Summary: Don’t despair, Christ is there. And He desires to lift you up when you think you’re going under.
We have all had that “sinking feeling,” haven’t we? We’ve all had our share of storms. There are various types of storms in life. 1. Situational storms. This is when circumstances seem to plot against you and everything seems to go wrong. Murphy’s law is in full force. Everything seems to go wrong at once. There are situational storms. 2. Relational storms. This is when there is tension between people. When a relationship has been strained to the breaking point - parent and child, husband and wife, friends - your life will be stormy.
3. Emotional storms. These are often hidden on the surface. We have a nice smile, but inside we’re seething and boiling in distress. A number of years ago there was a show on television called “Secret Storm.” That’s a good description of a lot of people. Many times there’s a storm going on inside of us that doesn’t even show. Paralyzed by fear. Overcome by guilt. Raging with anger. Consumed with worry or jealousy. Those are the emotional storms of life.
The Bible says three things about the storms of life that I want you to get before we look at the text. 1. Storms in life are inevitable. They will happen. You will experience them. If you’re not in a storm right now, just wait. You will be in a storm. They are a part of life. In James 1:2 it says "When you face trials..." It does not say “If you face trials.” Count on it! You will face storms in life. Nobody goes through life sailing easy from the cradle to the grave. We all will have tough times.
2. Storms are unpredictable. They come suddenly. They come unexpectedly. They are unpredictable. In this story the Bible says that, "Without warning a furious storm came up". Try as we may, we cannot predict the things that will happen to us. People try anything to see if today’s going to be a good day or a bad day. But we can’t predict storms. They are unpredictable. None of us had any idea how the tragedy of the World Trade Center attack would effect us, because storms come without warning. They are unpredictable.
3. Storms are impartial. They happen to good people, they happen to bad people. They happen to believers, they happen to unbelievers. They happen to all of us. Matthew 5:45 says, "He sends the rain on the just and the unjust." Being a Christian does not exempt us from being in storms. *There is a misconception that people have, that the only time they have tough times is when they’re disobeying God. That’s not true. The disciples got into a storm because they obeyed God. Jesus said, “Get in the boat.” They got in the boat and they sailed right into a storm. They were obeying God. They were in the center of His will. And they were right in the middle of a storm. When you’re going through a tough time, don’t automatically assume, “I must be out of the will of God.” You may be exactly where God wants you to be.
The fact is, God has not promised us a storm-free life. This is not heaven where everything is perfect and where God’s will is perfectly done. We have choices, and people make mistakes, and people get hurt. That’s why we’re to pray, "Thy will be done on earth like it is in heaven" because it’s done perfectly in heaven. God has not guaranteed us a storm-free life. *So, if storms are inevitable, and unpredictable, and impartial, then the issue really becomes what is my response going to be to the storms that are inevitably, unpredictably, and impartially going to happen in my life? There are two ways we can respond to storms. They are seen in this story in the way the disciples responded and in the way that Jesus responded. One responded in fear, one responded in faith. One trembled, the other trusted.
When I face a storm, 1. I CAN BE FILLED WITH PANIC. It says, "The disciples went and woke Him saying, `Lord, save us. We’re going to drown." These guys were not novices. They’d been out on this sea lots of times. They’d been through many storms, but evidently this one was life threatening and had them scared. “We are goners! We’re gonna die!” That shows the intensity. The word that describes the storm in this passage is the Greek word “seismos” from which we get the word “seismology” or “seismograph,” which is an instrument that registers the intensity of earthquakes. This was a major, major storm.
It says they panicked. They got uptight. They got afraid. That is our typical reaction when a storm comes. But there is an alternative to being filled with panic. When I face a storm, 2. I CAN BE FILLED WITH PEACE. Look at the contrasting reaction of Jesus in v. 38 "But Jesus was asleep on a pillow." Sleeping in a storm? You talk about peace! This shows the humanity of Jesus for one thing. It shows that He got tired. After a full day of ministering, teaching and preaching, He was exhausted. He lays down and He takes a nap. If you’ve ever wondered if Jesus can identify with your fatigue, this is answers the question.