We planned for a day outside and the forecast had a 0% chance of rain, but when we got to the park we were met with a summer downpour. Blue skies, white clouds, but rain everywhere you turned. What made it so frustrating was that the storm was not expected; it wasn’t supposed to happen. We planned and we were responsible, we did everything we were supposed to do, and the storm still came.
Sometimes we go through life with this attitude, thinking the storm is not supposed to happen and when it does we let sin control us and we ultimately show what little faith we have in God. The problem is, we’ve started out with a false assumption. The forecast of our lives, according to Scripture, reads: “storms likely.” Jesus never promised an easy life; in fact, during his Sermon on the Mount, he promised the exact opposite.
“‘For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike.’” (Matthew 5:45b)
“For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” (Matthew 7:14)
The first thing we need to realize is that storms are inevitable. Giving your life over to Christ, growing the fruits of the Spirit, living according to God’s will—this does not guarantee an easy life here on Earth. It is not by works that we have been saved, so it is not by works that we will have an easy life.
Second, Jesus is always in control of whatever storm comes our way. Twice in Scripture the disciples are caught up in a storm, and in both instances they are panicked and terrified.
“Suddenly, a fierce storm struck the lake, with waves breaking into the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him up, shouting, ‘Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!’
“Jesus responded, ‘Why are you afraid? You have so little faith!’ Then he got up and rebuked the wind and waves, and suddenly there was a great calm. The disciples were amazed. ‘Who is this man?’ they asked. ‘Even the winds and waves obey him!’” (Matthew 8:24-27)
“But Jesus was sleeping.” It can feel this way for us even today; storms come into our lives and it can feel like Jesus is sleeping through it. Emotionally, this can be frustrating but logically it’s very comforting. Jesus can sleep through the storm because He is in command of it and that should bring us comfort. It may feel like Jesus is sleeping through your storm, but remember when you call out to Him, and in His perfect timing, with one word, the storm will cease and peace will come.
The second storm came about when the disciples were out on the water and Jesus wasn’t with them. He was far away on the shore. Many us know this too well: in the midst of our storm, Jesus felt far away. But Jesus didn’t leave the disciples to fight the storm on their own, and He won’t do that to you. Jesus was aware of the storm, He could certainly see it from the shore, but in this storm He did not stand and rebuke the waves; instead, He walked on top of them.
“About three o’clock in the morning Jesus came toward them, walking on the water. When the disciples saw him walking on the water, they were terrified. In their fear, they cried out, ‘It’s a ghost!’
But Jesus spoke to them at once. ‘Don’t be afraid,’ he said. ‘Take courage. I am here!’” (Matthew 14:25-27)
Jesus showed His disciples that He was above the waves, that they would not topple Him, that the wind would not blow Him down. But the disciples were scared and believed Jesus to be a ghost so they asked for proof and Jesus invited Peter to walk on the waves with Him.
“So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. ‘Save me, Lord!’ he shouted.” (Matthew 14:29b-30)
Peter did fine at first but as soon as he took his eyes off of Jesus and focused on the wind and waves, fear overtook him and he began to sink. How many times have we been there? Jesus is standing on top the waves, Lord over our storm, and yet we focus on our fear and the wind and waves around us. When we do this, we will sink like Peter every time.
“Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. ‘You have so little faith,’ Jesus said. ‘Why did you doubt me?’ When they climbed back into the boat, the wind stopped. Then the disciples worshiped him. ‘You really are the Son of God!’ they exclaimed.” (Matthew 14:31-32)
Why do we doubt Him? Peter had no answer but to worship Him, the Son of God. Let that be our answer too. When the storms of the this life rise up, let us keep our eyes on Him and may we know, whether He is there with us or far away on the shore, He is in command of the winds and He walks on top of the waves.
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.