Facing life’s storms
Speaker: Rev. Shine Thomas
Scripture: Mark 4:35-41
Introduction: Have you experienced storms in your life? Times when things just did not make sense. Times when our problems seemed big and faith seemed so small. Times when we feel scared that we are going to be taken over by the storms, insecure, afraid, and uncertain. We all have gone through such storms in life and some are going through them right now. It may be in your marriage, relationship, job, school, health, fiances or whatever. Jesus & his disciples were no different. They went through storms. This morning I want to speak to you how the disciples dealt with the storm.
Read Mark 4:35-41
Background: Jesus and disciples spent a long day teaching by the lakeside of Galilee. People crowded around Jesus and he got into a boat, went a little distance from the shore, and started teaching. When it was evening and the sun was beginning to set Jesus said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side of the lake.” Jesus and his disciples left and other people and boats followed them. As they were travelling they were caught up in a great wind. Read Mark 4: 37-39.
Now the Sea of Galilee is notorious for its storms. It is a small sea and sudden and violent storms are very common. That is because of the geography of the Sea of Galilee. Jordan valley makes a deep cleft into the Sea of Galilee where it is 680 feet below sea level. In the west there are hills with deep valleys and gullies which look like funnels. The wind coming from the Great Seat compresses upon these funnels and rushes upon the lake. It happens very sudden and violently because of the pressure of the wind created by the funnels. One moment can be calm and the very next moment can be a raging storm. Read Mat 8:24.
Now Jesus was sleeping and it was a tough day, he was exhausted teaching and he took a cushion and slept at the stern of the boat. The disciples were left alone to manage the storm. You must understand they have experience in managing the storms as they, 4 of them are fisherman, that too from the same sea, Sea of Galilee. This day they could not control the boat. They felt as if they were going to drown and die. Suddenly their faith became weak. Mk. 4:38b.
We must understand storms will definitely come for a child of God. The disciples were following Christ and they directly went into the storm. The disciples faced physical storm but we may face a spiritual storm. Just because we have been saved and are following Christ does not mean that we will have no problems or storms in life. Now everything maybe going great but storms can come anytime, it just takes a split of a second. Maybe you lose your job, the phone rings and some bad news come in, you have a routine doctor visit and he tells you that you have a sickness that you have to battle with the rest of your life; you find you are in a storm. In seconds your life is changed. Just like sunshine is followed by immediate thunder and shower problems may come to any one of us. The disciples faced storms in life.
Why do we go through storms in life?
1. Storms of disobedience. Sometimes our disobedience is the cause of our storms. Look at Jonah. He decided not to do God’s will. He went to Tarshish instead of going to Nineveh. Read Jonah 1:4. The Bible says he directly went into a storm. This storm was brought on by himself by Jonah because of his stubborn will. Jonah ended up from failure to failure and finally as you know he went deep down into the belly of a fish. He repented and came back to God. God used the storm in the life of Jonah to bring him back to God. Sometimes our storms are because of our disobedience.
2. Godly Storms. Some storms are from God to keep us focused on him. In John 6 Jesus fed 5000 people with 5 loaves and 2 fishes. People wanted to make Jesus a king as he was very popular. The disciples were tempted by the popularity Jesus got. Read John 6:14-15. Jesus asked them to get into the boat and go to Capernaum. They directly ran into the middle of another storm, why? Jesus wanted to divert their attention and make them focus back on him. Daytime they saw a great miracle and they got carried away by the popularity and the pride. Jesus sent a storm to refocus their faith on him.
Illustration: A little boy was playing with his sailboat at the edge of a lake…it got away from him and he couldn’t reach it. He didn’t want to lose it, and ingeniously he thought of a plan. He started picking up rocks and tossing them on the other side, past the boat. The waves brought the boat back to him, and his outstretched arms. And when we drift away from the Lord He sometimes does the same, and the storm drives us right back into the arms of Jesus!
3. Satanic Storms. Some storms are from the devil or the evil one which comes to destroy a child of God. Many scholars believe that the storm in Mark 4 is devil driven. Read Mark 4:39. Jesus often rebuked demons, here Jesus is rebuking the storm and asking the waves to be still which is the same term used for rebuking the devil. Probably this storm was satanic in origin. Satan wanted to destroy Jesus when he was asleep. But understand Satan has no power over the power of Jesus. The storms of evil cannot defeat the child of God; we have power and victory in Jesus.
How to respond when storms come?
What you do during the storm reveals who you are. Where do you run for solving a problem? Is it a friend, neighbor, or do you seek godly counsel? The disciples went straight to Jesus. They woke him up, they never gave up.
'1. Put your trust in God. We must have a never give up attitude with God. In your storms never give up your faith in God. Some people when problems come they give up their faith in God. They stop their prayer, going to church, reading the word etc., and hang their hands in despair. Some people hold on to God and come out better and victorious. Storms will either draw you closer or draw you away from God. You will never be the same as you went in. Either you will be bitter with God or better with God after a storm, it depends on your attitude.
2. Keep Focused on God. In the times of problems it is easy to lose track of our goals and focus on our problems instead. Satan wants you to do that. He makes us lose sight of our goals and put other things around us. That is why we need to be focused on God.
Conclusion: Storms will come and storms will go but understand Jesus remains the same. Following Christ you may face a storm, you may be in discomfort, fear, anger, or anxiety but do not abandon your ship because he is with you. In winter season it snows and it is cold and miserable inside but in the morning the sun rises and the temperature rises, the snow starts to melt and you are comfortable again. No matter what the problem is it will pass one day, have faith in God.
Read Mk 4:40. Have faith in Jesus. Do you have faith in God?
Illustration: Last vacation we went to Kerala, India. There was a river near our cottage and we decided to go to the river for a swim. Sam, our 5-year-old son was with us. I just went inside the river where it was waist deep. My son wanted to come and as I felt it safe I brought him to waist-deep water. For him it is too much of water to handle but I was in absolute control. I held his hands and supported him with both of my hands. Whenever I left one hand he would shout, “Daddy, hold me, I am scared” but when I hold him back he starts to play in the water not bothered about the danger or water around him. As long as he held the hands of his daddy he felt he was safe, he was confident and never afraid.
Child of God, God is holding each and every one of our hands. Do not be afraid. Isaiah 49:16 “I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.” Trust in him, God will lead us out of our storms. Let us put our trust in God and keep focused on him alone. Amen!
This sermon belongs to the series Miracles of Jesus. Other sermons in this series: