HH, Sir Godfrey Gregg D.Div
When I was a kid growing up on the island of Bequia, I loved thunderstorms. I watched the howling wind blow leaves from the tree branches and the raindrops beat down on the grass under the dark, grey sky. We had no television and just the radio to listen to for greater threat of the weather. My siblings and I had no other choice but to play with each other. We found a way to endure the storm until it blew over.
Sometimes storms can cause much damage and wreak havoc in the lives of many. While the news focuses on environmental storms, there are other storms just as devastating that people experience every day, such as sickness, financial hardship, and broken relationships. These storms of life threaten our peace, comfort, and joy, and often bring about fear, doubt, and hopelessness.
In the Book of Mark 4:34-41, the disciples found themselves caught in a ferocious storm while on a boat in the middle of the Sea of Galilee and simultaneously in a spiritual storm of fear and doubt. They feared for their lives. Jesus was fast asleep in the stern of the boat while the storm was raging. They woke Him and said, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” (4:38). Jesus woke up, calmed the storm, and questioned their faith in Him (4:40). They were no longer afraid of the storm, but very afraid of the supernatural power of Jesus that led them to wonder who He was, that even the wind and sea obey Him (4:41).
The disciples learned a significant lesson that day that transformed their lives. We can learn much from their experience as we face the storms of our own lives.
God Ordains the Storms of Life
The idea that God permits bad things to happen to His children is a very hard pill for some of us to swallow. “It doesn’t make sense for a loving God to allow His followers to suffer,” some would say. This is a simple conundrum to solve. Jesus tells us in John 16:33, “In the world, you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” Jesus promises us that we will have trials and tribulations in this world, but because He has overcome the world, we can trust Him in the storms.
When storms hit, we often wonder, “Why is this happening?” In James 1, we see that God has a purpose for every trial that we experience. God uses trials to test the genuineness of our faith. The disciples’ faith in Jesus was being tested in the storm. They questioned the very character of Jesus, implying that He did not care for them. We may feel the same way when we face a health crisis or a financial hardship that may cause us to lose our home. But 1 Peter 5:7 reminds us to cast all of our cares and concerns on Jesus because He cares for us.
God Is in Control of the Storms of Life
The disciples were filled with great fear when Jesus rebuked the wind and told the sea, “Peace! Be still!” (Mark 4:39). Jesus displayed amazing supernatural power over nature. We learn, along with the disciples, that Jesus can be trusted in the storm. This is because He is sovereign.
God’s sovereignty is described in Psalm 24:1-2: “The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it on the seas and established it on the waters.” God is in perfect control of the universe. He is involved in everything in this world and is directing all things, people, nature, etc. to fulfil His divine purposes. When facing the storms of life, understanding the sovereignty of our amazing God is essential.
The disciples showed us both what to do and what not to do. They were right to go to Jesus in the storm. However, they fell short because they went to Him in fear and doubt. Jesus wanted them to have faith in Him in the midst of the terrible storm. In Philippians 4:5-6, we learn how to replace our fear and anxiety with prayer, supplication, and thanksgiving.
We are released from the grip of fear and anxiety when we thank Him for His sovereign power and purpose for the storms. We can trust His promise that His peace will guard our hearts and minds so that we will not be fearful or anxious during the storm (Philippians 4:7).
God Is for You in the Storms of Life
In their fear, the disciples questioned if Jesus cared for them. He asked them, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” (Mark 4:40). Not only did Jesus rebuke the wind and the waves, but He rebuked the disciples for their unbelief. Their unbelief caused their fear, and their fear caused them to question whether Jesus really cared. Jesus expected them to know that He was for them and that He did not want to destroy them.
Isaiah 41:10 states, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God.” Believing that God is for you can transform your life. When trials come, you will not be tempted to doubt God’s love, care, and concern for you. When it seems like there is no sound coming from Heaven, you can still believe that God is for you.
The storms of life are part of God’s sanctification plan, revealing your heart, and growing you into His image. Do not let the difficult storms become bigger than the promises of Jesus. He promises to be with you through any storm that He allows in your life (Isaiah 43:2). Allow the storms of life to propel you to trust God as your refuge and deliverer.
Here is a Questions for Reflection
When the storms of life hit, what is your first reaction? Can you look back on previous storms in your life and accept that God ordained the storm and was in control of it? How will the realization that God is for you impact your fear?