When the Tempest Rages

By John Thiel

In the storm when Jesus was walking on the water, the disciples were rowing the boat and they forgot that Jesus was with them. Jesus is in all our storms of life.

Jesus was not in the boat but He watched them with compassion. He saw them struggling and He left them until they couldn’t take it anymore. This time Jesus was right there and if they had called upon Him, they wouldn’t have struggled so much.

We are admonished to remember Jesus is with us.

Here is an example of the suffering of the people in their storms and Gods intervention.

Psalms 107:23 They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; 24 These see the works of the LORD, and his wonders in the deep. 25 For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof. 26 They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths: their soul is melted because of trouble. 27 They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wit’s end. 28 Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses. 29 He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still. 30 Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven. 31 Oh that [men] would praise the LORD [for] his goodness, and [for] his wonderful works to the children of men! 32 Let them exalt him also in the congregation of the people, and praise him in the assembly of the elders.

The object lesson is deep and meaningful. The Lord stills the sea. If you are on a boat and not in a very large ship, it can be frightening. I was on a boat and the back was low and it would go up and down. There is an experience of the depths of the sea. This is the experience of life. We reel to and fro. In the last days we will be meeting such an experience of spiritual and mental struggles. Sr White writes of the experience of Jesus in the boat. Jesus is as much in danger as were the disciples. The disciples had their own struggles between each other and then the Lord permits them to go through a storm.

The Saviour was at last relieved from the pressure of the multitude, and, overcome with weariness and hunger, He lay down in the stern of the boat, and soon fell asleep. The evening had been calm and pleasant, and quiet rested upon the lake; but suddenly darkness overspread the sky, the wind swept wildly down the mountain gorges along the eastern shore, and a fierce tempest burst upon the lake. {DA 334.2}
The sun had set, and the blackness of night settled down upon the stormy sea. The waves, lashed into fury by the howling winds, dashed fiercely over the disciples’ boat, and threatened to engulf it. Those hardy fishermen had spent their lives upon the lake, and had guided their craft safely through many a storm; but now their strength and skill availed nothing. {DA 334.3}

Many a time we have struggled through the storms of life and we have come through as we have been strong. But many a time a struggle is coming where we can’t handle it anymore. Some may have gone through that already. The disciples had been through many a storm and handled their boats and come through safely but now this is too much.

Absorbed in their efforts to save themselves, they had forgotten that Jesus was on board. Now, seeing their labor vain and only death before them, they remembered at whose command they had set out to cross the sea. In Jesus was their only hope. In their helplessness and despair they cried, “Master, Master!” But the dense darkness hid Him from their sight. Their voices were drowned by the roaring of the tempest, and there was no reply. Doubt and fear assailed them. Had Jesus forsaken them? Was He who had conquered disease and demons, and even death, powerless to help His disciples now? Was He unmindful of them in their distress? {DA 334.4}

Jesus is in all our storms and we forget. How do we get into our storms? Many times they come when the Lord has commanded us to do something. Jesus came to save us and He ended up in the storm.

Have you been through experiences where you see the Lord blessing and you can do anything but there comes a point in time where you think He will fail you? That’s exactly what they felt.

Again they call, but there is no answer except the shrieking of the angry blast. Already their boat is sinking. A moment, and apparently they will be swallowed up by the hungry waters. {DA 334.5}
Suddenly a flash of lightning pierces the darkness, and they see Jesus lying asleep, undisturbed by the tumult. In amazement and despair they exclaim, “Master, carest Thou not that we perish?” How can He rest so peacefully, while they are in danger and battling with death? {DA 334.6}

Jesus is asleep in this fearful storm. These are the issues of life. Certain people are at peace and some are struggling and saying how can you be at peace as some are resting in Jesus and others are struggling.

