Summary: How to deal with adversity when it comes in abundance.
When the Bottom Drops Out
Matthew 14: 22-32
DID YOU EVER HAVE ONE OF THOSE DAYS when everything seemed to fall apart? For example, you got up and discovered the alarm didn’t go off and your head was pounding as a result of a bad cold. Then you cut yourself shaving, stumbled over your child’s toy on the way to the kitchen and broke one of your toes. The coffee-maker was on the fritz, so you started off to the coffee shop only to discover that your car wouldn’t start because the battery was dead. So you got it jumped only to realize that the heater didn’t work. When you finally got to work an hour late, you remembered it was a holiday and the place was closed!
Did you every have one of those kind of days when nothing seemed to go right? A seven-year-old boy by the name of Steven had one of those days. He went to sleep with gum in his mouth and woke up with it in his hair. When he got out of bed he tripped over his skateboard and cut his lip. Then he dropped his new sweater in the sink while the water was running. In school it was gym day. He hated gym. They chose up sides for a game and he was the last one picked. When he got home for dinner, his mother had cooked lima beans, which he hated. There was lots of kissing on TV and he hated kissing. His bath was too hot. He got soap in his eyes. His favorite marble went down the drain and to add insult to injury, his mom made him wear the pajamas with the little birds on them. He laid in bed and said to himself, “I think I’ll move to Australia.”
In our Scripture passage, the disciples were having one of those kind of days. It had been a long, tiring day of ministry and miracles. Tired, they had set out for the other side of the lake. Suddenly, a storm came up and their lives began falling apart.
What do we do when life deals us tough situations and it seems as if we are coming unraveled? I see five assurances to help us when the bottom drops out.
1. THE LORD BROUGHT THEM THERE
Look at verse 22: “Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd.”
Jesus knew that the storm was about to strike and He deliberately directed His disciples into it! However, they were safer in the storm within the will of God than on dry ground with the crowd out of His will. But why would Jesus lead them into a storm? The Bible indicates that there are three primary kinds of storms that come to us from our God:
(1) Storms of correction—to awaken, to discipline, to get our attention.
(2) Storms of perfection—to build character in us, to deepen our faith and make us more sensitive to the suffering of others.
(3) Storms of reproduction—to cause others to imitate our response to suffering or to choose our Christ.
Illustration: “Lesson from Golf Balls”
When they first manufactured golf balls, they made the covers smooth. Then they discovered that after a ball had been roughed up one could get more distance out of it. So they started manufacturing them with dimpled covers. So it is with life; it takes some rough spots to make us go the farthest.
There is no oil without squeezing,
No wine without pressing the grapes,
No fragrance without crushing the flowers
And no real joy without sorrow.
So if you’re going through a storm and if the bottom seems to be dropping out, consider that the storm may be in God’s will for you.
2. JESUS PRAYED FOR HIS FOLLOWERS
Verse 23: “After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray.” Sometimes when things are going bad we are tempted to think that God has deserted us. Where is God when we’re rowing against the wind? Why, He’s praying for us. He has never lost touch with our situation. What a comfort that is. What a comfort indeed!
Jesus knows what it is to suffer. The human side of Him experienced more pain than we’ll ever understand. The writer to Hebrews captured the essence of this truth: “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet without sin.”