The Storms of Life

Bible Book: Mark  4 : 35-41
Subject: Problems; Troubles
Introduction

When we review the life and ministry of Jesus, we see Him with authority and power over the realm of nature. The miracle we are going to consider today is one of the greatest miracles our Lord performed during His earthly ministry. When Jesus calmed the storm on the sea, He no doubt was teaching some very important lessons to us regarding life itself. Perhaps you are in a storm today. You feel the storm is too great for you. Just as Jesus had the miracle on the sea, He has the power to calm your storm today as well. And believe me, we all must face our storms. Some of us must feel at times like the parakeet I read about a few years ago.

Gary Carr tells the story of Chippie the parakeet. "Chippie never saw it coming. One second he was peacefully perched in his cage, sending a song into the air; the next second he was sucked in, washed up, and blown over.

"His problem began when his owner decided to clean his cage with a vacuum. She had stuck the nozzle in to suck up the seeds and feathers at the bottom of the cage when the nearby telephone rang. Instinctively she turned to pick it up. She had barely said hello when--ssswwwwwpppppp! Chippie got sucked in. She gasped, let the phone drop, and switched off the vacuum. With her heart in her mouth, she unzipped the bag.

"There was Chippie--alive but stunned--covered with heavy gray dust. She grabbed him and rushed to the bathtub, turned on the faucet full blast, and held Chippie under a torrent of ice-cold water, power washing him clean. Then it dawned on her that Chippie was soaking wet and shivering. So she did what any compassionate pet owner would do: she snatched up the hair dryer and blasted him with hot air.

"Did Chippie survive? Yes, but he doesn't sing much anymore. He just sits and stares a lot. It's not hard to see why. Sucked in, washed up, and blown over! It's enough to steal the song from any stout heart."

Christians need to understand that the way we face the storms serves as a testimony of God’s goodness and our faith. Whatever storm we are facing, we must remember God’s Word and act upon the teachings the Lord has given us. For example, the Lord said that we should rejoice when people say all manner of evil against us for His name’s sake. Why? Because it shows our trust of Him, and because it is one of the proofs that we belong to Him. We are told in God’s Word that we are not to think it strange when trials come upon us. In other words, we are to understand that God has not deserted us just because we are going through difficulties of various kinds. God promised us that He would give us peace beyond understanding. Jesus told His disciples not to let the world get them down because He had overcome the world and was leaving them His peace. All these teachings and many others serve to reveal that Christians should face the storms of life with an attitude of faith and trust in God. We see this dramatically presented in our text today.

I want you to look at three distinct points disclosed in our text for today. Each point applies to each of us.

I. The Trip on the Ship

Jesus told the disciples to board a ship and travel to the other side of the sea. This is very interesting. In the Bible and other literature, life is compared to a voyage across a sea. It is called “life’s sea.” We sing, for example, “Jesus, Savior, pilot me, over life’s tempestuous sea.” Paul once wrote saying that we should not make shipwreck of our faith. Even a modern song by a popular country singer stated, “I will sail my boat till the waters all run dry.” The illustration of life as a body of water and our passage through it as sailing the seas of life is a frequent one in literature and song.

Our text tells us that other little ships were with them as they traveled. We all live on this sea of life together. Big ships and little ships sail life’s sea. Life is a shared experience. We are all engaged in the journey of life. One thing stands out in out study regarding the little ships and the other ship in the event before us. Jesus was not on the other ships, but He was on board the ship in question. If Jesus is in your life, this makes all the difference in the world as you sail the troubled seas of life. Jesus comes on board when you accept Him as your Savior and Lord. Note three things about having Jesus on board your ship of life.

A. Your Life has a Captain when Jesus is on board

Jesus gave directions. Jesus took charge. Jesus knows the dangers of the sea and can steer you around them, through them, even over them! Remember when he walked on the water in the midst of the storm? With Jesus in the ship of your life, you have a mighty captain at the wheel.

Once many years ago, a ship was tossed in a storm. A man was frightened, but he saw a young boy who looked so calm. He asked the boy, “Son, how can you be so calm in this awful storm?” The little lad replied, “My dad is the captain, and he has never lost a ship at sea.” O friend, Jesus is our Captain, and He has never lost a ship that was in is charge!

In Acts 2:10 Jesus is called the Captain of Salvation. Indeed, what a mighty Captain He is.

B. Your life has a Course when Jesus is on board

Look at verse 35. Jesus said, “Let us pass over to the other side.” Jesus stepped on board and He began to give orders. He is not just Savior, He is Lord.

Without Jesus, your life is life is like a ship on the sea tossed about without compass or chart. You drift aimlessly without purpose or direction.

