easily identify with the disciples and the tempest in which they found themselves. Even with the advantages of Doppler radar and the eagerness of weather reporters who finally had something to talk about beside the sun and the heat, the storm caught us by surprise. The uprooted trees, flooding, and damaged cars occurred in a haphazard manner. Many people found themselves asking why their property was damaged when their neighbor’s was untouched.
We often ask ourselves the question, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” The gospel story and the storm it talks about ask a deeper question: “Where is God in the storms of life?”
Matthew boldly and clearly asserts that Jesus is in the boat with his people in the midst of the storm.
Jesus wants to go to the other side of the Sea of Galilee. That is the side where the Gentiles lived—the non-church people. He and the disciples pack up their belongings, climb into the boat and set off across the sea. A storm comes up quickly, when the disciples are far from shore and the waves begin to grow. Several of the disciples were fishermen and had a great deal of experience on the sea. Even these men, however, fear for their lives because of the fierinesses of the storm.
It is important to note that the disciples encountered the storm while they were following and obeying Jesus. This is not like the storm that Jonah encountered when he was running from God.
The storm was not only not of their own making it was also beyond their control. They could do nothing to overcome it; they could only ride it out.
The storm that the disciples encounter is similar to many of the storms that we encounter in life. They come up quick. They are not of our own making, and they are threatening and potentially destructive. Threatened by such storms we are reminded at how fragile and precious life is.
The disciples were overcome with fear. There were several reasons why they this emotion took control of their lives.
1. The focused on the storm and the effects of the wind.
2. The doubted God’s power. They did not believe that Jesus or God the Father were capable of helping them escape disaster.
3. They doubted God’s love. They were not sure that God loved them enough to save them.
Whenever fear becomes a dominant force in our lives it is because of one or more of these conditions. If we change these conditions, we are then able to remove the fear that paralyses us.
Jesus asleep in the boat is a sharp contrast to the fear of the disciples. Jesus is the picture of peace.
Jesus has peace because hi is:
1. Not focused on the storm—he isn’t even aware of it.
2. He is sure of God’s power, and
3. He is sure of God’s love.
Jesus is willing to trust God, and to believe that God will always be present even in the midst of storms, when our lives are threatened, and when things don’t go our way.
From this story we can reach two conclusions.
First, we know that storms are a part of life.
Secondly, we know that God will never dessert us. God will move.