“Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” Matthew 14:22-33 NIV
Storms sometimes have a way of sneaking up on us. We believe we know all the signs that indicate their arrival, but there are those storms that come and do not follow the projected pattern and leave us surprised by their impact. They bring a rapid adjustment to our lives. As we all know, we are presently facing one of those storms. These moments serve as a reminder that nothing is permanent except what we build in Christ. Uncertainties can come at any moment and out of nowhere and we really need to know in those moments what is certain in our lives. Or rather Who is certain.
In Matthew, the disciples faced the arrival of a storm that battered and beat their vehicle of passage in the darkness that surrounded them. They feared for their lives, they felt the cold, dark, terror of those waves as they beat the side of their boat and began to pour into the vessel. They faced the uncertainty of not knowing how they were going to get to the other side of this beating. Just as they were ready to surrender to the storm, Jesus, the only certain in the storm walked up to them in their place of what felt like utter abandonment. He was there. He was never absent, but rather what took them by surprise, He was walking on.
What a reminder to our hearts that what surprises us, God is walking on or He is over. It does not command Him, but rather, He commands it. The storm may shake us, but it submits to Him. He is present. He walks on the thing that brings fear and terror to our hearts. Imagine that!! In this global storm, Christ walks in the midst. That should bring incredible comfort to our hearts.
What shakes us, and what shook the boat the disciples were tossed in, never once overcame the One who walked on it.
Jesus is not shaken by the storm. He is moved with compassion within the storm, but not shaken by it. He has power over it. There is no need to be afraid of what you have power over. This is the incredible God we know. He is powerful in the present storm as well. While there is deep loss and sadness happening all around the world, there are also incredible stories of God’s power being revealed and His compassion being released through His body. The questions is, do we see the storm or do we see Who is powerfully compassionate in it?
Jesus does not leave us to walk this alone, He enters the boat with His disciples, and He has entered this journey with us. He enters the battered, fear filled boat and brings peace to the storm. I believe He is desiring to do the same in this day we face. He wants us to believe Him, to trust Him, to walk to Him, and let Him join us in seeing peace come to the storm.
I do not know what this pandemic will do. I do not know how long this storm will rage across our world, but I do know that Jesus Walks in the midst, He invites us to join Him and gain a different perspective by stepping out of our “failing safety net” to a place of trust in Him of the unknown. I do know that as we do, He will walk with us full of compassion to bring peace to the battering around us and to minister calm to storm.
I get to choose, be overcome or to overcome. I think I will stick with Jesus and let him bring His very presence into that which is bigger than us but still submitted to Him. Let’s join Him and see what surprises He may bring about in our part of this globe.
Sue Holmes says:April 4, 2020 at 5:54 pm
PRESENT IN THE STORM!!!
What an appropriate title for this passage.
The prophet Isaiah knew it.
“When you pass through the deep, stormy sea, you can count on me to be there with you. When you pass through raging rivers, you will not drown. When you walk through persecution like fiery flames, you will not be burned; the flames will not harm you,” — Isaiah 43:1-2 (TPT)
The Psalmist certainly knew it.
O God, when You went forth before Your people, When You marched through the wilderness, Selah. The earth quaked; the heavens also dropped rain at the presence of God; Sinai itself quaked at the presence of God, the God of Israel. You shed abroad a plentiful rain, O God; You confirmed Your inheritance when it was parched.
— Psalm 68: 7-9
Nahum knew it.
The Lord is slow to anger but great in power; the Lord will not leave the guilty unpunished. His way is in the whirlwind and the storm, and clouds are the dust of his feet. — Nahum 1:3
The Disciples being tossed on the sea were about to find out.
Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. – Matthew 14:22 – 23
And we should know it.
Truly, when we are honest with our reality He has proven Himself over & over. We can count on Him to be there in our storms just as He promised in the book of Isaiah. We can count on Him to be here in this storm. His faithfulness has been evidenced so much in this life. It is easy to set back during the beautiful sunsets, amazing summer skies, shimmering Northern lights, etc. and marvel that the heavens declare His handiwork. So why is it more difficult to do the same when the clouds are black & the wind is raging?
He has promised, through the Apostle Paul, that He will never leave us or forsake us. He reminded the prophet Isaiah that we can count on Him to be there in our storms. This passage is a solid reminder that when it seems that the waves are getting too high & too strong for me, I just need to “turn my eyes upon Jesus”. He will come strolling by during my storm with an outstretched hand to say, ‘let’s go for a walk & reason this out together’.
I love that not only is Jesus present in my storms but also “Jesus is not shaken by the storm.”
Zephaniah 3:17 says, “The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.”
Why isn’t He shaken? Because He is the storm.
It is reassuring that our God is not surprised by anything that happens in 1020, 2020 or even 3020.
He not only at times creates the storms,
Then He utters His voice, there is a tumult of waters in the heavens, And He causes the clouds to ascend from the end of the earth; He makes lightning for the rain, And brings out the wind from His storehouses. — (Jeremiah 10:13)
He purposes them
I know that the Lord is great, that our Lord is greater than all gods. The Lord does whatever pleases him, in the heavens and on the earth, in the seas and all their depths. He makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth; He sends lightning with the rain and brings out the wind from his storehouses. –(Psalm 135: 5 – 7)
and He calms our storms.
