Jesus in All Our Storms of Life

By John Thiel, mp3

Scripture reading: Psalm 65:5 [By] terrible things in righteousness wilt thou answer us, O God of our salvation; [who art] the confidence of all the ends of the earth, and of them that are afar off [upon] the sea: 6 Which by his strength setteth fast the mountains; [being] girded with power: 7 Which stilleth the noise of the seas, the noise of their waves, and the tumult of the people.

God is able to still noise the noise of the seas, the noise of their waves, and the tumult of the people.

Psalm 107:29 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.

For those who are struggling with the storms of life, there is reason for rejoicing in God because He is the one who can still and calm the storms and bring us to our desired haven. The storms, the tumult of the sea, the noise of its waves, are equated with the tumult of the people. Storms are the experience of humanity upon this planet. Ever since sin has come into the scene, storms have been there. The first storm that was cited in the Scriptures was Noah’s flood and before that, human storms were there too as it can be seen in Cain’s experience.

Humanity is accustomed to storms, storms of all kinds. The hurricanes and the tornadoes, the cyclones of nature, the military storms, war, the social storms, the conflict among people, and the storms within our own bosom, the passions within; these are all the storms of life. As we look at Scripture in reference to the troubled sea, we find that the wicked on this planet are like a troubled sea, where the storm continues to churn the waters:

Isaiah 57:20 But the wicked [are] like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. 21 [There is] no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.

The tumult of the people. All all through history the Bible describes the tumult of the human race by ocean storms. When you look at the prophecies of Daniel, for instance Daniel 7, it describes there the ocean with its storms and out of those storms come the warlike nations who have conquered in the storms.

Daniel 7:2 Daniel spake and said, I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea. 3 And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another.

As you try to understand this prophecy going from scripture to scripture, you see that when the wind is blowing on this ocean, those seas are multitudes nations, kindreds, tongues and peoples. Out of the war-storms of human interactivity, arise these conquering world powers.

First Babylon, then Medo-Persia, then Greece and Rome. Ever since that time, there have been storms and battles of the fall of the Roman Empire.

As we arrive to our time, Jeremiah chapter 25 describes the releasing of storms upon the whole planet.

Jeremiah 25:32 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Behold, evil shall go forth from nation to nation, and a great whirlwind shall be raised up from the coasts of the earth. 33 And the slain of the LORD shall be at that day from [one] end of the earth even unto the [other] end of the earth: they shall not be lamented, neither gathered, nor buried; they shall be dung upon the ground.

A mighty whirlwind that will cover the whole world with its storm is here described in the time of the closing of this earth’s history. The storms of life are threatening us all the time and they have been wild in earth’s history and it is coming to its climax. It is intensifying. In fact, as you look back, ever since the First World War the storms have been ever intensifying. Jesus speaks of this in Luke 21. He speaks of our time and says:

Luke 21:25 And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; 26 Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.

There is the description by Jesus of what we are meeting. According to the word of God, what we are anticipating will happen that the whole earth will be in a whirlwind. Sister White describes it in the following quote. According to Daniel 11:45 and 12:1, when Jesus shall stand up there will be a time of trouble such as never was, a storm will be let loose, and what is the storm?

The restraint which has been upon the wicked is removed, and Satan has entire control of the finally impenitent. God’s long-suffering has ended. The world has rejected His mercy, despised His love, and trampled upon His law. The wicked have passed the boundary of their probation; the Spirit of God, persistently resisted, has been at last withdrawn. Unsheltered by divine grace, they have no protection from the wicked one. Satan will then plunge the inhabitants of the earth into one great, final trouble. As the angels of God cease to hold in check the fierce winds of human passion, all the elements of strife will be let loose. The whole world will be involved in ruin more terrible than that which came upon Jerusalem of old. {GC 614.1

The storms of life that happen on this planet are identified with the fierce winds of human passion. All storms commence within every human being. If not handled aright within, it will blow from soul to soul and intensify across society. The storms of life are due to sin. The unleashing of sinful passion creates storms that will finally destroy this planet. We as the children of God and anyone who wishes to be a child of God, are not immune to this storm. The warning to the people of God in Galatians is well-expressed in regards to these storms of evil passion that even God’s children are not immune to. Paul writes:

Galatians 5:15 But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.

