5 Lessons in a Storm
by Gina Johnson Smith
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And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away. And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone. But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary. And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear.
But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased. Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.
– Matthew 14:22-23
Summary: God calls us to do impossible things by faith so He can receive glory when they are done. We should keep our eyes on Jesus in every aspect of life.
The disciples had a long tiring day and Jesus sent them out in the boat to go over to another town. It was a dark stormy night and the wind was tossing the waves around. In the middle of the night, they thought they were seeing a ghost when Jesus came to them walking on the sea! Jesus saw they were scared and told them not to be afraid. When they were the most afraid, he told them to cheer up, he was with them! God has to take the storm out of us before He can take us out of the storms of life.
Peter must have wondered if it really was Jesus or just their imagination. He asked Jesus to tell him to come out on the water with him if this was really happening. Jesus didn't say, "I'm sorry, Peter, but water-walking is for Messiahs only." No, he said one simple word: Come. God calls us to do impossible things by faith. It must have taken a lot of faith by Peter to take that first step out of the boat in the middle of the wind and waves. When he did, Peter walked on water! The Bible says,
And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. - Matthew 14:29,30
Peter was doing fine until he took his eyes off Jesus. As long as he had faith, he did impossible things to do without God's help. He kept his eyes on Jesus and walked on water. When he looked around at the world, he started believing that the storm was going to defeat him. He lost faith. He took his eyes off Jesus, and he began to sink.
If we forget that Jesus is right there to help us, we can let the storms of life cause us to sink. If we keep our eyes on Jesus, we can do mighty things for God by faith.
Then Peter uttered what is probably the shortest prayer in the Bible: Lord, save me. Everyone needs to say that prayer. We ALL need Jesus to save us. He is our only hope. Jesus told Peter he should not have doubted. When they got back in the ship, everyone on board came and worshipped Jesus, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God. Whenever we do something with God's help we need to remember to give Him the glory for it.
Here are 5 Lessons to Remember in a Storm
1. Your obedience will put you in the middle of a storm. (Read vs. 22) - Jesus and the disciples has just fed the 5,000 – this was a magnificent victory. The disciples had just witnessed the great power of God though that event. The scripture says “IMMEDIATELY Jesus MADE His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitude away. At this point, Jesus was testing their faith. What is it about when we have just experience the majesty of God that we revert to type when we are faced with obstacles??? The children of Israel did this over and over in the wilderness – even after God parted the Red Sea….and God’s promises of giving them the Promised Land….all they had to do was “take the land”…yet they had they’re eyes on what they saw instead of keeping their minds on “what God said”. We regularly do this in our own lives. God has brought us through tremendous obstacles and we rejoice in the victory…yet, let something more come up and we go into fear and failure mode. What’s up with that???? We have to always remember, our obedience will put us in the middle of a storm. Storms always test the strength of things. Whatever we have learned will be tested in our lives via a storm. Storms will either reinforce what you know or reveal what you thought you new. It is the final exam. Let’s stop failing.
2. The Lord will meet you in the middle of the storm (Read vs. 26-27). Jesus does NOT leave you to fend for yourself during a storm. For Jesus, storms are designed not only to test you, but to see if you will recognize your need for Him as well as to correct you and your life. We are not designed to do this life without the Lord. But sometimes we need to have the proverbial “rug pulled out from us” to recognize our need for him and not operate alone in our own strength. During a storm remember to (a) keep a good attitude: Frustration and anger are a result of internal fear and failure to control the situation. The goal is not to control but to trust. Do all that you can and trust the outcome to the Lord. (b) Recognize the Lord did this: This was not the work of the enemy – this was the work of the Lord. The Lord orchestrated this to demonstrate who He is and to help them further see their need of Him – NOT for them to see their own strengths. The storms that impact our lives are either orchestrated by or authorized by the Lord. Our storms (or challenges) are ALWAYS designed to get us focused on our need for Him. The Lord’s goal is to keep us in communion with Him constantly. When we don’t consciously choose to do that, He has a way of bringing us back to that place of fellowship. Sometimes we are in fellowship and he desires us to get closer because in this closeness we are given more discernment, more power, more ability to impact those around us. Those around us get to see “the glory of the Lord” on us as we walk through the storm…so in seasons such as this, do like Job, allow the Lord to be glorified through your storm by your walk. (c) Don’t be afraid – I know this can be almost impossible for some of us, especially when we are control freaks like I am….we need to remember what Christ said in vs. 27 “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid”. I love that the Lord understands our unique frame – that we will fear what we can’t control or can’t always understand!
3. Your storms will show you who your friends are (Read vs. 28-29). When the disciples saw Jesus walking on the water, they were afraid – they thought it was a ghost. They disciples heard Jesus say “it is I”, yet Peter in his unique wisdom understood to operate in discernment by asking “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” And Jesus told him to “Come”. Jesus is the best friend we can have. Of all the disciples, Peter was the only one who spoke after Jesus identified himself. Often you will find you operate alone when you are faced with doing the miraculous with the Lord. Most people become MIA and go into the “self protection” zone when things look crazy. Often when the Lord calls you to do the impossible with him – those around you will not usually understand and will be like the disciples – will stay in fear. It is only when you step out of the boat with Jesus and walk on the water that they are amazed. Expect your storms to reveal your friends and their level of faith or fear. Let compassion rule the day, but understand that the higher you are called to go, the fewer people you will have with you.
4. The Lord will show you who you are in the storm (Read vs. 30). As I indicated earlier, we are revealed by our storms. What do we really believe? Do we really trust that the Lord will keep us? Do we really believe that He is our provider? It is at these times – when the rubber meets the road – that we find out where we really are, what we really believe. Our Lord is true to who He says He is, but we learn if we really believe it when things look crazy. It is in times such as this that we learn where we are weak and where we need to grow because God is revealing us in a very clear way. We need only to cry, “Lord, save me” and he is there to help us.
5. The Lord will show you who He is in the storm (Read vs. 31-33). – The Lord’s way is always to get us to see ourselves, then show us He is there. He is constantly creating opportunities for fellowship and growth. Through this He reveals us to us. We see our need for Him. We see His faithfulness. All of this is designed to bring us closer, to have us experience who He is and be able to have a real experience to share with someone else about who He is.
Let’s always remember we are in a battle. The battle is for your mind – who will you believe?? Storms will always show up, but remember life flows in cycles. Keep yourself steeped in Word, because only in allowing Christ to renew your mind and “restore your soul (mind, will and emotions) can we truly be successful in this life.
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