Summary: Series looking at the grace and freedom that Paul spoke of so frequently and so passionately.
THE STORMS OF LIFE
1. The storms of life.
Sometimes the storms of life seem to overtake us, even when we are being obedient. Jesus told the disciples to get into a ship and go to the other side of the lake (Matthew 14:22), but we see the ship in the midst of the sea tossed with waves in a contrary wind (Matthew 14:24).
Such is life. Such is the Christian life. We are not called to a life of ease, but one that is full of dangers and pitfalls - only we have the assurance that God is with us to see us through.
Now it is the fourth watch of the night, and all does not seem well (Matthew 14:25). We watch, and wait, and pray - and suddenly relief comes. It is the Lord, but we do not recognise Him straight away...
2. Jesus walking on water.
Two feet walking on water was an Egyptian emblem of the impossible. But when Jesus came towards His disciples walking on the sea, He was exercising a divine prerogative (Matthew 14:25).
Psalm 93:4 reads: ‘The LORD on high is mightier than the noise of many waters, yea, than the mighty waves of the sea.’
When He draws near in the midst of the storms of our life, we do not always recognise Him. We, like the disciples in that little ship, are troubled and fearful.
But as ever, He draws near in our trouble. He brings a word of good cheer, and vanquishes fear. ‘Perfect love casteth out fear,’ we read elsewhere.
3. Peter sinking in water.
Impetuous as ever, Peter wished to join Jesus walking on the water: “And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water” (Matthew 14:28).
It is not necessarily an unworthy thing to wish for reassurances of the Lord's presence with us. Gideon had his fleece...
So Peter, endued by power from on High, took his tentative first steps onto the water.
Retrospectively, we who have begun the Christian walk know that He will see it through to the end. Yet at times we lose sight of that fact.
So with Peter: taking His eyes off Jesus, he began to sink. So with us: taking our eyes off Jesus causes even the faithful to fear, and to begin to sink.
4. Rising from the water.
In the moment of taking his eyes off Jesus, Peter began to sink. It is so easy to see the problems around us and to feel threatened by them. Yet even in the moment of despair, we raise our eyes again, and cry with Peter, “Lord, save me” (Matthew 14:30).
It is then that we discover the Lord's presence is still near, ready to pick us up when we sink beneath the billows and waves of this life which seek to consume us. He is ‘an ever present help in the day of trouble.’
Not only so, but when Jesus stepped into the ship, the storm was immediately dispersed. If we are closing Him out of our lives today, maybe we should invite Him back in!
After that we may discover, as did the disciples, “Of a truth thou art the Son of God” (Matthew 14:33).
Thus faith is renewed day by day in our experience of the storms of life.