Summary: What do you do when you are in a storm? W have 3 options.
“Finding Peace in the Midst of the Storm”
If I were to ask you this morning this question—what is the one thing this world needs? What would you say? That question has been posed many times; including in beauty pageants. Here is one featuring Sandra Bullock in the movie Miss congeniality. Look at this brief clip.
What is the one thing this world needs? Let’s all say it together... “World peace.” If only it was that easy. I asked my oldest son, David, who is almost 40 and has spent many years working in military intelligence. Asked him this week them how many wars are currently being fought in the world. He said (this week) there are about eight that are actually considered to be wars. There are also about 55 armed conflicts going on. The difference between the two by the way is this-an armed conflict is declared a war once 1000 people have been killed. One more fact. Of the past 3400 years, man has been entirely at peace only 268 of those years. That is 8% of recorded history. Man has always had difficulty finding peace.
The disciples did as well. In John 13, Jesus has just identified Judas as the one who will betray him. In addition, he has predicted that Peter, considered to be the leader of the 12; that he will deny Jesus three times. He has also let them know once again that a time will come very soon when he will be leaving. The disciples have built their entire lives around Jesus for over three years-they left jobs and family and other commitments behind to follow him and now he is going away. The last thing the disciples felt was peace.
Jesus knew this of course so as he begins to speak the disciples listen to what he has to say... Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. One word Jesus uses, is the word I RAY NAY which means to join together or to be tied together as a whole. In other words peace often involves taking something that is broken, disconnected, fractured, shattered and putting all the pieces back together. Peace can be about putting pieces together. But it also means something even deeper. And that is what we find in this story today.
Now the Sea of Galilee is only 5 miles wide and 13 miles long but it has a very unique history involving storms. Fact is, it is 600 feet below sea level, so deep in the basin where it fits that cold air and warm air often come together and the result is a huge storm. Jesus had just finished speaking and this was exactly what happened.
Jesus had just finished a long day of ministry. He had been confronted by some of the leaders of the day; the crowds were constantly with him, he was teaching them and by now he was likely exhausted. So Jesus took a boat to cross the lake and did what most of us would do. He went to sleep. That was when it seemed that out of nowhere a terrible storm begins. Matthew uses the word seismos, which means earthquake, to describe the storm. This storm was more like a hurricane. Luke tells us it was so bad that the ship was full of water. The waves covered the ship and unless something were to change they were headed for the bottom of the sea. One of the main points of this story to me is this….storms can happen when you least expect them.
Sometimes they happen because we sin-sometimes they happen because we do something that is just plain dumb. Sometimes they happen because of the actions of someone else. Sometimes they seem to happen for no reason at all. Write this truth down please. You can be in the absolute center of God’s will and still experience a storm. The disciples were. They were physically in the boat with Jesus. Just a few feet away and the storm began. When they started out, Jesus had a plan. The plan was to go to the other side of the lake. But what the disciples failed to understand was that this storm came by divine appointment and it came for a purpose---to teach them about the power of God. Jesus reminds us that when we face trials, storms, tribulations, that the storms have a purpose. James tells us that purpose is for us to learn endurance. Endurance produces maturity. Think about it. How have you grown as a person? How have you learned anything about life?
The answer is through experience. It would be great if we could simply learn from the mistakes and trials of other people. It would be great if our teenagers would let us describe the mistakes we made as teenagers and they would listen. But know this; that would be too easy. We think were bulletproof. Our kids think they are bulletproof. Just because 100 other people did something it turned out bad for them, we think it will turn out different for us. Here is a fact. If we don’t learn from the storms of life, we will sink. They will simply swallow us up.