In the book of Luke, chapter 8, we find a familiar passage of scripture. Jesus told the disciples they were going to the other side of the lake. And they launched out. Yet as they sailed, the Bible says a storm arose and the disciples were in jeopardy. In fear, they woke Jesus up and said ‘Lord, we are perishing, don’t you care?’ Oh my!
This reminds me of some Christians today, ‘Lord, don’t you see what’s happening to me?’ ‘Don’t you care?’ If you are asking that question, one thing is for certain; your faith hasn’t been perfected yet. You see, this is a ploy of the enemy, to get you to doubt God, to get you to speak against God. It’s how he worked in the days of Job and it is still how he works today.
Remember Job? God bragged on him to the devil declaring he was blameless and upright before God. Can you imagine God bragging on you to Satan? That’s exactly what He did concerning Job. Satan replied, ‘sure You are bragging on him, You have a hedge around him, but take that hedge off and Job will curse You to Your face.’ You see, my friend, that is part of the enemy’s job to get you to curse God to His face. He is trying to get you to question God, to doubt God. He wants you to shout at God and say ‘why are you letting this happen to me?’ Job didn’t give Satan that satisfaction and neither should we.
As Christians we often think that we are exempt from storms and trials. And while it is absolutely true that Jesus gave us dominion over all the power of the enemy and we have a promise that nothing will by any means harm us; storms still come. Many Christians see another Christian going through a storm and they begin to talk. They begin to say ‘they must be in sin.’ If you are the one in the storm and you have heard things like that from sincere people- who are sincerely wrong, let me encourage you. Remember Stephen, the Martyr? Did he do anything wrong? Was he in sin when he was stoned to death? How about Paul, beaten near death time after time. Was he in sin? Did he do anything wrong? Or was He following God all the way? Time after time you read about the disciples in prison, or beaten, or stoned and all the while they were following God. I said all that to say this; be careful before you judge, only one person knows a mans heart and that is God. And if you are being judged, forgive and let it go, give it to God, He will take care of you.
The very best we can do is leave the judging to God and simply make sure our own hearts are pure. Let me give you a nugget along those lines, if you are judging someone else then your heart probably isn’t so pure. Yet, we are all growing in God daily. We simply must live each day in a way to draw nearer to God and become more and more like Jesus. That should be the prayer of all God’s people, to be more like Jesus. Now, back to our text in Luke 8, what was Jesus doing in the storm? He was sleeping. You see Jesus had just spent His day preaching and teaching and showing the disciples the power He walked in and the power that was available to them as followers of Jesus. The disciples had seen this awesome authority that was available to them through Jesus. Yet, when the storm arose, they were afraid.
I want you to notice what Jesus did when they woke Him up; He rebuked the wind and the raging water and it ceased. He did not arise and say ‘oh my, it’s going to be okay, don’t be afraid, I am here now, let me fix this for you!’ No, He arose and rebuked and it was calm. Then He turned to the disciples and said ‘where is your faith?’ ‘Where is your faith?’ You see, Jesus had walked with them, taught them, showed them power, His kind of faith was theirs, it was available to them. They didn’t have to wake Jesus; they could have declared the same thing and had the same results. Yet, their faith wasn’t yet perfected.
You see, my friend, if God allows you to go through a storm, it is not to destroy you. Don’t give in to the enemy and curse God in the midst of the storm. Don’t doubt God. Don’t say ‘why me?’ During the storm is the time when your faith or lack thereof is most evident. I have said it before and it bears repeating; if you don’t trust God in the hard times, you don’t trust Him at all. If you allow it, your faith can be perfected in the very midst of the storm.
We have a promise from God. We will make it to the other side, if we continue to trust God and stay in the boat. Many people get out of the boat when the storm arises but I promise you, you are safer in the boat with Jesus during the worst storm imaginable than you are on dry land all by yourself. Stay in the boat. Don’t get out of the boat.
As you remain in the boat, remember your authority. You have the same authority that Jesus had that day. You have the power and authority to stand up in the middle of the boat and rebuke the wind and the raging waters and they have to be calm, just as they were when Jesus spoke to them. He died to give you that same authority, use it. Whatever is raging against you, speak to it! Rebuke it. Don’t tolerate it. Speak to it and tell it to be still.
Storms come, but they come… to pass. They will pass. The real question is will you be standing when the storms cease? Will you still be in the boat when the storm passes? Will your faith stand firm when the storm passes? Will you speak words against the Most High God during your storm? What you do during the storm is vital. Stand firm in your faith. Stand firm in your authority. And whatever you do, continue to worship and praise God, don’t even think about speaking against Him or His word. Don’t allow one idle or unproductive word to come out of your mouth. Continue to say what God says. Remain in faith.
I have gone through many storms in my life. Some were long and hard. Some felt as if they would never end. I refused to ask ‘why?’ I refused to question God about it. I refused to doubt. Oh, there were times when I felt weak. But I don’t go by feelings. There were times when my emotions wanted to dictate my response, but I am not led by my emotions. There were times when all my strength to fight was gone but when I am weak my God is strong. Nothing is relevant except the word of God. That is all that is relevant during the storm. The word of God will get you to the other side. The word of God will stop the wind and calm the raging waters. The word of God will calm your emotions and your feelings. The word of God will bring peace to every storm.
In the final days of my storm, someone said to me ‘I can’t understand how you have walked through this without ever speaking one word against God.’ They said ‘anyone else would have said “God, I am finished with following You, this is too much.” You know, that never entered my mind. Throughout the storm I knew a few things:
First of all, I knew that God had a good plan for me, a plan for good and not for evil. Secondly, I knew, regardless of how it looked that no weapon formed against me would prosper. And last, I knew that Jesus was with me. I knew that He would never leave me nor forsake me and I knew if I stayed in the boat, in the safety of His word – that He would get me to the other side.
You see, I trust God. I trust God when things are good. I trust God when things look not so good. I trust Him in the easy times and the hard times. I trust Him when I see His hand at work in my life. I trust Him just as much when I can’t see anything but darkness around me. He becomes my light. I trust Him when I see His word at work in my life. I trust Him when it seems like the opposite of the word is working in my life because I know anything opposite of the word of God is a lie and is subject to change. It has to change.
Are storms fun? No! But this one perfected my faith in a way I would have never imagined. So many things no longer have a hold on me. Nothing matters to me other than pleasing God and walking according to His word. I think back, years ago, before my storm began to a question the Lord asked me one day in prayer. He said ‘can I take you to a place where your faith is unshakable?’ I knew in my heart that it was a place I didn’t want to go in my own flesh but I also knew it was a place that would prove necessary for unshakable faith. So, I said ‘yes.’ Was it easy? No. Do I regret it? Absolutely not. You see, God is perfecting me. He is perfecting my faith. He is giving me unshakable faith. He wants to give you the same thing. Unshakable faith. You may not have to go through a storm to get unshakable faith. But you will have to trust God, and know His word is the only truth and say what He says. All the time. All the time.
I am living proof that you can go through a storm and not only survive but have an unshakable faith in the midst of it. You can go through the worst storm and still trust God. You will make it to the other side; you have His word on it.
What is your storm today? Are you asking God ‘why?’ If you have, just repent and tell God that you are staying in the boat and going to the other side. Then thank Jesus that He is with you. You and Jesus are the majority! And you will make it to the other side. And not only will you make it to the other side but Jesus will be bragging on you. Stir up the faith of God that is within you and set sail, you will make it, He promised.