Their cry arouses Jesus. As the lightning’s glare reveals Him, they see the peace of heaven in His face; they read in His glance self-forgetful, tender love, and, their hearts turning to Him, cry, “Lord, save us: we perish.” {DA 335.1}
Never did a soul utter that cry unheeded. As the disciples grasp their oars to make a last effort, Jesus rises. He stands in the midst of His disciples, while the tempest rages, the waves break over them, and the lightning illuminates His countenance. He lifts His hand, so often employed in deeds of mercy, and says to the angry sea, “Peace, be still.” {DA 335.2}
The storm ceases. The billows sink to rest. The clouds roll away, and the stars shine forth. The boat rests upon a quiet sea. Then turning to His disciples, Jesus asks sorrowfully, “Why are ye fearful? have ye not yet faith?” Mark 4:40, R.V. {DA 335.3}
A hush fell upon the disciples. Even Peter did not attempt to express the awe that filled his heart. The boats that had set out to accompany Jesus had been in the same peril with that of the disciples. Terror and despair had seized their occupants; but the command of Jesus brought quiet to the scene of tumult. The fury of the storm had driven the boats into close proximity, and all on board beheld the miracle. In the calm that followed, fear was forgotten. The people whispered among themselves, “What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?” {DA 335.4}
When Jesus was awakened to meet the storm, He was in perfect peace. There was no trace of fear in word or look, for no fear was in His heart. But He rested not in the possession of almighty power. It was not as the “Master of earth and sea and sky” that He reposed in quiet. That power He had laid down, and He says, “I can of Mine own self do nothing.” John 5:30. He trusted in the Father’s might. It was in faith–faith in God’s love and care–that Jesus rested, and the power of that word which stilled the storm was the power of God. {DA 336.1}
As Jesus rested by faith in the Father’s care, so we are to rest in the care of our Saviour. If the disciples had trusted in Him, they would have been kept in peace. Their fear in the time of danger revealed their unbelief. In their efforts to save themselves, they forgot Jesus; and it was only when, in despair of self-dependence, they turned to Him that He could give them help. {DA 336.2}

Can you see it was Jesus waiting? It was not until they were in despair that they turned to Him to give them help. When we meet those times which we will meet more intensely than ever before, it this we need to remember so the moment the storm comes whatever it is which will create fear in our hearts, we are to remember how Jesus relied on the Father like we have to rely. He was right in the storm with them. We are to take these lessons and remember them when it’s the toughest moments that we are meeting. We should be resting in Jesus all the time.

How often the disciples’ experience is ours! When the tempests of temptation gather, and the fierce lightnings flash, and the waves sweep over us, we battle with the storm alone, forgetting that there is One who can help us. We trust to our own strength till our hope is lost, and we are ready to perish. Then we remember Jesus, and if we call upon Him to save us, we shall not cry in vain. Though He sorrowfully reproves our unbelief and self-confidence, He never fails to give us the help we need. Whether on the land or on the sea, if we have the Saviour in our hearts, there is no need of fear. Living faith in the Redeemer will smooth the sea of life, and will deliver us from danger in the way that He knows to be best. {DA 336.3}

If we fail to remember, if we keep on trying to do it ourselves and we get into dispair, Jesus comes to help. I have had to deal with this frequently. If the fear comes, I have to answer to the fact, am I really trusting the Lord. If it ever came to me as I hear of others, would I be fearful?

I was once called to the army. I would say I wouldn’t go. People would say what if you are married and someone came to you with a gun, wouldn’t you fight? If you were in the war, would you have stood firm to taking up arms?

The danger in which we find ourselves is the test for us to release ourselves to release the fear and trust in the Father as Jesus did. Perfect love casteth out fear.

There is another spiritual lesson in this miracle of the stilling of the tempest. Every man’s experience testifies to the truth of the words of Scripture, “The wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest. . . . There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.” Isaiah 57:20, 21. Sin has destroyed our peace. While self is unsubdued, we can find no rest. The masterful passions of the heart no human power can control. We are as helpless here as were the disciples to quiet the raging storm. But He who spoke peace to the billows of Galilee has spoken the word of peace for every soul. However fierce the tempest, those who turn to Jesus with the cry, “Lord, save us,” will find deliverance. His grace, that reconciles the soul to God, quiets the strife of human passion, and in His love the heart is at rest. “He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still. Then are they glad because they be quiet; so He bringeth them unto their desired haven.” Psalm 107:29, 30. “Being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” “The work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance forever.” Romans 5:1; Isaiah 32:17. {DA 336.4}

Do I find restlessness in me? Then something is not subdued. That is self. If self is subdued, we would find rest. Every time we get into a restless state, we can measure up how much of self is there.

Can you control the things that come up inside of you? It overwhelms us like a big wave to engulf us. When the passions of the heart arise, we can’t control them. We need to rely as did Jesus on the power of God.

Psalm 37:23 The steps of a [good] man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way. 24 Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth [him with] his hand.

While we sometimes forget, we will rise again when we remember. Just because I’m justified by faith doesn’t mean I’m impregnable to fall. I can fall, but I must continue to remember to rise again to prevent myself from falling.

Psalm 107:31 Oh that [men] would praise the LORD [for] his goodness, and [for] his wonderful works to the children of men! 32 Let them exalt him also in the congregation of the people, and praise him in the assembly of the elders.

Amen.

Posted on October 8, 2014, in Prayer Meeting Sermonettes and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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