Summary: It is my prayer that these lessons will encourage us, not just during this time of uncertainty, but in every situation or our own personal lives when tomorrow is a question mark.
Turn with me, if you would, to Mark 4:35-41 (pg. 734).
And the same day, when the evening was come, he said unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side. And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships. And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, care not that we perish? And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith? And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?
No doubt, you and I both have been alarmed as we’ve followed the news about everything that’s going on in New Orleans this week. Most reports, if you didn’t know any better, sound as if they are coming from a third world country somewhere. The destruction left by Hurricane Katrina was immense. Sometimes it seems as though it would be easier to just evacuate everyone out and leave the city to the marshes that it was born out of. Just being able to drain the water will be a chore, much less trying to rebuild the infrastructure. Utter devastation has occurred in New Orleans.
But probably the flooding and wind damage done by the storm is the least of the city’s issues. The part that is so alarming, at least to me, is the survival mode that seems to have taken over. The massive amount of looting has left individuals who still have some personal possessions ready to kill in order to keep them. The lack of food for so long has made it nearly impossible in some areas to aptly supply the need because of the colossal crowds that rush the helicopters bearing the provisions. The higher priority of trying to keep as many people alive as possible has meant that taking care of the corpses of those recently lost has become a much smaller issue. The inability to really be able to maintain order has driven police officers to hand in their badges, or to even become looters themselves. This has made it easy for gangs to take control of parts of the city, for snipers to take free shots at rescue workers, and for criminals to roam the streets raping helpless women and girls. As a result warnings are being issued to lawbreakers that there are hundreds of soldiers hardened in Iraq who have landed in New Orleans and are armed and ready to kill.
It’s a picture of utter chaos. And to be honest with you, it’s pretty scary. For many of these people this has been the worst week of their lives. They live in constant fear. They live in complete desperation. Dignity has lost its importance. In many cases concern for their fellow man has been tossed to the wind. It’s become every man for himself. And perhaps, for many of those people who are caught between their fear and their immense need, tomorrow has become a great big question mark. Maybe some of them wonder if tomorrow will be their day to be evacuated. Maybe they wonder if tomorrow they’ll actually have some food. Maybe they wonder if they’ll even make it till tomorrow. Tomorrow’s a question mark.
Well, in our text this morning we find some men in a similar situation. No, they weren’t having to deal with snipers or rapists or gangs or looters. They may not have been in the same boat as our fellow citizens are in right now. However, like those in New Orleans, their boat was definitely not just rocked by endless amounts of water; but it was also rocked by fear, chaos, and desperation. And as our nation faces this storm I think we can learn some lessons from this very familiar Bible story. And it is my prayer that these lessons will encourage us, not just during this time of uncertainty, but in every situation or our own personal lives when tomorrow is a question mark.
I. He Is Present In The Storm
The first thing that I want to point out to you from this story is the fact that Jesus is present in the storm. You know, in times like these in our nation we often wonder where God is. I remember when 9/11 struck, four years ago next Sunday, people couldn’t help but ask if God was real, and if He was real, how could He have let this happen. Following the news this week I think it could be easy for us to wonder the same thing. Where is God when a hurricane takes the lives and homes of so many people? Where is God when all of this chaos is taking over? Where is God when our nation is experiencing something so awful again? People begin to wonder where God is.