The Wind and Waves Get us to Where we Need to be

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I am writing today from the beautiful but sometimes stormy Tampa Bay area.

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?” Mark 4:38-40 NLT

 

Besides Jesus and Jonah, I don’t know of too many people who take naps on boats during chaotic storms. I think I would be freaking out like the disciples. 18 year old Ellen Harmon found herself in the middle of storm on a steamboat in the north Atlantic. The boat rocked and tossed one lady out of her bed. Another lady screamed in terror, before asking Ellen if she was not terrified as well.

I told her I had made Christ my refuge, and if my work was done, I might as well lie in the bottom of the ocean as in any other place; but if my work was not done, all the waters of the ocean could not drown me. My trust was in God, that he would bring us safe to land if it was for his glory. –Ellen White, Testimonies for the Church,  Volume 1, Page 81.

Young Ellen could have been terrified like the disciples were during their storm, but instead she rested her faith in the love of Jesus. She was not afraid. She had faith that God would be what was best.

One day, while helping out at the church school where I give Bible studies, I was sharing the story of Jesus calming the storm. When I got to the end of the story where the water was all calm and peaceful, a third-grade boy raised his hand and asked, “How is the boat going to get anywhere now?” He was pointing out the obvious, that wind and waves are what carry a sail boat. Without any wind you can’t get anywhere! (We’re talking about boats in Jesus’ day.)

It was persecution that got the church to move and spread out, sharing the gospel around the world. Many people have been “forced” to pursue their dream careers after losing their mundane but “secure” jobs. Once, while riding my bicycle, I got caught in a torrential downpour. I put my cell phone in my pocket, but that was not enough. When I took it to the repair shop, because it quit working, water gushed out when they opened it up. However, they told me I was eligible for a free upgrade. I walked out of the store with a much nicer and newer phone, with nothing out of my pocket, thanks to the storm. A very simple illustration of how a storm got me to a better place, as I don’t have space to tell of bigger blessings from even greater storms.

At the end of the storm Jesus asked the disciples why they were afraid and had no faith. I always assumed He meant why they had no faith He could calm the storm, but fact is, that is exactly what they were asking Him to do. Maybe He was asking them why they needed Him to calm the storm? While some storms are scarier than others is it possible they all get us to where we need to be? Will we really get anywhere in life if Jesus calms every storm that comes our way? Are there times we should let the storm rage, and do like 18 year old Ellen, and rest our faith in Jesus, just like Jesus was resting in His Father’s love during His storm? (Don’t ask me why Jonah was resting during his storm-I have no idea!)  Sometimes it takes more faith to not ask for a miracle. With God’s love we can face the roughest storms and not be afraid. That’s what 18 year old Ellen Harmon did. I firmly believe, if Ellen Harmon had been in the boat during the storm with Jesus and the disciples, she would have been resting with Jesus, unafraid and full of faith in God’s love amidst the tremendous waves, instead of freaking out with the disciples.

Sometimes He calms the storm. Sometimes He calms His child.

You may study this week’s SS lesson here.

Luke 8; Asking With Faith

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Luke 8:22 Now it came to pass on a certain day, that he went into a ship with his disciples: and he said unto them, Let us go over unto the other side of the lake. And they launched forth. 

 8:23       But as they sailed he fell asleep: and there came down a storm of wind on the lake; and they were filled [with water], and were in jeopardy. 

 8:24       And they came to him, and awoke him, saying, Master, master, we perish. Then he arose, and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water: and they ceased, and there was a calm. 

 8:25       And he said unto them, Where is your faith? And they being afraid wondered, saying one to another, What manner of man is this! for he commandeth even the winds and water, and they obey him. 

First of all I notice in this story that Jesus rebukes them while they came and ask him to do something about the storm. What more could they do? How was that a lack of faith? Aren’t we to come to Jesus with our problems? Is that not a sign of faith? Yes, the Bible says we are to come to Jesus with our problems, but it also tells us how, “But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.” James 1:6 Funny James even references waves tossed with the winds. Maybe the disciples should have said, “Lord help us overcome this storm” instead of implying that they were going to perish. We must have faith and remember too, in times of storms, that sometimes Jesus calms the storm, and sometimes He calms His child, and lets the storm rage on. Peace does not mean there is no storm. Peace just means you are with Jesus in the storm.

Of course when Jesus calmed the storm, it did not just settle down for the little boat the disciples were on. The waters were calmed for everyone on the waters, believer and unbeliever alike. This is how it is, the blessings we ask and receive from God are to flow over and bless the rest of the world. We should ask nothing for ourselves, but for the whole world. Jesus never prayed “Give me my daily bread”, but rather, “Give us our daily bread.” In Daniel 2, Daniel asks God to tell him what the king dreamed so that he and the other non-believing wise men would be saved. As soon as God revealed the dream to Daniel, the first thing Daniel says to the King’s men was “Destroy not the wise men of Babylon.” So by Daniel’s prayer being answered the wise men of Babylon were saved as well. The world will never know or appreciate how many of its blessings it owes to the prayers of the believer.