The human characteristics in the human flesh are one of restlessness and the human interaction of this restlessness in each human being constitutes a danger which creates storms in relationships that will result in devouring one another, mentally, spiritually, and physically when physical war takes place. You can kill with words just as well as you can kill with instruments of war. The results of the storms of life are all effective upon everybody.

Every Christian will be assailed by the allurements of the world, the clamors of the carnal nature, and the direct temptations of Satan. {5T 102.1}

What does the word clamour describe? A storm within the carnal nature. We will be assailed by the clamours of the carnal nature.

No one is safe. No matter what our experience has been, no matter how high our station, we need to watch and pray continually. We must be daily controlled by the Spirit of God or we are controlled by Satan. {5T 102.1}

At the end God’s care and protection will be removed and Satan will have full control, and the fierce winds of human passion will be unleashed completely. God’s people will be assailed by these storms as much as everybody else on this planet. The storms will blow. We meet these storms on all fronts, and perhaps the storm that we meet which is most intense is that which is written in Galatians 5:17.

Galatians 5:17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit,

As the Spirit of God wants to draw near to God’s people and work within them, there is the flesh inside of the person that lusts, that wars, that creates a storm of dissatisfaction of what the Holy Spirit is doing. And the Spirit, if invited by the believer, will also resist the flesh.

Galatians 5:17 …and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.

What a turmoil. What a tumult. The clamours of the flesh, the clamouring of the carnal nature that every Christian is assailed by, this is in a Christian the most intense part of the storm that we have to meet. And because people don’t expect that, it is something which overwhelms every human being to discover this, especially Christians.

The Christian will feel the promptings of sin, for the flesh lusteth against the Spirit; but the Spirit striveth against the flesh, keeping up a constant warfare. {SL 92.2}

Keeping up a constant warfare: An internal storm. As we head into the last scenes of this earth’s history, that final storm is also going to meet God’s people with great intensity. There is an object lesson that Jesus presided over in the experience of the disciples, so that we can get the appreciation of this kind of storm and know what to expect and how Jesus will be there to help. This object lesson can be found in Matthew 14. There were two object lessons. One was where Jesus was sleeping in the boat and there were the terrible storms all around. The other, the one we are reading now, is the one where they were alone in the boat but Jesus was watching:

Matthew 14:22 And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away.23 And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone. 24 But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary.

The wind was contrary.

Matthew 14:25 And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. 26 And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. 27 But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. 28 And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. 29 And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. 31 And immediately Jesus stretched forth [his] hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? 32 And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased.

Here we have an object lesson of God’s people in the storm. There is much to glean from this, especially when Peter was walking towards Jesus and walking on the water. We as God’s children are actually invited to look to Jesus and walk over the troubled sea of life. But Peter was troubled by the storm and the waves, and he started to fear and began sinking. This is similar to the disciples on the boat when Jesus was sleeping. They were trying with their full effort to row that boat through the storm but it was sinking. They were so fearful until finally they realised that Jesus was there.

Let us glean some very important object lessons here as we meet the storms of our life.

How vividly before my mind was the boat, with the disciples, buffeted by the waves. The night was dark and tempestuous. Their Master was absent. The sea was strong, the winds contrary. Had Jesus, their Saviour, been with them, they would have felt safe. All through the long and tedious night they bend to their oars, forcing their way against wind and waves. They are beset with danger and horror. These were strong men, accustomed to hardships and perils, and not easily intimidated with danger. {CTr 242.2}

