My thoughts on these things began last Sunday when the pastor preached on storms. We all have them. They can be terribly frightening. Wind, thunder, lightning, driving rain! It’s not a good time to be on a boat in a lake. But that’s where the disciples were in Mark 4. They took Jesus into the boat with them. This was a very good move! Other boats were following along. Mark doesn’t tell us how they were coping with the fierce storm that came up. He only tells about the boat he and the disciples were in. I wonder if they turned back and headed to shore?
The waves were so fierce they were breaking over the boat that Jesus was in. They were sinking, but Jesus was sleeping. They woke him up screaming, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown?” The one who made the wind and waves was not about to allow them to cause their drowning. Calmly, He said to the waves, “Silence! Be still!” And suddenly the wind stopped and there was great calm (4:35-41).
Jesus was with them in the storms, and He is with us. Storms happen. We who live in Southern Florida know this. Smart boat owners check the weather before heading out on the lakes, Gulf, or Atlantic. Some assessment of risk is made routinely by boaters. It’s the unexpected storms that can be deadly.
Job faced wave after distressing wave of adversity–a perfect storm–all in the course of one day. Job lost everything, including his health. His wife said, “Curse God and die!” But Job responded, “Should we accept only good things from the hand of God and never anything bad” (Job 2:10)? We enjoy the good things. We hate adversity. We like peace and calm. We hate storms in our lives and especially in our churches.
Remember, Jesus is with us in the storms. He has the power to speak peace to those storms if we ask Him. In the storms we see Jesus in an entirely different light. Job fell to the ground to worship saying, “The Lord gave me what I had, and the Lord has taken it away. Blessed be the name of The Lord” (1:20-21). The disciples worshiped too, saying, “Even the wind and waves obey him” (Mark 4:41)!
Perhaps the posture we should assume when the storms rage is not fear or a lack of faith. “Why are you afraid? Do you have no faith” Jesus said (Mark 4:40)? Let me suggest one other possibility from the Apostle Paul: Give thanks! Really? Four incredible words: “In everything give thanks” (1 Thess. 5:18)! Not for everything but in everything. “Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”
Could this be what saved Job? He “Blessed (praised) the name of The Lord!” And for sure, in all that happened to him “Job did not sin by blaming God” (1:22), nor falsely accusing God (2:10). When faced with storms of difficulty; when Job could not eat for sighing; when his groans poured out like water; when what he always feared, happened to him, and what he dreaded came true; when there was no peace, no quietness, no silence, no rest, only trouble–storms–he kept quiet and trusted in the God who never fails.
“There is a place of quiet rest…near to the heart of God…” Peace in the midst of the storm. Quiet faith that God is working in all these things to bring about good for those who love Him and have responded to the call to serve Him (Romans 8:28).
David F. Nixon, D.Min.
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