How do you find peace in the midst of a storm? This almost seems illogical since storms almost always have an ingredient of chaos and unpredictability. The effect of winds howling and the pouring rains would normally lead to a certain level of fear and worry. How do we stand in these conditions and face a storm and what it throws at you with confidence and peace?
This was the conditions that the disciples found themselves in while traveling by sea in the middle of a storm. Let’s read Matthew 8:24-25:
“And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep. And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish.”
Notice that while a storm had developed, Jesus slept. The disciples, however, found themselves witnessing a great storm with waves larger than the ship. Some of these disciples were seasoned fishermen. They knew the seas well. As they took account of the situation it became obvious to them that the storm would overtake the ship and they would all perish. It was then that a decision was made to awake Jesus from his sleep. Luke recalls that event in this way (Luke 8:23-24):
“But as they sailed he fell asleep: and there came down a storm of wind on the lake; and they were filled with water, and were in jeopardy. And they came to him, and awoke him, saying, Master, master, we perish…”
The one thing that was obvious to them was the fact that they were in peril and could perish. This consensus was the crucial determination in making the decision to awake the Master. To understand the disciples mindset we must look at the fact that the storm was great, the waves were covering the ship, and the ship was taking in water. The events shows a dire picture. The storm had overtaken them and they now faced a certain death. However, Jesus slept. Can you see the picture of a ship being tossed to and fro by the winds and waves. The panic of the people on the ship as they attempt to save the ship and their lives. And the utter fear when all seems hopeless. Yet Jesus slept through it all, and only awoke when he was awaken by the cries of his disciples.
How many times in life do we confront the storms of life thrown our way and battle to survive our situations? We also face our own winds and waves in our lives. Storms that make us cry out to the Lord, Master, save me: I perish. When fear and doubt overcomes us and we find ourselves desperate and in despair. What can lead us to find peace in our situations? What can assure us that we will not be overtaken by the storm?
Well, let’s continue with the account of what happens when Jesus was awakened. Let’s go back to Matthew’s account (Matthew 8:26-27):
“And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!”
Notice the question from Jesus to the disciples, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? We can probably imagine the look on their faces as they pondered upon the question. Why are we fearful? Does he not see the dire situation we find ourselves in? We are about to be overtaken by the storm and perish. I believe that this can be a great cause for fear. In addition to the question, Jesus also reveals their current spiritual standing by mentioning their little faith.
Let’s look at Luke’s account for even some more clarity (Luke 8:24-25):
“Then he arose, and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water: and they ceased, and there was calm. And he said unto them, Where is your faith? And they being afraid wondered, saying one to another, What manner of man is this! for he commandeth even the winds and water, and they obey him.”
Jesus here asked the question, Where is your faith? Is there a difference here between little faith and lost faith? I would say that little faith may find itself lost in the midst of a storm. How many of us profess to have faith, only to find ourselves crying out in fear and trembling in the middle of our own storms of life? Jesus makes the point that they were missing the very thing that could have overcome their fear, irregardless of the size of the storm. Faith and the lack thereof.
We must measure our faith based on our reaction to our storms. We are expected to stand in faith against our storms knowing who we are and who is with us. Fear and doubt are detrimental to our faith. We must take the stand of the Psalmist in Psalm 23:4, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou are with me: thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” Can we stand on His Word in whatever situation we may find ourselves in and declare as the Psalmist said in Psalm 118:5-6, “I called upon the Lord in distress: the Lord answered me, and set me in a large place. The Lord is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?”
So how do we achieve peace in the midst of the storms? By believing that God is on our side, and expects us to stand in faith and not fear! Our faith is the key to our peace in the midst of the storm!
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