Posted by: mikenicholsblog | July 20, 2017

respond in faith

Over the years, I have heard masterful teaching on the topic of how to handle storms. I have even had the opportunity to do some “storm teaching” myself. Over the last couple days, I have thought about my own storms — or trials, if you prefer that word. If not careful, it is easy for me to know a strategy but miss the application of faith during those trying times.

I believe it’s a safe assumption that you are also facing some faith adventures this week. It could be a health journey, a job scenario, a relational struggle, a financial mountain, or just an everyday “Will I trust Him?” moment.  Storms, after all, come in many shapes, sizes and strengths. God in His wisdom uses these “refiners” to help us learn (and re-learn) dependence. As you read the next few paragraphs, let your mind travel back to a stormy day in the life of Jesus and His disciples. Faith will rise to the forefront and we can certainly relate to the dilemma.

Our context is found in Mark 4:35-41. After a day of teaching, Jesus takes His disciples on an adventure in trusting Him. He informs the group they’ll be heading across the Sea of Galilee. He is leading them into the storm! Sometimes storms result from our disobedience, but at other times, the Father’s design is to send us headlong into troubled waters … but never without an anchor.

As evening came, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s cross to the other side of the lake.” So they took Jesus in the boat and started out, leaving the crowds behind (although other boats followed). But soon a fierce storm came up. High waves were breaking into the boat, and it began to fill with water. Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion. The disciples woke him up, shouting, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown?” When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Silence! Be still!” Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm. Then he asked them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?” The disciples were absolutely terrified. “Who is this man?” they asked each other. “Even the wind and waves obey him!”
Mark 4:35-41

Scripture tells us this was a fierce storm.   It was so intense that waves broke into the boat. The text makes it clear the disciples had serious concerns about drowning. Can you believe that Jesus was sleeping while all of this was going on?! You may not mouth words like those of the disciples, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown?”  But you (and I) have had similar thoughts. They had waves and we have our “storms.” As you view this week’s faith adventure, are you looking with eyes of faith or do you have that drowning feeling? Christ’s rebuke of the storm and to His disciples is instructive, even today.

With the words, “Silence! Be still!” Jesus calmed the wind. The Creator of the Universe was in control of nature. It is amazing that Christ-followers accept His control over our eternal destiny, yet we struggle with the daily storms. If you are anything like me, you have met some stormy days with strong faith. But in many others, drowning seemed inevitable. It is rhetorical to say we should never doubt that He is in control, but we do. Preparation for the rough waters will determine how we respond when the storms come. Are you allowing Him to prepare you?

Jesus also had strong words for his disciples after calming the storm. “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?” His rebuke gives us a clear indication that they were not responding with faith to His teaching and miracles. We all have an opportunity today to respond with faith in the midst of our storms. In your strategy of faith, remember three principles to hold fast to in the storms: He knows what you are going through; He wants to help you grow in the storm; He offers wisdom for the moment.

I often find (even after safe passage) I still get that drowning feeling in response to my storms. But today is new, God is still in control, and you and I can choose to view our personal storms with eyes of faith. Whatever storm you are facing right now is under the watchful eye of your Lord. Respond in faith!

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