Storms of Life

Mark 4:35-41

35 That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” 36 Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”

39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.

40 He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

41 They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”

This story of a literal storm in the lives of the Disciples is instructive of our own lives as we encounter hardship that challenges our faith! What are issues of hardship in your lives that challenge your faith? Relationship troubles, financial troubles, health issues, work disruption etc. We see in their reactions some things that are good, and others that are not helpful. Let’s jump right in!

 

  1. When the Normal Gets Hard

 

  1. Evening came

Metaphor: Darkness, fear

“And it was night”

John 13: 27 As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him.

So Jesus told him, “What you are about to do, do quickly.” 28 But no one at the meal understood why Jesus said this to him. 29 Since Judas had charge of the money, some thought Jesus was telling him to buy what was needed for the festival, or to give something to the poor. 30 As soon as Judas had taken the bread, he went out. And it was night.

They are out on the water, and water combined with darkness in the Bible is always representative of chaos. Genesis 1:2. The Flood. The Red Sea etc.

  1. They are following Jesus

In other words, they are in the boat on the water at night in a storm because that is where Jesus took them to.

Is it possible that as we are doing our best to follow Christ, that God would allow chaotic events in our lives?

Some storms in life exist and we aren’t certain whether we are following Jesus or not. And the biggest lesson in this to me is that it is really important to have a clear conscience and to know that you are with Christ when things are hard. Hard things are hard, but when you are with Jesus there are solutions that can be unexpected as well.

If they had known, would they have gone? Maybe not. The lesson learned is worth the trouble.

 

  1. Unexpected circumstances

Most of the time there are not big storms on the water. The squall was furious.

Squall: a sudden violent gust of wind or a localized storm

Furious: full of anger or energy; violent or intense

 

 

  1. Optional Responses to Difficulties

 

  1. Is fear a choice?

        40 He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

41 They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”

What do we fear? Death, suffering, loss of control, unrelenting     open ended difficult circumstances. Nighttime.

I don’t think we should beat ourselves up about being afraid of things that are reasonable to be afraid of. But don’t borrow trouble. Don’t pre-fear!

Fear is to be managed.

  1. And it starts with knowing God’s ability. What is God able to do about our circumstances? Is God able to give us life where we are? This can be a very difficult question to ask because it might mean that we are to live in the difficulty until we discover God’s ability to give us life.
  2. Knowing what God can do we then need to know what He wants from us.
  3. At this point we dig in and we trust God to act on our behalf.
  4. We wait on God and focus on obedience

 

  1. Doubting that God cares

I think this is the worst of their responses. “Don’t you care…”

They obviously believe Jesus can help. Maybe they just want Him to be as afraid as they are and to work from that fear. I have seen that a lot in my life.

 

  1. Peaceful sleep

How in the world can we get here? Well, Jesus got here, so we can too. Is it God’s will that Jesus and the Disciples drown this night? Is the squall unexpected to Jesus? Does it matter? I am sure that Jesus expects to die for sins in Jerusalem, not drown on the Sea of Galilee.

 

III. Jesus and Resolution of Difficulties

 

  1. Deal with doubts about God caring

        Garden of Eden: Good, wise, powerful, loving

Children of Israel in the wilderness: Deuteronomy 8:

1Be careful to follow every command I am giving you today, so that you may live and increase and may enter and possess the land the Lord promised on oath to your ancestors. Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years. Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the Lord your God disciplines you.

Hebrews 12: Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

God Disciplines His Children

In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says,

“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,
and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”[a]

Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father?

 

Jesus in the Wilderness: similar experience

 

  1. Resolutions come from God

        Wake Jesus up. This is the best thing that they do.

        “I am Who I am” “I will be what I will be”

“Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done…”

 

God speaks quiet to the furious squall! “Be still!”

“Who is this?” There is a sense of wonder at God’s working in our lives. I think because we manage ourselves most of the time and don’t necessarily see issues of faith clearly because we are “in control” it is strange to see God at work. So much of our lives are lived inside of His great blessing. Like the COI, delivered from Egypt because of the miraculous plagues, the parting of the Red Sea and the destruction of the Egyptian army. God has worked in our past. But He does not work in the future in their lives in the same way that He worked in the past. “I am Who I am” does what He pleases. We may not like what God does, but that does not change who God is. We are called upon to see God as God and to follow His revealed Word and Will.

Manna instructions.

Follow Moses

Follow the glory of God

Deal with thirst and hunger

Obey the covenant

Go into the Land (follow the bad report of the spies) (Confusing what we can do with what God can do)

So, go to the Word of God when you are afraid. Follow it’s instructions for your life.

Matt 6:33 You cannot serve both God and mammon, Therefore, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will wear, your heavenly Father knows that you need these things. Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, all those things you are worrying about will be taken care of by God.

Phil 4:6,7 Be anxious for nothing, but rather pray about everything with thanksgiving. The peace of God will guard your heart and mind, regardless of what you understand.

Phil 2: 12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.

  1. See faith like a muscle

Exercise makes you stronger. What would have been difficult in the past is not as difficult in the future.

When you exercise you feel weaker, but you are getting stronger. Trust the discipline, and wake Jesus up!

ms of Life

Mark 4:35-41

35 That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” 36 Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”

39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.