He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed. — (Psalm 107:29)
Who is like you, Lord God Almighty? You, Lord, are mighty, and your faithfulness surrounds you. You rule over the surging sea; when its waves mount up, you still them. – (Psalm 89: 8-9)
Finally, it is reassuring to note that the only thing that will conquer the fear that storms can produce in us is the acknowledging of His presence. Faith defeats fear every time.
The most amazing & power-packed words in this passage are “Take heart, it is I; have no fear.” Acknowledging God’s presence in our storms overcomes our fear.
But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. — James 1:6 ESV
Realizing God’s presence in our storms can cause us to call out along with King David –
Praise the lord from the earth, you great sea creatures and all ocean depths, lightning and hail, snow and clouds, stormy winds that do his bidding,
(Psalm 148: 7-8)
J.Holmes says:April 4, 2020 at 6:31 pm
“Terror in our storm”
Storms come and storms go…and they can be catastrophic for one who has not heard the alarm, who has not taken shelter….who is unprepared.
There are many kinds of storms in life…some are small like a plate of cookies falling to the floor breaking both plate and cookies, or greater like a close friend dying or global storms like that of a pandemic with all its side effects. It is in the midst of our storm that we are shattered or find an unwavering peace that comes from within. There is a Rock upon which we can take refuge…a Rock that cannot be moved by the pounding of waves and surf that surround us…a Rock that is higher (Ps61:2,3).
Perhaps you are distressed with your situation. Be reminded that God reigns over all His creation and that there is nobody that can address your storm better than the One who has created you, and able to carry you through it.
Every storm takes upon it a character of its own. It can be frightening, and yet….there is an even greater fury that exists that the storm we are going through has no match for. Consider with me the fury of God. It is a comfort to know that His power is unmatched. That His reign has no end…that at the name of Jesus, the very Son of the Living God…every knee will bow and tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. His name is above every name. (Eph.1:21) Do we know Him…Almighty God in the storm?
In Ezekiel , we read the prophesy that after the restoration of Israel, having returned to their land, and having prospered…there is a sudden terrible invasion against the land of Israel…a storm of peoples (Gog and allies) “like a cloud, to cover the land…:” of Israel. (Ezek. 38:16) And God who sees the beginning from the end, is seen and feared far greater than this storm…with God saying “My fury will show in My face.” (Ezek..38:18-23). God shows Himself as all powerful and in the terror of His presence and anger, the Overcomer in any situation. He wants the nations to know Him…that there is judgement coming….that we turn from iniquity, to turn away from sin,… to know Him. In Him is Life. He has a plan for us.
In Ezekiel we see the terror of nations coming against the land of Israel…but far greater is the terror of the Lord that comes against Israel’s enemies. God repeatedly declares that the nations shall know that ‘He is’ the Lord, the Holy One in Israel.”
The scriptures say that “friendship with the world is enmity with God. Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” (James 4:4) Moreover, if you have received Christ, that He came and took your penalty of sin which is death (on the cross), so too you have been raised with Him…are born again….and you are “not of this world.” (John 17:14-16) You are not an enemy, but a son, a daughter of God…a brother, a sister in Christ. (Mark 3:35) You belong to “Jesus” and He is your Savior, the Rock of your salvation. You are a part of the family of God.
When it comes down to it….we fear the storm because we don’t fear God….or our eyes are upon the storm and not upon God. Peter got His eyes off Jesus…and He became afraid. Who could calm the seas, but God. (Matt.8:27)
The scripture says it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. We are to work out our salvation with fear and trembling. (a good fear, that draws us to God).( Ps19:23) But what about the terror of the Lord? Do we fear the storm because we don’t fear God. The scripture calls fear of the Lord the beginning of wisdom.( Ps111:10) The fear of God draws us to Him…Moses drew near, while the Israelites drew back. Fear creates an urgency to do something, and we can become weak in its presence….taking us to our knees before the Creator of the universe. Fear can bring us to repentance, to cause us to go in God’s direction and not our own. Fear can take us into hiding….away from God, or to find that our life hid in Christ, in God. Fear can enable us to cry out to God, to find us in the loving arms of a merciful God…One who is watching over us…caring for us.
In Psalms we read that only God can calm the sea. (Ps107:29,30) In the story of Jesus asleep in the boat…a storm arises….and the disciples were afraid…but , when Jesus calmed the waves of the storm, they recognized Jesus as God, and they were even more afraid…(Mark 4:41)
Being afraid can bring us to repentance and obedience, to submission, to worship. It brings us to the Prince of Peace in our desperate search for stability (found on the Rock, which is Jesus) , mercy, God’s love, and a peace beyond our understanding. It is a peace that breaks down the wall of separation between you and God. To know Him is Eternal Life.
Even so, there is a Rock and a kingdom, a refuge …but if we pass up this place of safety….we could be crushed by this very same Rock.(Matt.21:44)
Tracy says:April 8, 2020 at 9:38 pm
I remember reading years ago, some characteristics of eagles. One is that, rather than flee a storm as most other birds do, an eagle will fly directly into the storm. They will use the wind and the pressure of the air to lift them higher and higher, without having to expend their energy.
God is in the midst of every storm that comes our way. He is in total control. So if, like the eagle, rather than try to flee the storm, I face it full on, I know that God will be there to lift me up. Rather than battle it, I can just let go, and let Him carry me safely through, and to heights I could never imagine.
I want to be like that eagle!