A weak minded boy was working in a pet shop making deliveries. He was called upon to deliver a rabbit to a home. The owner of the store wrote the address of the person who had purchased the rabbit and put it in the pocket of the box. The boy got on his bike and rode forth to make the delivery; he hit a bump, the box fell off and the rabbit ran away. The little boy just laughed hilariously. A man who saw the incident asked, “The rabbit is running away, why are you laughing about it?” The boy said, “Look at the crazy rabbit. He doesn’t even know where he is going, I have the address in my pocket.” Life can be like that. Without Christ, we don’t know where we are going.

C. Your Life has a Completion when Jesus is on board

Jesus will bring you to your ultimate destination. In verse 35 Jesus told His disciples that they were going to the other side. Jesus in your life gives you assurance of landing safely on the other side. The Bible says, “I am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day.” When are not kept by our power, we are kept by the power of God.

Look at Noah. He was on the water in the Ark. The ship tossed about wildly on the waters. No doubt Noah fell down in the ship. But he never fell out of the ship. When you are in Christ, we may fall in Him but never out of Him! What a Savior.

We are in Jesus, but He is also in us. Jesus is like a anchor for our soul. Hebrew 6:19-20. Our anchor, Jesus, is already safe in the harbor and holds the anchor of our faith secure!

II. The Travail In The Gale

In verse 37 we see the storm of wind that came up on the sea. This is just like life. Suddenly a storm arise in life, seemingly out of nowhere. The life of a believer often encounters many kinds of storms. We like the south winds of peace and tranquillity, but on every life a little rain must fall, and sometimes a lot of rain must fall.

A. Unexpectedly

This was a sudden storm. Trained sailors would never have gone out sailing if they had known that a storm was rising in the distance. The Sea of Galilee is located in a low place with mountains all around it. The deep ravines within the valleys of the mountains serve as funnels which bring quick, strong storms out upon the sea. The word “storm” in our text speaks of a strong thunder storm and high winds. The winds rose suddenly.

The passing of one day can change all of life. James said, “Boast not thyself about tomorrow, for you know not what a day may bring forth.” One telephone call change our sunny skies into a great storm. One visit to the doctor’s office and we can be in the midst of the winds of major illness. How suddenly the storms of life come as we sail upon life’s sea. Being a Christian does not make you immune to the storms.

What are the cause of the storms. Lets look at three of them.

1. Disobedience

We cause some of them, due to our disobedience - Jonah - he ran from God and caused his own storm.

2. Discipline

Some storms come from God in order to discipline us. When Jesus was praying on the mountain, a storm arose which was to bring the disciples into a closer relationship with the Savior. Look at Psalm 83:15. Sometimes God is in the storm. Little boys boat. Rocks thrown beyond the boat in order to send the boat back to the owner. In one survey, nearly nine out of ten respondents reported that they were able to find a more positive meaning in life through a painful experience (divorce, death of a family member, illness, etc.). (from Critique, Issue #8, 1991)

3. Devil

Some storms come from Satan. Jesus rebuked the storms. The word rebuked is the same word used when Jesus rebuked demons. He said, “Peace, be still.” It was like saying, “Hush.” Without sin, there would be no storms. Satan may be blowing a wind against your life, but with Jesus in control, you have One greater in you that he that is in the world!

B. Strongly

A blacksmith had trusted Christ as his Savior and was working at his anvil when he was confronted by an inquiring unbeliever. "Why is it you have so much trouble?" said the man. "I have watched you since you became a Christian and you have had many problems. I thought when a person gave himself to God his troubles were over." A smile came across the blacksmith's face as he replied, "Do you see this piece of steel? I'm going to use it for the springs of a carriage. But first it needs to be heated. Then I hammer it, bend it, and shape it the way I want it. Sometimes, however, I find that the steel is too brittle to be used, so I have to throw it on the scrap heap. As scrap, the steel is worth just a few pennies, but as a carriage spring, it is very valuable. Ever since I began applying this idea to my life, I have been saying to God, 'Lord, test me in any way You choose, but don't throw me on the scrap heap.'"

Dr. Richard Meier related the following story: "A small boy was playing with his sailboat at the edge of a lake. When the wind pulled the sailboat away from the shoreline and out of his reach, he began to cry as he saw it moving farther and farther away from him.

"An older boy came to the scene and began throwing stones at the boat. The smaller boy cried, 'Why are you throwing stones at my boat?' The older boy said, 'You don't know what I'm doing. I'm throwing stones on the far side of the boat to create some waves to bring the sailboat back to you. Trust me; I know what I'm doing.'

