"Faith Through Storms"Matthew 14:22
22 Immediately He made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side…
Matthew chapter 14 contains one of the most memorable and well-known stories in all of the New Testament. Peter would do what no mere man had ever done before; walk on water! Can you imagine the level of faith it would take to follow Jesus out of the boat and step onto the raging, tumultuous sea? However, this story of faith began with another equally important lesson in faith. Before Jesus joined the disciples on the stormy sea, He first sent them out into it! Now, it is possible that the weather was calm and the seas were flat at the beginning of their voyage, but it is also more likely that there were signs of rough seas as they began. Many of these disciples were fishermen, they spent a lot of time on the water and they knew the telltale signs of ill weather to come. However, in spite of the threat of a storm, they obeyed their Lord and sailed into the blackness of the night. Jesus said to them, “go” and they obeyed. Matthew 14:22 says that Jesus “made” them get into the boat. There were most likely protests among the disciples, urging Jesus to come with or, urging Jesus to reconsider due to the threat of ill weather. But nonetheless, Jesus insisted that they go on ahead of Him while He prayed, and to the disciples credit, they obeyed. Oh, what sobering and yet wonderful lessons there are for us in this simple story of faith! While it is true that many storms in life arise from our own sin and foolishness, have you considered that there are also storms in life that the Lord knowingly sends us and leads us into? Like Daniel was sent into the lion’s den, so, often times we are sent into troubled waters and it is exactly where the Lord wants us to be. Does that truth shake your faith today? That the Lord would not just allow a storm in your life, but He would actually send you into one? Do you often protest when the Lord places you in the midst of a storm? Think of Psalm 23 for a moment, the great Psalm about our heavenly Shepherd. What does it tell us? “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death”! It was the Shepherd who led His flock to that place! But there is also a very comforting truth contained in the same Psalm; it is also the Shepherd that guides us through those dark places! I know that many of us have been through some storms this past year in particular. And it is very important to remember this; that even when we are truly following the Lord, we often find ourselves in the most troubling of storms. Think of this; the disciples were exactly where Christ had sent them, and yet they were met with an unnerving situation. They weren’t running from the Lord as Jonah was and then the Lord had to send a storm because of his disobedience. No, they were going exactly where they were told to go. It is no new thing for Christ’s disciples to meet with storms in the way of their faithful duty, and to be sent to sea even when their Master foresees a storm! My prayer is that we do not become discouraged during those storms in our lives that seem to arise even when we are faithfully and dutifully obeying the Lord. Difficulty in life is never a time to lose heart and fall back, but rather to exercise faith and press on! Notice that this is exactly what the disciples did! The scriptures do not say that they were discouraged because of the storm and so they turned back, no, they were tossed here and there by the waves and yet they continued to go on. Were they fearful? Yes. Where they a little confused? Absolutely! But they never abandoned ship. By faithful obedience to Christ and through faith in Him, they followed His commands and continued on. Ever pressing forward in the midst of trying circumstances. The disciples knew they were exactly where the Lord wanted them and so they were confident in that path. As hard as it was, as discouraging as it was in the moment, they knew their faith was well placed. They made their way forward the best they could. Brothers and sisters, though troubles and difficulties may disturb us in our duty, they must not drive us from them! As waves crash and winds swirl in our lives, as Christians we must learn to press into Christ, not flee His care. If you think following Christ through the storm is hard, just wait until you follow your own path through the storm! That is folly. This Christian life is not easy, but then again, it was never promised to be. In this world we will have troubles, but Jesus has overcome them all! How are you fairing during the storms in life? Do you keep your faith in the Lord and remain faithful? Or do you turn your focus to the storm and begin to sink? The disciples kept the course. They had a task and they were going to see it through. It was in this condition of faith in the midst of the storm that Jesus approached them and at their moment of greatest need brought the rescue and help to their seemingly dire situation. Let us always press forward until our Help arrives. He is never late, and we are never far from His care and watchful eye.
Yours in Christ,