Surviving the Storms in Life
Our preacher, Eddie White, recently invited me to co-present a portion of the sermon based on Mark 4:35-41, when Jesus miraculously calmed the storm in which he and his disciples were sailing. He wanted me to offer a real-life application for this Biblical text. Following is my outline of comments:
1. Expect storms to come through your life. This world is a stormy place. We don’t help ourselves by hoping storms won’t come our way. If we expect it, we will prepare for it. Philip Yancey, in his book, “Rumours of Another World,” notes that in other cultures around the world, they expect suffering and hardship, rather than contentment and peace. John 16:33 says, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
2. Don’t waste a lot of time and energy asking “Why?” So many people throughout the ages have invested so much in searching for answers to why bad things happen. I’ve seen so many people get stuck in this trap, unable to move forward or find meaningful purpose in life. Most of the time, we never get an answer to “Why?” In the Biblical book of Job, we read of a man who got an answer. Basically, God told him “You wouldn’t understand if I did explain it. Just trust me. I’m with you, and I care about you.” Not very satisfying on the surface, but deeply reassuring, if we allow ourselves to embrace it.
3. Don’t waste time blaming others. It is so tempting to look for someone to blame for the problems that come our way. We’ve been doing this since the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3). Again, I’ve seen so many get stuck in this fruitless trap. Blaming others never helps. We are still left in the storm, struggling to survive, no matter “whose fault” it is. Far better to take responsibility where we can, and do our best to move forward with God.
4. Cry out to God. He is right there in the boat with you. God is always so willing to see us through the storms. He just wants us to trust him. He doesn’t always answer our cries in the way we expect – in fact, He often doesn’t. We must learn to trust that He knows how to deal with each sailor in each storm. Scott Krippayne said it very well in this song: “Sometimes He calms the storm. With a whispered, ‘Peace, be still,’ He can settle any sea…But it doesn’t mean he will. Sometimes He holds us close and lets the wind and waves go wild. Sometimes He calms the storm…and other times He calms His child.”
5. Remember that your shelter is not the home you have built here in “Capernaum” (on earth). Your only safe haven – your true home – is with Jesus. Read 2 Corinthians 4:16-5:10. “Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.”