Our Hope and Anchor in Storms of Life
Immediately He made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while He sent the multitude away. And when He had sent them away, He departed to the mountain to pray. Now when evening came, the boat was in the middle of the sea; and He was alone on the land. Then He saw them straining at rowing, for the wind was against them. Now about the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea, and would have passed them by. And when they saw Him walking on the sea, they supposed it was a ghost, and cried out; for they all saw Him and were troubled. But immediately He talked with them and said to them, "Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid." Mark 6:45-50NKJ
The Christian life is NOT for the faint of heart. It is a life of unparalleled joy and blessedness, and it is also a life of trials and discipline. These trials, in Scripture, are often compared to storms; the storms of life. We are not all called to the same trials, nor are we all called to the same task. But we will all at some point face the storms of this life. And whatever storm you find yourself facing, you need to take heart and remember the Lord of the Storm is with you. As you face these storms, for they most certainly will come, remember God's promises to you His children.
1. Notice it is the Lord Jesus who literally "forced" His disciples to get into the boat and head to the other side. It was night time; not a great time for sailing. Yet the Lord Jesus knew that for their protection (remember Jn.6/Messianic fever is rampant) and their good they must get into the boat at that moment. He did not allow them to be tempted beyond what they are able (I Cor.10:13) and He knew they needed to face this storm. Never believe that because you face a trial or storm that it happened by mere chance. God ordained the storm. God sends His children into the storm for His glory and our good (Rom.8:28).
2. While the disciples are laboring, toiling, and being tormented by this storm, Jesus is praying. What better place for our Lord and Savior to be than at the throne of grace interceding on our behalf? The writer of Hebrews reminds us, "He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them (Heb 7:25). And not only should this encourage us, but it should also remind us of the necessity of prayer. If the God-man made it a priority to pray, how much more so do you and I need to be about the business of prayer? God opposes the proud, but gives grace to and exalts the humble.
3. Be of Good Cheer. Christians should never lose their joy. Whether you are on top of the mountain experiencing the beauty and glory of God, or walking through the valley of the shadow of death, Christians should never lose their joy. This does not mean we don't feel pain, sorrow, and the like. The disciples really were in the midst of a terrifying storm. Campbell Morgan suggests we should translate it 'they were tormented' in rowing. The wind, waves, and sea really were tormenting them. And yet, at the darkest hour, during the fiercest waves, enduring the strongest winds, that is when the voice of Jesus called them. His words bring life and healing. His voice not only calms the tempest and raging sea but that voice also calms the faltering faith and soothes the tormented soul.
4. Remember WHO is with you in the storms. You will make it through the storm because I AM is with you. When He said 'ego eimi' (I AM) in Exodus 3:14, He Himself would go and deliver Israel. When he said "I AM he" in Jn.18:6, His very words struck men down to the ground. But beloved, when He comes to you and me and says 'I AM is here', we should be built up and comforted. Though darkness surround us and the tempest toss us to and fro, the presence of Christ casts out all our fears. When you are in the storms of life, remember the promises of God: "neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord". (Rom 8:38-39)