Weather The Storms Of Life

Text: Matthew 8:23-27

23 Now when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. 24 And behold! A severe storm arose in the sea, so that the boat was covered by the waves; but he himself was sleeping. 25 Then they went and woke him by saying, “Lord! Save us! We are perishing!” 26 So he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” After he got up, he rebuked the winds and the sea, and it became absolutely calm. 27 Then the men were astonished, saying, “What kind of a man is this One, that even the winds and the sea obey him?”

Sermon:

When it comes to camping, you take your chances with the weather. Many members of my congregation forecasted the weather based upon when I took my weeks of vacation to go camping. When I went camping, they knew it would rain. When we were having a drought and needed rain, they suggested my congregation send me out to go camping.

During the 20 years my family went camping we camped through the most vicious storms you have ever seen. Severe thunder storms galore. Tornadoes bouncing around us more times than we would care to count. Rain storms that flooded large sections of the state we were camping in To this day when my family is together, we often get around to laughing about our camping experiences in the storms, which were anything but funny at the time.

Storms are a fact of life. We need to know how to weather the storms, not only such storms as I just mentioned, but also the storms of life. Serious illness. Disease. Accidents. Catastrophes. Unemployment. Lost retirement savings. Death. Loneliness. Hardships. Personal problems. To mention only some. How do you weather the storms of life? This is what this sermon is about. From Jesus and his disciples we learn to weather the storms of life through prayer and faith.

Verses 23, 24 state: “Now when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. And behold! A severe storm arose in the sea, so that the boat was covered by the waves; but he himself was sleeping.

A good number of Jesus’ disciples had been fisherman on the Sea of Galilee. They knew by experience that the Sea of Galilee was notorious for its sudden storms. The storms unexpectedly swept down over the water from the higher elevations of the surrounding mountains and cliffs. The storm on this occasion was especially furious. The high winds whipped up the sea into vicious waves. The waves swept over the disciples’ boat, spilling huge amounts of water into it, threatening to swamp and capsize it, and to throw them into the sea. The disciples were frightened and frantic.

While all this was happening Jesus was sleeping calmly in the back of the boat. We might wonder how he could sleep so calmly through such a storm while his disciples were so frightened. Here we see the genuine humanness and faith of the man Jesus. He got tired physically and needed sleep, just like we do. He slept so calmly because he knew his heavenly Father was with him and watching over him. He simply put himself into his Father’s hands, unafraid of whatever storm of life might overtake him. If only we remained so calm and trusted in our heavenly Father’s providential care through our storms of life, right?

Verse 25 states: “Then they went and woke him by saying, 'Lord! Save us! We are perishing!' ” Seeing the danger that they were in, the disciples turned to Jesus. They pleaded with him to save them from being thrown into the sea and drowned.

From the disciples we can learn to turn to Jesus in our storms of life. What troubles or hardships or dangers have swept down upon us? How are we weathering them? Are they pleasant? Easy to cope with? No! When the storms of life are crashing down around our ears, they are frightful and painful. What do we do then to batten down the hatches? To bail out our sinking boat? To fight off the wind and the waves of adversity? We need to do what the disciples did--turn to Jesus. Pray: “Lord, save me from drowning. I am about to perish!”

As Jesus was present with his disciples in their storm of life, so he is with us in our storms of life. He does not forsake us, leaving us to struggle alone and to drown. He is with us to hear our pleas for his help. He is there to answer us in the midst of our troubles. He tells us as our Lord in Psalm 50:15: “Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me.” So in our storms of life rely on Jesus to carry us through them, and if it is his will, to deliver us from them by putting an end to them.

This requires faith in him and his promises. This is what the disciples lacked in their storm of life. They were frightened. They saw themselves perishing in the sea. Panic stricken they woke up Jesus with their plea to save them. Verse 26 tells us, "So he said to them, 'Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?' ” Jesus rebuked their littleness of faith in the face of danger. They had nothing to fear. Jesus was with them. He would not allow them to perish. He then acted to still their storm and to calm their fears. The end of verse 26 states: “After he got up, he rebuked the winds and the sea, and it became absolutely calm.

Thanks to Jesus the disciples’ storm of life was over. His almighty, powerful word was sufficient for the task. His word was authoritative. His word accomplished what he said and commanded. He who during the six days of creation said, “Let there be,” and it was done, commanded the wind and waves he had created to be still and they hushed.

The power of his almighty word revealed he was much more than a mere man. He was the Son of God in the flesh. The disciples sensed this. According to verse 27, “Then the men were astonished, saying, What kind of a man is this One, that even the winds and the sea obey him?’ ”

How is our faith during our storms of life? In the face of hardships and troubles and dangers is our faith strong and as firm as a rock? Or, is our faith no better than the faith of the disciples was? Would Jesus rebuke us also for the littleness of our faith?” Would he say to us, “O you of little faith, why are you so afraid?”

How confident are we when we must undergo surgery? How strong are we when we have lost our job, have no income, and bills are raining down on us? How firm are we when our loved one is dying and change and loneliness are looming before us? Does Jesus have reason to rebuke us? “O you of little faith, why are you so afraid?”

What will give us a faith that is confident, strong, and firm is the power of Jesus’ word. His word is authoritative. His word accomplishes what he commands and promises. He can say the word and still our storm of life. He can deliver us from danger with the power of his word “Be delivered.”

We will face many storms of life. From many of them Jesus will deliver us by the power of his word “Be delivered!” Some storms of life he may choose to let us suffer for some period of time to mature us spiritually and to draw us closer to himself. In this latter case, then, he is using our storm of life for our good in the end.

The greatest danger and the most severe storm we will face is walking through the valley of the shadow of death. Death seeks us out because we have sinned against God’s commandments and the wages of sin is death. When Death comes looking for us, we by nature are afraid of what is about to happen to us when we die. Because of Jesus and the powerful, life saving and giving words he has spoken, however, we have no reason to be spiritually timid and of little faith. For Jesus with the perfect life he lived for us and the innocent death he died in our place has already delivered us from the power of death. Hell cannot claim us. Death and the Grave cannot hold us. We who put our trust in Jesus and the words of his promises will have our soul live forever and our body raised from the dead to live eternally. For through his own death Jesus has freed us from him who holds the power of death through sin, the devil, and has freed us from the fear of death. As Hebrews 2:14, 15 assure us: “Since then the children have flesh and blood, he himself also in just the same way partook of the same, in order that by means of death he might do away with him who holds the power of death, that is the devil, and free those who were subject to slavery by a fear of death through all of life.” Jesus has atoned for our sins with his holy, precious blood. He has purchased with his blood the full forgiveness of our sins. He has delivered us from the storm of death and hell. We have no reason to be afraid.

Since Jesus has delivered us from the most vicious storm to threaten us -- death and hell, we can be sure he will deliver us from the lesser storms of life that sweep down upon us. Whatever the storm of life may be, weather it through prayer and faith. Amen.



Unpublished work. Copyright 2003 JCS of Christian Inconnect. All rights reserved.  No part of this document may be reproduced for distribution or publication without prior permission from Christian Inconnect.

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