“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
We had just purchased a 19-foot Stingray with a 160-horsepower motor. My brother was coming for a visit and I couldn’t wait to take him for a boat ride. Common sense said not to go out with the type of storm warnings that were being given. But pride of ownership overrode common sense.
What a storm! I didn’t realize how quickly the James River could become a rage with waves. We were almost a mile from the dock and water was coming over the bow no matter how carefully I steered.
Two men were extremely thankful when we docked. To this day I don’t think we have told our wives the really true story of that boat ride.
There are storms that challenge us and there are storms that can defeat us. The difference is often determined by our relationship with the Lord. When stormy seasons come, the one thing we all long for is connection and peace. We need to know that we are not alone, and we need to find some peace amid our trials to rest in while we wait for the circumstances to blow over. Circumstances are going to crowd us at times. People are going to make things worse sometimes. Life is going to ask more of us than we have to give. But with God in your corner you are indestructible!
This was a difficult lesson for the disciples of Jesus to learn. The Sea of Galilee is only about 10 miles wide with beautiful mountains on either side. But those beautiful mountains can funnel some strong winds across the water.
In Matthew 14 the disciples are trying to cross the sea. It’s a storm. They are bending their backs rowing with all of their might. But progress is seemingly impossible due to the strong waves and they are getting tired. The storm has obscured the shore line. They fear their boat is about to swamp and they will drown. It is in that circumstance that Jesus comes and teaches these men some great principles.
Jesus knew there was going to be a storm when He sent them across the sea. And they were in that storm not because they had disobeyed Him but because they obeyed Him. Jesus wanted them to know that there is no place you can hide that He cannot find you. Mark 6:48 says that He saw them.
He knew where they were and what was happening. Friend, you can never hide from God. There is no place where you can go that He cannot see you.
And when Jesus came to them He taught them another great principle: With God timing is more important than time. He didn’t come when the storm first started. God does not move as quickly as we think He should. He moves exactly on time. He’s never ahead of time. He’s never late.
When Lazarus was sick and died Jesus did not come immediately. If you read John 11 you will find that He deliberately delayed. Why? Because He had something even greater in mind than healing one that is ill. He had in mind a resurrection.
If you are in a storm today just remember: He will come. You may be in a hurry but He is not. His timing is more important than time.
Another lesson we learn from the disciples’ adventure on the sea is that the will of God will never take you where the grace of God cannot keep you. He came. He met their need. And the storm that they thought would end their lives was actually that which brought Jesus to them.
The very heartache that you go through, the very trouble that you fear, the very storm that seems to engulf you, is going to be the means of bringing Jesus to you in a very special way. The Lord is close to those with a broken heart. He is the “I AM” in the midst of a storm. And that storm will bring you to Him and the will of God will never take you where the grace of God cannot keep you. He is the “I AM” in the midst of your storm.
How are you weathering the storms in your life? Are you trusting the One who can calm that storm and bring you through? What He said to Israel applies to us also: “I will never leave you or forsake you.”
Emmett Murphy is a retired Christian minister.