Summary: When we find ourselves in one of the storms of life, we need to remember who is in the "boat" with us.
SAFE IN THE ARMS OF JESUS
A. Have you ever been so scared that you weren’t sure what action to take next? How do you handle the storms of life?
ILL> That was the situation that a little boy found himself in. He had diligently rehearsed for his role in the Easter play. His one line was, "It is I, be not afraid." He kept saying it over and over again to himself. "It is I, be not afraid."
On the day of the program he was a nervous wreck. His stomach churned as his teacher reviewed the line with him one more time backstage. Finally he stepped in front of the glaring spotlights and peered out at the silhouettes of dozens of faces. He panicked, and his mind went blank. Finally he blurted out, "It’s me, and I’m scared to death."
SONG> A Shelter in the Time of Storm
This morning we sang a song which says:
The Lord’s our Rock, in Him we hide
A shelter in the time of storm
Secure whatever ill betide
A shelter in the time of storm.
Oh, Jesus is a Rock in a weary land
A shelter in the time of storm.
I>WERE THEY IN GREAT DANGER? (V. 23)
ILL> Fear Factor - Asked to do things, although scary, probably not in any real danger.
A. The situation was a real one
"The storm was real"
The Sea of Galilee is not a large body of water–just 5 miles wide and 13 miles long, but it is known for its sudden and violent storms. The Sea is 600 feet below sea level and the sun bakes the waters keeping them nice and warm. However, it is nestled in the mountains which nearly surround it and the cool air from the mountains will come rushing down into the heated air over the lake and if you know anything about the weather, when you have hot air and cold air colliding, you can get some very violent storms.
ILL> Storms like this are common in the Great Lakes, as well.
In 1976 Gordon Lightfoot recorded a haunting ballad entitled "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald." [1976, Moose Music, Ltd.] The Edmund Fitzgerald was a real ship and Lightfoot’s song is a tribute to the shipwreck and the men who lost their lives.
The Edmund Fitzgerald was a giant ore freighter 729 feet in length and was the largest carrier on the Great Lakes from 1958 until 1971. The Fitzgerald was labeled "the pride of the America Flag." On November 10, 1975 the Fitzgerald was hauling a heavy load of ore to Detroit, Michigan when it ran into a severe storm. This storm generated 27-30 ft. waves with a bellowing sea. During the evening hours the ship disappeared from radar screens, apparently it sank in a matter of minutes. It now rests on the bottom of Lake Superior broken in two with the bow upright and the stern upside down still loaded with its cargo of ore and all 29 hands.
So, being in the middle of water during a storm is a real danger
"Their boat being swamped was real"
ILL> Lake Erie
I have been canoeing and whitewater rafting and had our boat swamped. Generally, you’re not far from show and most of the time the water is shallow. It’s now big deal
But, one time I was fishing on a bay on the north side of Lake Erie when a storm came up. The water started getting rough and the waves were capping into the boat. That was a different situation all together.
"The deep water was real"
They were in over their heads.
B. So, as we look at the situation the disciples were in we could agre that they were in great danger.
We can see panic start to set in. We can only imagine how they must have felt and reacted. Grabbing hold of the sides of the boat. Trying to bail the water out of the boat. Their eyes as big as silver dollars.
I have to wonder if the thought ever came into the minds of the disciples to abandon ship–the little bit of security they had at that moment. It seems foolish to leave what security they had. But it happens so often when people find themselves in the midst of the storm. Sometimes they leave the security of the Church. Sometimes they turn their back on God. Counselors often tell people who are going through difficulties that the church is their problem. However, that is like telling someone to jump out of the boat and into the storm.
C. When we are in the midst of the storm we need to do what the disciples did and turn to Jesus
The problem was that when the disciples turned to Jesus that they did so out of panic and not really seeking help. We can see it as they cried out, "Master, Master! We’re going to drown." In Mark 4, "Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?"