They had expected to take their Saviour on board the ship at a certain designated point, but how could they even reach that spot without Him? All [seemed] in vain, [for] the wind was against them. The strength of the rowers was exhausted, and yet the merciless storm had not abated, but was lashing the waves into a fury as though to engulf the boat and themselves. Oh, how they longed for Jesus. In the hour of their greatest peril, when they had given up all for lost, amid the lightning flashes in the fourth watch of the night Jesus is revealed to them walking upon the water. Oh, then, Jesus had not forgotten them. His watchful eye of tender sympathy and pitying love had watched them all through that fearful storm. In their greatest need He was close by them. . . . {CTr 242.3}

At the very point when despair was taking the place of hope, when they felt that they were utterly deserted, the eye of the world’s Redeemer was watching them with a compassion that was as tender as a mother watching over a suffering child, and this love is infinite. The disciples were at first affrighted, but above the roaring of the angry tempest is heard the words the disciples longed most to hear, “Be of good cheer, it is I; be not afraid.” Their confidence is restored. “Jesus; it is Jesus!” was spoken from one to the other. “Be not afraid; it is Jesus, the Master.” {CTr 242.4}

Jesus said to winds and waves, to the troubled waters, “Peace, be still.” Oh, how many times have we in our experience been in a similar position as were these disciples. How many times has Christ revealed Himself to us and turned our sorrow into joy. Oh, powerful Redeemer, gracious and compassionate Saviour, able with Thine infinite power to calm all tempests, able to revive all hearts. He is our Redeemer. We may trust Him in the storm as well as the sunshine.—Letter 5, 1876. {CTr 242.5}

How many times has Christ revealed Himself to us. How many times have we in our experience been in a similar position. Have you? Have you been in the storm? How about the storm of your inward experiences? Or the storm of human beings around you giving you a hard time? When the storm is so severe, we struggle and we come to despair. Do you sometimes come to such a point in your personal experience of storm that you think, what hope have I got? What was it in the disciples’ experience? They were trying to row their boat to the designated point, but the wind was against them, they couldn’t get there. Can you appreciate the object lesson? We are trying to reach our designated point. We are trying to reach the perfection of Christian character and what happens? We think we can’t make it. The storm is too great. The disciples felt that too in that storm.

In our own strength it is impossible for us to deny the clamors of our fallen nature. {DA 122.3}

The storm, the clamours within. In our own strength it is impossible. Have you found it? Impossible! I can’t steer my canoe through this storm. It gets me down. it crushes me, it engulfs me.

Through this channel Satan will bring temptation upon us. Christ knew that the enemy would come to every human being, to take advantage of hereditary weakness, and by his false insinuations to ensnare all whose trust is not in God. And by passing over the ground which man must travel, our Lord has prepared the way for us to overcome. {DA 122.3}

That is the theme of our mediation; Jesus in all our storms of life. Whatever storms we meet, Jesus is right there. He passed over the ground which man must travel. Our Lord has prepared the way for us to overcome.

It is not His will that we should be placed at a disadvantage in the conflict with Satan. He would not have us intimidated and discouraged by the assaults of the serpent. “Be of good cheer,” He says; “I have overcome the world.” John 16:33. {DA 122.3}

Don’t be afraid, it is I, Jesus, in the storm.

Let him who is struggling against the power of appetite look to the Saviour in the wilderness of temptation. See Him in His agony upon the cross, as He exclaimed, “I thirst.” He has endured all that it is possible for us to bear. His victory is ours. {DA 123.1}

In the storms that are within, Jesus was there. Jesus is even now watching us in the storm as it was in the experience of the disciples. Often in our struggles and during the struggle, we forget Christ’s presence just like the disciples in the boat where Jesus was sleeping. They forgot that He was there. In our struggles we man the oars of our boat alone trying to push our ship through the storm and we come to the point that we think, yes, we’ve been through this before like the disciples, they were strong men, they had met difficulties before. Haven’t we? There comes this enormous storm of our inward struggle and we put our efforts into that and like the disciples in this situation, we are overwhelmed by despair and we feel utterly deserted.

