Summary: Christian faith is secure only when we recognize and live daily with the assurance that God is always with us, even in the storms of life.
JESUS IN THE STORM WITH US
Christian faith is secure only when we recognize and live daily with the assurance that God is always with us, even in the storms of life.
Most of us are acquainted with the story recorded in Matthew’s gospel where Jesus walked upon the water and came to His disciples in the midst of a raging tempest. We have heard the facts of the story since childhood. Nevertheless, there are further truths to be explored.
let us note the background, the setting for this story.
Our Lord was approaching the high point of His ministry. It was at this time that He performed many miracles, including the feeding of a multitude with but a few loaves of bread and two fish. He was becoming popular with the people and a source of concern to religious authorities. Persecution was abroad in the land. King Herod had just put John the Baptist to death.
Matthew notes the significance of this cruel death with a twofold statement. He tells us Herod heard of the fame of Jesus and reacted with, "It Is John the Baptist come to life again." He also tells us that, when Jesus heard the news of John’s death, He departed into a desert place to pray, to meditate, and to be alone with His thoughts.
This was surely a moment of personal pain in our Lord’s own heart. Jesus loved John the Baptist. They were first cousins, boyhood companions who, quite likely, had spent many hours together growing up.
It was at this precise moment and time that Jesus ordered His disciples to get in the boat and go over to the other side. Rather than go with them, Jesus stayed behind to dismiss the crowds and for the more personal reason of private prayer and communion with His heavenly Father.
The disciples set forth, under direct orders from the Master, aboard a ship headed for troubled waters.
Is it not so with us? Do we not daily step forth to meet the unknown, the unexpected? The greatest of joys? The most sudden and unexpected of storms?
WE MUST LEARN TO RECOGNIZE JESUS
The disciples had lived with Jesus. They knew Him in a very personal and intimate manner. Yet from this incident we understand there was a moment when they did not recognize Him.
Does it happen with us? Are there those times, those unexpected circumstances of our lives in which we simply do not recognize the Master’s presence?
After all, is it not easier to be conscious of God when in church? Perhaps easier to be aware of Him when on our knees in prayer, or when engaged in those obvious Christian duties such as witnessing or ministering to the sick?
But what of the night? What of the darkness? What of the lonely moments, the totally personal struggles, the times when our hearts yearn to reach out and touch someone else and there is no one there? What of the trying times? What of the storms? Are we then able to recognize Jesus?
The disciples did not! They were too wrapped up in the struggle of the moment. They saw the tossing waves. They felt the threat of death. They heard the wind, saw the lightning, felt the pelting rain. But they did not recognize the Lord.
So I emphasize: We must learn to recognize God.
Life has a way of teaching us. Life has a way of reminding us. Just when we think all Is running smoothly, all Is well, all is under control; then comes the startling realization that storm clouds are blowing over. Just as we think we have solved the last problem, or taken care of the last pressing need, that’s when the mailman arrives, or that’s when the telephone rings, or that’s when we discover a child Is sick. No matter how often we have been down the road, there are yet surprises. We still have more to learn.
Such is life.
The disciples were about to learn the greatest lesson they would ever receive, the truth of Jesus in the storm. They knew Jesus already as the supplier of their needs. They had witnessed Him pay taxes with money from a fish’s mouth. They knew He could multiply loaves and fishes, that He spoke words of life, that He had power over the works of the devil. They knew Him as a great teacher. Still, never having met Jesus in a storm, they did not recognize Him. All too often we make the same mistake.
We believe Jesus for our salvation and for the forgiveness of our sins. We look to Him as the supplier of all our needs. We trust Him to bring us Into glory one day. But when everything is falling apart, we find it difficult to see Jesus.