Our first principle is that storms will come even when we are obedient to the commands of Jesus.
Text: Matthew 14:22-31
The second principle is in verse 25: Our Blessings are Found at the Darkest Part of our Storms.
While the scenery of the text is rough and tough, it is comforting to know that there are some positive things happening even in the worst part of the storm. Our text informs us that it was the 4th watch of the night. The Romans divided the night into four watches. The fourth watch was between 3:00 A.M. and 6:00 A.M, which is believed to be the darkest part of the night.
This text reveals to us that it is during the darkest hour of our storm that Jesus draws nigh. We should find it encouraging that Jesus in the hour of desperation and frustration is drawing near. This verse also reveals to us one of the purposes of storms. I think that storms are allowed by God to show us what is within us.
Look at the text, Jesus is moving toward the disciples but they suffer from a case of mis-identification. Fears, runs wild in the disciples. They mistake Jesus for a Ghost, their fears and phobias surface like the rising of the tide.
This gets us to the third principle in verse 27: Storms Reveal the True Source of Our Strength (Courage).
When things were at the worst point for the disciples, when they were overwhelmed by the wind and the waves, Jesus shows up. The disciples had been rowing for a long time, and yet they were unable to get trough the storm. Storms reveal our own inability and the ability of God. We try to live large and in charge, but as great as our press clipping may be, when storms come they reveal all of our inadequacies. Yet Paul declares that when we are weak, we are strong. When Jesus shows up in our storm, we find that we gain strength. We gain strength to do the possible. When Jesus shows up He can help us make something useful out of our mistakes. When Jesus shows up he invigorates, restores and empowers us to reach the unreachable, to cross the uncrossable. Storms let us know that without Him, we can do nothing and without Him we are doomed to fail. Yet, when Jesus shows up, we gain the strength to join in with Paul and say in Christ I can do all things.
The storms of life are liken unto a grain sifters, it matters not what you start with it but rather it is all about what is left when the shaking stops. Many of us are going through a lot of stormy patches, and some of the people we thought would be left when the shaking ended, were gone. Some of the things we were counting on as stabilizing elements of our lives have disappeared. I want to share with you that what matters most is what is left when the shaking stops. We have to learn to thank God for what is left and stop complaining about what is lost.
Question: What do you do when the storms of life are raging? Pray, keep busy, isolation, evaluation, hesitation, rationalization, or just blame everyone else for your current circumstance?
Storms are designed to hinder our progress, impede our development, distract our focus, and halt our spiritual development. Think about it for a moment, when storms come don’t they keep us from going where we were trying to go, in fact a severe storms will sometimes cause us to forget what we were doing before the storm came.
But, I don't want you to misunderstand what I mean by the word "storm." A storm is any situation that hinders, halts, distracts, and attempts to destroy your peace, joy and the providential and plan God has for your life. Sometimes our storms are places of employment, sometimes they are people in our lives; our finances, friends and even family members can be storms.
Let's press on...
Principle number four, from verse 28: We Must Be Willing To Get Out of The Boat.
Boats is being used a s a metaphor for our old patterns or life. Those predictable behaviors and tragic flaws that we have a tendency to repeat over and over again. We keep rowing, but we are not making any progress in our little, old boats. This boat represents the status-quo, the same-old same-old. Too often we are trapped by the status-quo. We get trapped in the expectations and fears of others who are more than happy to share with us what they would and would not do.
It is time to get out of that tired old boat and experience something new. If you don’t like what is happening, if you're tired of the way things are going, get out of the boat. If you don’t like the way people treat you, change boats or if you don’t like the way things are going in your relationship get out of the boat.
But wait, get out does not mean leave, it also means try something different. Change the formula and the end result will also change. 2011 is an great time to get out of the old boats of failure and frustration. Can you think of some boats that are sinking (not working real well for you) that you need to get out of.
I also think that this lesson demonstrates how we shortchange God by staying in our crummy little going-nowhere boats. The point is it better on the water with Jesus that in the boat with others who are not going anywhere or doing anything.