At the very point when despair was taking the place of hope, when they felt that they were utterly deserted, {CTr 242.4}

Utterly deserted… Have you felt that? You think you are utterly deserted in the struggle with the clamours of your human nature, your inherited nature. We all have it. That’s why I keep on saying, don’t deny it! We have our human nature. The very thing we detest about our heredity, whether it be my father, or my nation, I’ve got it! If I don’t accept it, then I’m not going to struggle successfully because I’m going to be overwhelmed with a hopeless state of ever changing my natural human nature.

At the very point when despair was taking the place of hope, when they felt that they were utterly deserted, the eye of the world’s Redeemer was watching them with a compassion that was as tender as a mother watching over a suffering child, and this love is infinite. {CTr 242.4}

This is the very thing that we cannot quite comprehend in the midst of it. That right there in this moment of despair, Jesus is watching! Jesus is watching how? With compassion. Jesus is there watching me struggling? Have you ever gone through a struggle and you’ve been unconscious of it? After a while you might wonder, why am I not getting help? Because I’m struggling on my own and Jesus is watching with compassion. He waits until we come to the point where we know we can’t handle it anymore. I’m totally in despair and Jesus is right there. Jesus in all our struggles and storms.
In the storm you can hardly hear Him, He comes close and says, be of good cheer, it is I, be not afraid. What is He saying? The disciples thought there was a ghost. They were scared stiff of Him in the storm. That’s the whole point. If you meditate carefully on this object lesson, you see that when we go through these struggles we actually think that God is our enemy. That was Jacob’s trouble. This is what we are heading towards. We think, ah! Not only am I struggling against the wind, but here is this enemy on top of it, and He says, don’t be afraid, and you can hardly hear the voice. But He says, it is I. Eventually Apostle Peter says, alright Lord, if it is You, then let me come up and walk… and he sinks. These are object lessons that we are to learn from.

Although we may appear to fail and like Peter sink, never forget. When we are struggling with sin and we are sinking, what does that mean? I am actually falling into sin, sin is engulfing me, I am about to drown in sin. When that happens, never forget Psalm 37.

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.

That was Peter’s experience. He was sinking, but although he was sinking, although he was drowning in potential, the Lord reached out His hand. We need to remember this. I can’t emphasise this strongly enough, because I know I have battled through personal care for souls who have been drowning. In my efforts to help them remember, it was so feeble an ability for them to find their way out; but some have, others have not. The fact is that if our heart delights itself in God’s way and we have lost sight of Him and are drowning and falling in our sinful life, though we fall, we shall not be utterly cast down, we will rise again.

Proverbs 24:16 For a just [man] falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief.

No way out for them, they will drown. But the just man although he sinks, although he is overwhelmed with despair, yet Jesus is there with him and pulls him back out again. Why? Why does he rise again? Because Jesus is right there beside us, in the struggle with us. Remember, My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me? Did He feel forsaken? Just like we feel. He is right there beside me. Here is Jesus in the storm:

Psalm 69:1 Save me, O God; for the waters are come in unto [my] soul. 2 I sink in deep mire, where [there is] no standing: I am come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me. 3 I am weary of my crying: my throat is dried: mine eyes fail while I wait for my God. … 5 O God, thou knowest my foolishness; and my sins are not hid from thee.

What is He crying about? He is experiencing the storm of a sinful experience, as though it was His own. He is in the struggle with us in the boat.

Psalm 69:6 Let not them that wait on thee, O Lord GOD of hosts, be ashamed for my sake: let not those that seek thee be confounded for my sake, O God of Israel. 7 Because for thy sake I have borne reproach; shame hath covered my face. … 13 But as for me, my prayer [is] unto thee, O LORD, [in] an acceptable time: O God, in the multitude of thy mercy hear me, in the truth of thy salvation. 14 Deliver me out of the mire, and let me not sink: let me be delivered from them that hate me, and out of the deep waters. 15 Let not the waterflood overflow me, neither let the deep swallow me up, and let not the pit shut her mouth upon me. 16 Hear me, O LORD; for thy lovingkindness [is] good: turn unto me according to the multitude of thy tender mercies. 17 And hide not thy face from thy servant; for I am in trouble: hear me speedily.

