(Yesterday 8/29/16, I traveled to Cary, NC to speak at the funeral of one of my dearest friends, Greg Hatcher. Greg lived with and fought ALS and God called him home last Friday. I was honored to share with his friends and family a part of this devotion for today. I pray it brings hope and comfort to you regardless of what storm you may be going through.)
“But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary.” (Matthew 14:24)
I hope you will go back and read the entire account that is recorded in Matthew 14:22-33. The disciples have just witnessed the feeding of the 5,000. In actuality, there probably were more like 8-9,000 since the 5,000 only represented the number of men present. The Bible says, “So they all ate and were filled, and they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments that remained.” (Matt. 14:20)
Jesus put the disciples on a boat and sent them to the other side of the lake while He went to pray — alone. While He was praying and the disciples were sailing…a storm came up. The disciples were afraid and even when Jesus came to them on the water, they thought He was a ghost. Jesus calmed the storm and the disciples worshiped Him and said, “Truly, You are the Son of God.” (Matt. 14:33) I wonder if there was a bit of surprise in their tone as they witnessed yet another miracle performed by Jesus.
Winds and waves and storms are not new to followers of Jesus Christ. Right now, you are in one of three places in life. You are IN a storm, just coming OUT of a storm, or fixing to GO INTO a storm. That’s life. Because of the sin of man, we will constantly face storms and challenges throughout our lives. We can’t control the storms that come, but we can control our response to those storms.
Maybe your storm today is a family problem or a financial problem. Perhaps you have a wayward child or you are dealing with some terrible illness or disease. Maybe you have a problem in your job or at school. Storms are not new and there are a couple of lessons we need to learn so we will be better prepared to handle the storms that come our way.
You remember Job? Within a period of 24 hours, Job lost everything he had including 10 children. No other human being has suffered as greatly as did Job. And yet, in the midst of that terrible storm, Job said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” (Job 1:21)
The basic question in the book of Job is NOT “why do the righteous suffer?” The more I study Job and the more I endure the storms of life, the more I believe that the key question is this… “Is my God IN HIMSELF worth suffering for or am I obeying Him only because of what He will do for me?”
As I think about the storms of life that we all endure, there are two things I want you to remember…
The storm is NOT your story. Your storm — regardless of what it is — does not define who you are IN CHRIST. The storm is simply the setting for your story. The disciples were so focused on the storm, they almost missed the miracle! Don’t get so focused on your circumstances and the happenings of your life that you miss what God is trying to do in and through you. Too many of us spend far too much time whining and complaining about the storm rather than looking to Jesus to see how He will use our storm to bring glory to Himself.
Here’s the second and even more important thing to remember…
When the storm is your SETTING…you can trust that Jesus is setting you up for something that will glorify Him and be for your good. The storm you are currently in is just a setting for God to show up and show off in your life. Once Jesus got on the boat with the disciples and the storm quieted, the disciples realized that Jesus and His purpose was more important than their storm. They therefore WORSHIPED Him. Jesus is the Lord of your storm.
When we realize that the storm is not our story, but it is simply a setting for God to use to write our story, we begin to grow in our faith and trust. If I can be content in the midst of my storm — I can be content ALL THE TIME!
My storms have taught me a very valuable lesson about my Christian life. Since my storm is not my story…it is only the setting God uses to write my story…I am to be a living illustration in my life of the faithfulness of Jesus Christ to everyone who takes Him at His Word.
What’s your storm today? Don’t focus on it. Focus on how God is going to use it to glorify Himself and make you more conformed to the image of His Son. You are a living illustration of the faithfulness of Jesus Christ. You are a witness to the fact that when you take God at His Word…He writes a story that is miraculous and glorifying to Him.
Have a great day.