"God knows what He is doing when He throws the stones in our lives. They are meant to draw us closer to Him, not to drive us from Him. He is not cruel." [Today's Better Life, Fall/Winter 1991. Page 75.]

This ship was going down. These disciples who were well trained in sailing were afraid. When trained sailors are afraid, you know you have a severe storm. There are storms that comes which are so strong that the strongest Christian will wonder if Christ really cares!

I heard about a farm wife who attended a tea party given by the ladies ministry of her church. At this tea, the hostess served mushrooms. The woman thought the mushrooms were such an elegant touch that she decided to purchase some to serve when it was her turn to host the ladies. However, the mushrooms in the grocery store were too expensive. Then she remembered that there were wild mushrooms growing in one of their fallow fields. When she asked her husband if they were safe to eat, he suggested she try them out on their old useless hound dog, Blue. Blue didn't seem to be sick so she served them to the ladies. Just as the last of the mushrooms were consumed, her young 6-year-old son raced in the room to announce, "Mom, Ol' Blue just died." Panicked, the woman called an ambulance and all her guests were raced to the hospital to have their stomachs pumped. As the last ambulance pulled away from their house, the little boy said, "Mom, the truck that ran over Ol' Blue never even slowed down!"

1. Storm of Suffering

2. Storm of Sorrow

3. Storm of Separation

4. Storm of sin “I was sinking deep in sin … Christ lifted me”

III. The Friend In The Wind

When the storms come up on the sea of life, it is time for the One who tames the wind to appear. Look at Psalm 89:9; 107:29. Jesus has control over the storm. At first this was not apparent. They looked for Jesus, He was asleep on the pillow. In His humanity He is sleeping. In His divinity, He stills the storm. The disciples see Him sleeping and they actually rebuke the Lord. “Lord, don’t you care that we are going down in the storm?” Have you ever done that with the Lord? All of us have at one time or another. We must remember that our Lord has our best interest at heart. He cares for us. Peter wrote, “Casting all your care upon Him for He cares for you.”

Jesus was their Friend in the wind, but they did not know it. It is possible to be in such a storm in our life that you are not aware of how close Christ is! We must always keep the faith. We must not let circumstances control our attitude. Jesus rose and asked why they had given room to fear rather than to faith! There is no room in your heart for fear and faith. You must have one or the other filling your hearts.

What is faith? Faith is taking God at His word. Jesus had already told them that they were going to pass over to the other side. They could not drown when He had given His word. But they looked at the winds and waves rather than believing what the Lord had said to them. He had given His Word. Take God at His Word!!!

What Jesus did was sufficient! In verse 37 it says that the storm arose. In verse 39, it says that Jesus arose! Praise God, when the storm arises, Jesus will arise! When you come into the storm, remember that Jesus is on your ship. Had frightening to be in the storm when you have no Friend in the Wind! Safety in the storm is not absence of the storm, but the presence of Jesus. Nothing goes down when Jesus is on board. Not only was Jesus Present in the Storm, He was Powerful over the Storm. If Jesus does deliver you out of the storm, He will deliver you through the storm. If He does not make it calm around you, He will make it calm within you! Whichever He does, He never fails those who have taken Him onboard!

The disciples declare, “What manner of man is this, that the winds and waves obey His voice?” Take Jesus onboard your vessel today. Sail the seas of life to the other side, land safely on the other side!

Patrick Kelly was a poet with rare insight that reached far beyond his 15 years. You've probably never heard of him and the poem you are about to hear is probably the only one he ever wrote... but when he wrote this one, he wrote with the soul of a young man who was troubled like so many other teens. He was searching but no one was there to help him with a word of hope. in millions of others.

 

The sky is blue and way too high

I wish I could get beyond the sky

There's things up there better than dope

Is there some chance, is there some hope?

Stoned crazy, I'm out of my mind

I know there's something I cannot find

A home and love, is that what I've lost?

I've got to get there, whatever the cost

Is there a ticket I need to buy

To get off this earth and into the sky?

I hear there's a god in that ocean of blue

And he's calling and crying for me and you.

Is there a ticket I need to buy

To get off this earth and into the sky?

Pat Kelly wrote this masterpiece, carefully pinned it to his shirt, walked to a tree 40 feet from his house, and hung himself. If we fail to accept Christ, and problems come, we will be prone to think that life has no meaning. Trusting Jesus helps us to know that there is a better day coming. We can keep looking up.

Always remember that people you meet are going through storms as well. When I read Pat Kelly's poem, I wondered if anyone had ever introduced him to Christ. We need to reveal our faith so others can come to know our Lord and Savior in a personal, life-changing way.