Science Hill Community Church
Calming Your Storm
Calming Your Storm
22 One day he got into a boat with his disciples, and he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side of the lake.” So they put out, 23 and while they were sailing he fell asleep. A windstorm swept down on the lake, and the boat was filling with water, and they were in danger. 24 They went to him and woke him up, shouting, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” And he woke up and rebuked the wind and the raging waves; they ceased, and there was a calm. 25 He said to them, “Where is your faith?” They were afraid and amazed, and said to one another, “Who then is this, that he commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him?”
I recently heard the story of an airplane flying through some pretty stormy weather. There was wind, and rain, and turbulence, and the jet was shaking pretty badly. The passengers were getting quite nervous, and, when one of the plane’s engines was struck by lightning, the pilots announced that they were going to have to make a crash landing.
One of the flight attendants had noticed that there was a minister on board with them so she went over to talk to him. “People are really scared and upset,” she told him. “Is there anything you can do, being a minister and all?”
“Certainly,” he replied.
So he proceeded to pass around some offering plates.
What’s the biggest storm you’ve ever been through? I’ve been through some whoppers. Snowstorms and thunderstorms and rainstorms and blizzards. Probably the most memorable storm for me was a tornado that roared through my hometown on July 12, 1992. It was one month after Debbie and I got married, and the tornado slammed into the church where we had had our wedding, knocking off the roof and steeple. The church had to be demolished and rebuilt. People sometimes wonder whether it wasn’t some kind of divine judgment…
A single storm can do billions of dollars in damage – we have examples of Hurricanes Andrew and Katrina to know the dangers of storms. Hurricanes are named, but lately we’ve been naming our snowstorms, too, like snowmageddon and snowpocalypse.
Storms happened in the Bible, too. Probably the most famous is the flood of Noah – a rainstorm that lasts forty days and forty nights and submerged the whole earth? That’s pretty tough to top. Fortunately God has rainbow-promised that He’s not even going to try!
During Jesus’ ministry, there were storms, too. Jesus experienced one such storm on the Sea of Galilee with his disciples. Now, I’ve never experienced a storm on the Sea of Galilee, but I have experienced one on the “Lake of Erie” when I was a teen-ager. You know how they issue those “small craft advisories?” Well, my dad and I were out on a small craft with one of his friends fishing for walleye. This storm just blew up out of nowhere, with gigantic swells that soon became taller than our boat. (Well, it wasn’t quite this bad!) Anyway, we headed back to the harbor pretty quickly, let me tell you.
Of course, storms often serve as metaphors for the troubles, trials and tribulations that we go through in life. What have been the stormiest moments of your life? Did Jesus help you through them? Maybe you’re in a storm right now, of doubt, or fear, or pressure. If you’re not in such a storm, the odds are you soon will be. Storms come to everyone.
Jesus told a story about a storm that made this point.
24 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. 25 The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on rock. 26 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell—and great was its fall!”
There’s a lot of powerful things you could say about this scripture, but one observation is that storms come to everybody. Jesus doesn’t say that if you hear his words and act on them that you’ll never have storms in your life while others will. The same storm is described in identical language and in identical terms as happening to both men. The difference is that the wise man built his house on the rock, following the teachings of Jesus Christ. That made all the difference then, and it still does today.
Today’s miracle is the calming of the storm. In it, we get a picture of the divinity of Jesus as well as his humanity. His humanity is revealed in his exhaustion. Jesus is so tired that when gets in the boat, he falls asleep. Jesus’ trust in his heavenly father is so great that he can put all of his troubles and stresses and pressures out of his mind and simply experience the relief and release of sleep.
Meanwhile, the disciples also reveal their humanity. They are anything but restful. They’re panicked. And several of these disciples are former fishermen who are used to a life on the water! When the boat starts taking on water, they give up trying to save themselves and wake up Jesus. It doesn’t even sound like they woke him up hoping for him to do anything about their situation and saving them. They were just informing him, letting him know that they were all about to go down with the ship. Maybe that’s why Jesus chastises them for their lack of faith. For they had sleeping in the boat with them the whole time the very answer to their problem. The disciples are shocked to discover that Jesus is not only human, but also divine. “Who then is this, that he commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him?”
The disciples learned that day that Jesus is One who is able to calm storms. How many times do we miss the same lesson? We find ourselves in the midst of a storm. Often times we don’t know what’s worse – the tension headache or the stomach in knots. The racing heartbeat or the increased blood pressure. The pain we are experiencing or the pain inflicted on others. And we forget to turn to Jesus. We’re too focused on the wind and the waves. We let Jesus sleep on, dormant in our hearts and lives. The storms, we think, are just too big.
Some storms are of our own making - I have a friend right now whose life is literally falling apart. In the last couple of months he has lost his ministry, his family, and his home. He would be the first to tell you that all of this is a result of incredibly self-destructive choices that he made, and he is trying to work through them. Many storms we bring on ourselves.
But other storms come as the result of the choices of others – the family left motherless because of a driver who was high. The grief of families in Fort Hood left with gaping holes because of a shooter. The storm that swirls when a layoff is issued or a relationship ends.
Still other storms are like natural storms. They seem driven purely by chance or circumstance – A diagnosis knocks us to our knees. A sudden, unforeseeable loss hits us right between the eyes. An entire nation is going through a traumatic storm right now because of an earthquake, a tsunami, and a nuclear malfunction. Storms can come anywhere, anytime, and sometimes right out of the blue.
Whatever the situation, Jesus is who we need. Last week we spoke of how Jesus’ healing miracles testified to who he is. The works reinforced His claims to divinity. The miracles gave Him a hearing as well as an audience. Today’s miracle demonstrates something else: a mastery over nature. It speaks of the power that Jesus wields. And if Jesus is able to calm a real storm of wind and waves, how much more is he able to calm the raging storms that beset us? If Jesus can bring peace to a raging wind storm on the Sea of Galilee, how much more can he bring peace to the troubled waters of our lives as well?
Just like we name big storms when they hit us, so, too, do the big storms of life have names. Some of us in this life will have to weather storms called Cancer. Divorce. Grief. Doubt. Fear. Death. Loss.
But the gospels reveal that Jesus is in the storm-calming business. Now there are a number of ways He may do that. He may supernaturally, miraculously calm our storms, just as He did back then. He always has that power, that right, and that prerogative.
But there are also times when Jesus allows the storm to continue, like in the parable of the man who built his house on the rock. In those situations, He goes through the storm with us. There are some things we can only learn in the storm, such as the comfort of Jesus’ presence and His sufficiency for our every need. If Jesus is in your boat, it will not capsize. And if Jesus is in your life, He is Rock you must cling to.
I’m going to conclude the message this morning with an opportunity for anyone with prayer concerns, maybe of a storm that you’re facing in life or for a friend who is facing such a storm, to come and receive prayer at the altar. As we do that, a song will play on the screen with the message that I hope you can take to heart this morning: “Sometimes He calms the storm, and sometimes He calms His child.”
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