Summary: Jesus wants us to cry out to him our deepest thoughts and feelings about what is going on in the world. He will always answer because He is in control.
There are a lot of people in this world who wake up everyday with thoughts of fear in their minds because of the storms that surround us. The more and more news that floods our lives just builds this constant anxiety and stress; another school shooting, another terrorist attack, another threat. Every day when you pick up the paper there is another scandal, another liar, another murder, another rape or beating. All this just builds distrust in the world around you and you wonder when these stories will come too close to home.
On another level, our own homes and schools are filled with different storms that are all too personal. Broken relationships overwhelm many of us in this room. Mom and Dad are fighting again and this time you think Dad left for good. Divorced homes are becoming the norm today and the pain and frustration settles deep within whether you want to admit it or not. Some of you feel so alone every day even though you are in a flood of people at school. You’re struggling with friendships, trying to figure out what you are doing wrong that people don’t like you and why adults seem to not care. Some of you are dealing with the death or sickness of a loved one as cancer or other illnesses destroy their bodies. Some of you struggle with your self image because, as you flip through magazines and watch TV and movies, your bodies don’t line up with how people say “beautiful” or “sexy” really is.
Our world is in chaos as our peers and culture throw away all moral boundaries and adopt this “every man for himself attitude.” What’s ok for you is ok for you and what’s ok for me is ok for me…even if they completely contradict one another. Anytime someone talks about truth, it is questioned and almost instantaneously rejected. Our world says there is no absolute truth but yet really all that belief says is that there is no truth at all. Questions overload our minds with confusion as we walk through our lives on uneasy ground.
With everything building and piling up, with all the questions and doubt that fill your mind, so many of us just determine to hold it in and stuff it down deep. So often, we put our heads on our pillows at night and we just want to scream, or cry, or both!
Tonight, I want to spend a little time looking at how Jesus and the disciples handled a storm, quite literally, in their lives that will help us weather our own storms. Instead of simply reading the text tonight, I have a video clip that portrays this passage that is found in three books of the New Testament – Matthew, Mark, and Luke.
***Read Matthew 8:23-27***
The disciples had jumped into a relationship with Christ and left everything behind – their families, their jobs, their money and security – they left it all to follow this man named Jesus. As they followed him, their travels took them to the shores of the Sea of Galilee. As Jesus talked to a few people, the disciples readied a boat since most of them were experienced fishermen. Once it was ready, the disciples along with Jesus, set sail for the other side.
Suddenly, the text tells us, a storm arose and started pounding the sides of the boat. The disciples quickly jumped to action. They manned their positions and pulled the sails down so the boat would not get turned over in the violent winds. A few men grabbed buckets and began to bail water so they would not be weighed down too much. A few others quickly grabbed an oar and began trying to steady the boat.
After the disciples had tried everything else, they eventually realized that Jesus was in the boat with them and that maybe He could help. They ran over to Jesus and shouted, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” In another account of this story it says the disciples questioned Jesus. “Don’t you care that we are in danger?!”
Jesus responds with what seems a stupid question. “Why are you afraid?” he asks. “You have so little faith.” At this, Jesus stands up, rebukes the wind and the waves and suddenly, just as suddenly as the storm arose, all was calm.
This is a very common place that a lot of us find ourselves in when we are faced with the storms of life that surround us all too often. As we wrestle with pain, hurt, and anger we quickly try to fix everything ourselves. We try to wait out the storm thinking it will end soon. We try to take matters into our own hands as we try to navigate safely out of the waters. This comes in so many forms such as drugs, sex, relationships, video games, food, anything we can find to numb the pain and get us through life.