Can’t you identify with Jesus? Jesus is there in every storm of life. He walks with us through every storm of life. As we are heading towards the most intense and extreme time the storm of Jacob’s trouble, in the time when all the hell passions are let loose and we are surrounded by the storms of human passion and the struggles of the memory of our own, how do we meet the external onslaught when our own struggle is there as well? Looking back at Jesus, what did He meet at the cross?

Past history will be repeated. A determined conflict is to be waged in the Christian world. People who are disloyal to the commandments of the living God will, in their supposed self-importance, be inspired by Satan to war against those who follow the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world. . . . The result will be that people will become inhuman in their actions toward other people. . . . {CTr 271.2}

Stop to meditate on what this means. There will be external storms of people who are inhumane because the passions have been let loose and the internal inability to handle their own storm lashes out at people all around them. You and I are going to meet that. Jesus met it and He is right in the storm with us.

The method of meeting that storm is to be the same method with which Jesus met the storm on the sea. As He was sleeping on the boat with the disciples, He had perfect peace in the midst of the storm.

Proverbs 15:1 A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.

We can create more of a storm if we meet the external storm without focusing on Jesus. Jesus gives us the answer. In our Christian walk He has given us the answer that we do not need to despair as we as struggling because He is right here with us and in His beautiful example He has given us the victory. In the story of the disciples He came into the boat. They let Him in, they no longer feared Him and the sea became smooth. So it is to be for us at the end, because the day will come when God will smooth the sea for us and we will ride above the tumult of the nations. But while we are still in the midst of it and while we have to handle the storms of people around us, the scripture we just read is the only way to meet it, a soft answer turneth away wrath.

While in the world, the Christian will meet with adverse influences. There will be provocations to test the temper; and it is by meeting these in a right spirit that the Christian graces are developed. {5T 344.2}

When Peter sank, He learned. When we sink, the graces will be developed.

If injuries and insults are meekly borne, if insulting words are responded to by gentle answers, and oppressive acts by kindness, this is evidence that the Spirit of Christ dwells in the heart, that sap from the living Vine is flowing to the branches. {5T 344.2}

How are we to meet the storms from the outside? Injuries and insults: People say things to us and we are injured, we feel bad about what people have said. What are we to do? Bear it meekly. If insulting words are responded to by gentle answers, and oppressive acts by kindness, this is evidence that we are in the presence of Jesus.

We are in the school of Christ in this life, where we are to learn to be meek and lowly of heart; and in the day of final accounts we shall see that all the obstacles we meet, all the hardships and annoyances that we are called to bear, are practical lessons in the application of principles of Christian life. If well endured, they develop the Christlike in the character and distinguish the Christian from the worldling. {5T 344.2}

As we are going through these storms of life, what are we to see them as? We are to see them as the school of Christ. Christ is right there, as we are struggling with our passions, with the clamours of our flesh. Christ is there letting it happen. He is not going to intervene, He is watching with compassion. Do you get the picture? He was there with the disciples, but He did not intervene. They were struggling with the boat. When they were in final despair ready to sink. Jesus in compassion came and lifted them back out of it again. This is our experience.

We must remember this story, because we will meet it until we have learnt. We are in the school of Christ in this life, where we are to learn to be meek and lowly of heart; and in the day of final accounts (which is the time of Jacob’s trouble) we shall see that all the obstacles we meet, all the hardships and annoyances that we are called to bear, are practical lessons in the application of principles of Christian life. If well endured, they develop the Christlike in the character and distinguish the Christian from the worldling. In the time of Jacob’s trouble, if we have learnt all the way along heading up to that final storm, in that day of final accounts we will stand and not sink.

May God arouse our memory of this message when the severest storms appear to engulf us.

Posted on October 21, 2014, in Divine Service Sermons and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Reblogged this on alixromanov and commented:
    Thank you for this encouraging post! May God bless & keep you in your ministry.

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