Into the Storm Part 1
I have to confess to you this morning. I have to confess an addiction. This week I have become addicted to “virus news.”
It’s been on all the time. We’re watching the stammering press conferences of virologists that are not skilled at talking to cameras. We’re watching the newscasters and talking heads who are almost giddy with their predictions, charts and graphs. We’re watching the reporters who were denying the existence of a virus last week, talking about how to “make it through the crisis” this week. And I can’t seem to stop.
It seems like every time the TV is on it’s just too addictive and I can’t help but watch the storm.
Unfortunately, I’ve also been addicted to social media. All the Facebook and Twitter posts about this thing. All the fake news and slander. All the fake pictures and doctored news reports that get forwarded. And I can’t stop that either. So there’s my confession.
But in all of this I’m amazed at what people see.
As you’ve weathered the storm this week, what did you see? I think that’s an important question to ask ourselves because I think what we see at times like this says a lot about us.
We don’t really want to acknowledge that because sometimes we’re ashamed of what we see. Sometimes we don’t want to admit, even to ourselves, what we see.
I’ve had people ask me this week, as a minister, where is God in a situation like this? And it’s a good question. But my answer is that He’s here. We just have to be looking for him. Cause oftentimes in a storm, we find whatever it is that we are looking for.
Mark 6:45-56 (NIV)
45 Immediately Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. 46 After leaving them, he went up on a mountainside to pray. 47 When evening came, the boat was in the middle of the lake, and he was alone on land. 48 He saw the disciples straining at the oars because the wind was against them. About the fourth watch of the night, he went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them, 49 but when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost. They cried out, 50 because they all saw him and were terrified. Immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” 51 Then he climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down. They were completely amazed, 52 for they had not understood about the loaves; their hearts were hardened.
There are three major points that I want us to find in this passage that I believe are appropriate for us this week. Three reminders that are there for us as believers as well as to be shared with those whom we come into contact with. I hope to share those with you one at a time over the next three days.
First, Sometimes Jesus Wants You in the Storm.
Whoa! Wait . . . what?
Sometimes Jesus Wants you in the storm!
Now hear me on this. Jesus did not CAUSE the storm to come upon them, but He did send them on out into it. That’s important.
It was Jesus’ idea. Jesus sent them into this situation.
Over and over when you find yourself struggling people will say, “God will not give you more than you can bear.” I submit to you this morning that not only WILL God give you more than you can bear, many times He does so that His glory may be revealed.
2 Corinthians 12:9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
And sometimes we are straining against the oars and fighting against the wind because Jesus is on His way. So they are out in the middle of the lake and they are straining against the oars. Rowing with all their might but going nowhere. Because the wind is against them.
It’s important for us to remember that we continually see them involved with water, not just because of their fishing heritage but because in the mind of the readers of this time, water and the sea symbolized chaos. The turmoil of the sea was continually equated with chaos and unpredictability. It was a tempest that couldn’t be tamed and was routinely used in the literature of the time to show the chaos and unpredictability of life. It was also seen as the domain of the spirit world. The pagan gods and demons of the world around them lived in the sea and in the storm. So as the disciples are stranded in a boat on a raging sea in the middle of a howling storm that’s what they are expecting. That’s what they are looking for. They are looking for spirits. For demons, spirits and pagan gods. They are stuck in the midst of the storm and they are straining against the oars and they are helpless and hopeless because they feel overwhelmed by the spirits of this world!
We know what that feels like, don’t we?
Spinning our wheels? Fighting and scraping to get nowhere? We know what that’s like in our personal lives and we know what that’s like in church. Churches everywhere complain of the same malady. They feel like they’re rowing against the wind. Fighting and straining but getting nowhere. All around them is chaos and no matter what they do they can’t seem to get ahead. They can’t seem to make any headway. We all find ourselves eventually in the same situation. You hit a place where you feel like you’re spinning your wheels, straining against the wind, fighting but not really getting anywhere. Lost and alone in a storm that is out of control. Overwhelmed by the chaos and all you can see around you is darkness and evil.
The first thing you need to remember is that Jesus wants you in that storm.
Faith becomes real in a storm.
We are better able to see the power of our Savior in the storm.
Think about that this week. As we see closings and dire predictions. As we hear gloom and doom from everyone. Sometimes Jesus wants you in the storm. Look for Him.
God loves you and I love you!