The Season of Storms Phil Brown
A storm is a 'violent disturbance of the atmosphere'. They are uncomfortable, they are unsettling and they are unwelcome! We all go through storms, therefore it's important for us to know how to react – we need to draw close to Jesus.
There are a large range of storms. Some can come out of nowhere, unexpected and unplanned. They can completely blindside us. Other times storms can brew over time, and in the best case scenario, we can only prepare for these. Some storms seem to last for months or years, others can feel more like a flash flood and be over quickly.
God uses storms in our lives to give direction, clarity and build our reliance, faith and trust in Him. Matt Chandler (Pastor at The Village Church, Texas) said, “The greater your knowledge of the goodness and grace of God on your life, the more likely you are to praise Him in the storm."
Mark 4: 35-41
There are 4 truths from this story to encourage us in the midst of a storm:
1. Jesus is with us
When the storm came there was widespread panic. In the midst of the storm we can feel that we are going it alone, whether as a family unit, or as an individual. We can feel that no-one around us understands what we are going, though which in some instances could be correct. However, Jesus was IN THE BOAT! Jesus is with us in all circumstances and situations and we can come to him in any storm. What a comfort!
2. God is our refuge
The disciples in the boat with Jesus were seasoned fishermen, who would have previously experience and would have been prepared for the unexpected. Yet in this storm, they feared for their lives! The type of boat that the disciples and Jesus were in offered no protection. The passage says that “their boat was already filling”. They had no refuge on the boat. However, they had Jesus – He is our ultimate refuge! Psalm 91:1-4.
3. God is trustworthy
It can be comfortable and generally easier to stick to the familiar – things we know we can do in our own strength. The bible doesn’t promise that following God will be easy. Following God can be scary. In the midst of the storm, it is easy to go into “fight or flight” mode. We can try and do things in our own strength. Try to weather the storm by trying to affect change by ourselves. Or we can completely shut off. Our trust must remain in Jesus.
The disciples did not trust in Jesus, despite Jesus proving himself to be worthy of their trust. It is helpful for us to look back on times when Jesus has been faithful to us through storms, remind ourselves of his specific goodness in our lives. He is trustworthy and faithful to the end.
4. God is all powerful & all faithful
Jesus woke, unflustered and unsurprised. His first response was to command the wind. The disciples were terrified of what Jesus had done, saying, “Even the winds and waves obey him”. God created the heavens and the earth, the waters and the skies, every living creature and plant. He has authority over all things!
God can speak into any situation. Any trial. Any storm. He knows what we need before we even know what we need. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'"
To weather the storm we need to have a solid foundation in Jesus. Matthew 7: 24-25 tells us of the man who built his house upon the rock – it did not fall because it had its foundation on the rock. How do we build our foundation on the rock, on Jesus?
God’s words is full of hope and truth. If scripture is ingrained in us it makes it easier to rejoice through the storms, recognise His truths and lean on them.
Jesus encourages to pray! He is always present and always listening. He is our ever present help in times of need. He knows our hearts and knows our struggles. He bring comfort, peace and there is power when we pray! They don’t have to be long & elaborate prayers.
We are called to be part of a community – the church. We are called to be representative of the church in Acts 2, who gave and received as there was need. Pray together, and share life together – the good and the bad.
4. Put your hope in Jesus
He is our rock, our anchor and our saviour. In all things I look to Him. Our lives are changed by knowing Him.
Paul gave us great encouragement in 2 Corinthians 4: 16-18:
"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
We need this daily renewing, this eternal perspective. In the midst of the storm, we need to turn to Jesus. He is all powerful, all knowing. His is our rock in the storm.
Can you think of any examples of God showing faithfulness during a storm? If you feel comfortable, please share to encourage the group.
Do you find it easy to trust in God during storms? Is your inclination to turn to Him or try and work things through in your own strength?
It is important to have a loving community around us when we suffer storms. Do you find it easy to share with those around you in the midst of a storm?
Do you feel that you have been given direction by going through storms? Has God brought you out stronger and more reliant upon Him on the other side of the storm?
What storms are you currently going through? Can we pray for you?