Summary: encouragement in troubled times
(Matthew 14: 22-33)
By Jesse Crooks Southern Baptist Revivalist(Evangelist)
Everyone who listens to the news or reads the newspaper knows that our country and the world is in a storm. To put it bluntly we are in a heck of a mess. That’s the strongest words that a preacher can use. Along with that, most of us are in a personal storm. This text concerning this physical storm on the Sea of Galilee gives us some helpful truths about the storms we face as a nation and in our lives.
1. Storms are a natural part of life.
Storms are sometimes a result of our rebellion or sin. For example: Jonah. God told Jonah to go to Nineveh and preach. Jonah said, not me I’m not going down there and preach to that bunch of Yahoo’s. They might get saved. So, he rebelled, found a ship and ran the other way. (Jonah 1:1-3, 4:1-2). However, when God got finished with him, old Jonah was glad to go to Nineveh. When that fish vomited him up, he hit the ground running toward the city where God had told him to go. (Jonah 3:3a) Say what you will, I believe our nation is suffering because of our sins and rebellion. We have taken God out of this country.
I saw a picture once, I think it was of Jonah sitting in the belly of the fish at this neat little antique looking table with a candle on it praying. You understand, don’t you? That’s not the way it was. It was as dark as a thousand mid-nights and Jonah was being eaten alive by the fish’s digestive juices. The chastisement of God is often very severe. Folks God can bring this country and His Church back to our knees any time He chooses,
Theses disciples were not being disobedient. They were doing exactly what Jesus told them to do. (Matt 14:22) Folks, living for Jesus does not mean that we will always escape the storms of life. Beware of these preachers, especially on T. V. that tells you that all you must do is trust Jesus and send your money to me and everything will be great. It’s just not in the Book. Some of God’s greatest Saints, that I know, have suffered very severe storms in their lives.
Remember, if it had not been for the storm, Peter would have never discovered he could walk on water. In the storm is where we really learn about the power of God. Someone has said, “You never know God is all you need until God is all you have.”
2. Jesus knows and cares when we are in a storm,
Where was Jesus when this storm began? The text says He was up in the mountains praying. (Matt. 14:23) I can’t prove this, but I think I know what he was praying about that night. Don’t you? He was praying about His disciples down there in the storm. The Bible teaches that even now He’s at the right hand of the Father, making intercessions. For who class? For us. (Heb.7; 25b, 9: 24b) It’s possible that some of you can be in a personal storm that no one knows about. Your best friend or your mate may not know. I want to assure you that Jesus knows. He cares. He’s praying for you.
3.Jesus always draws near when we are in a storm.
You understand that He is never more than a prayer away. The scripture says, that in the fourth watch of' the night, Jesus came to them walking on the water. (Matt14:25) If I understand correct1y the fourth watch of the night begins about 3 o’clock in the morning, the darkest part of the night. Since I’ve gotten older and wiser, I forgotten that there is but one four o’clock in a day. The one I remember is not in the morning.
I do remember from my younger days getting up at three or four in morning to chase after those poor little deer. Let me tell you something its dark at three or four o’clock. You’re trying to get your boots on, and find your gun, and Linda has told you, if you wake the babies up you not going anywhere.
Problems always seem to get worse in the wee dark hours of the morning. Sick folks get sicker. You get the phone call about bad news in middle hours of the night. If you call me at 3 o’clock in morning it had better bad news. Just joking, I would just punch Linda and say get the phone. I believe that this was the time when the storm was at its worst, when they were about to lose the ship, and maybe their lives, that Jesus came the closest.