40 He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

41 They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”

This story of a literal storm in the lives of the Disciples is instructive of our own lives as we encounter hardship that challenges our faith! What are issues of hardship in your lives that challenge your faith? Relationship troubles, financial troubles, health issues, work disruption etc. We see in their reactions some things that are good, and others that are not helpful. Let’s jump right in!

 

  1. When the Normal Gets Hard

 

  1. Evening came

Metaphor: Darkness, fear

“And it was night”

John 13: 27 As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him.

So Jesus told him, “What you are about to do, do quickly.” 28 But no one at the meal understood why Jesus said this to him. 29 Since Judas had charge of the money, some thought Jesus was telling him to buy what was needed for the festival, or to give something to the poor. 30 As soon as Judas had taken the bread, he went out. And it was night.

They are out on the water, and water combined with darkness in the Bible is always representative of chaos. Genesis 1:2. The Flood. The Red Sea etc.

  1. They are following Jesus

In other words, they are in the boat on the water at night in a storm because that is where Jesus took them to.

Is it possible that as we are doing our best to follow Christ, that God would allow chaotic events in our lives?

Some storms in life exist and we aren’t certain whether we are following Jesus or not. And the biggest lesson in this to me is that it is really important to have a clear conscience and to know that you are with Christ when things are hard. Hard things are hard, but when you are with Jesus there are solutions that can be unexpected as well.

If they had known, would they have gone? Maybe not. The lesson learned is worth the trouble.

 

  1. Unexpected circumstances

Most of the time there are not big storms on the water. The squall was furious.

Squall: a sudden violent gust of wind or a localized storm

Furious: full of anger or energy; violent or intense

 

 

  1. Optional Responses to Difficulties

 

  1. Is fear a choice?

        40 He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

41 They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”

What do we fear? Death, suffering, loss of control, unrelenting     open ended difficult circumstances. Nighttime.

I don’t think we should beat ourselves up about being afraid of things that are reasonable to be afraid of. But don’t borrow trouble. Don’t pre-fear!

Fear is to be managed.

  1. And it starts with knowing God’s ability. What is God able to do about our circumstances? Is God able to give us life where we are? This can be a very difficult question to ask because it might mean that we are to live in the difficulty until we discover God’s ability to give us life.
  2. Knowing what God can do we then need to know what He wants from us.
  3. At this point we dig in and we trust God to act on our behalf.
  4. We wait on God and focus on obedience

 

  1. Doubting that God cares

I think this is the worst of their responses. “Don’t you care…”

They obviously believe Jesus can help. Maybe they just want Him to be as afraid as they are and to work from that fear. I have seen that a lot in my life.

 

  1. Peaceful sleep

How in the world can we get here? Well, Jesus got here, so we can too. Is it God’s will that Jesus and the Disciples drown this night? Is the squall unexpected to Jesus? Does it matter? I am sure that Jesus expects to die for sins in Jerusalem, not drown on the Sea of Galilee.

 

III. Jesus and Resolution of Difficulties

 

  1. Deal with doubts about God caring

        Garden of Eden: Good, wise, powerful, loving

Children of Israel in the wilderness: Deuteronomy 8:

1Be careful to follow every command I am giving you today, so that you may live and increase and may enter and possess the land the Lord promised on oath to your ancestors. Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years. Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the Lord your God disciplines you.

Hebrews 12: Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

God Disciplines His Children

In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says,

“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,
and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”[a]

Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father?

 

Jesus in the Wilderness: similar experience

 

  1. Resolutions come from God

        Wake Jesus up. This is the best thing that they do.

        “I am Who I am” “I will be what I will be”

“Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done…”

 

God speaks quiet to the furious squall! “Be still!”

“Who is this?” There is a sense of wonder at God’s working in our lives. I think because we manage ourselves most of the time and don’t necessarily see issues of faith clearly because we are “in control” it is strange to see God at work. So much of our lives are lived inside of His great blessing. Like the COI, delivered from Egypt because of the miraculous plagues, the parting of the Red Sea and the destruction of the Egyptian army. God has worked in our past. But He does not work in the future in their lives in the same way that He worked in the past. “I am Who I am” does what He pleases. We may not like what God does, but that does not change who God is. We are called upon to see God as God and to follow His revealed Word and Will.

Manna instructions.

Follow Moses

Follow the glory of God

Deal with thirst and hunger

Obey the covenant

Go into the Land (follow the bad report of the spies) (Confusing what we can do with what God can do)

So, go to the Word of God when you are afraid. Follow it’s instructions for your life.

Matt 6:33 You cannot serve both God and mammon, Therefore, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will wear, your heavenly Father knows that you need these things. Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, all those things you are worrying about will be taken care of by God.

Phil 4:6,7 Be anxious for nothing, but rather pray about everything with thanksgiving. The peace of God will guard your heart and mind, regardless of what you understand.

Phil 2: 12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.

  1. See faith like a muscle

Exercise makes you stronger. What would have been difficult in the past is not as difficult in the future.

When you exercise you feel weaker, but you are getting stronger. Trust the discipline, and wake Jesus up!