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Have you ever been so scared that you weren’t sure what action to take next? How do you handle the storms of life? This was the situation which a little boy found himself. He had diligently rehearsed for his role in the Easter play. His one line was, “It is I, be not afraid.” He kept saying it over and over again to himself. “It is I, be not afraid.”
On the day of the program he was a nervous wreck. His stomach churned as his teacher reviewed the line with him one more time backstage. Finally he stepped in front of the glaring spotlights and peered out at the silhouettes of dozens of faces. He panicked and his mind went blank. Finally he blurted out, “It’s me, and I’m scared to death.”
How do you get out of a storm? If I had been one of the disciples, I think I would have pondered several solutions:
Row Your Way Out
Far too often, when we get into the storms of life, we expend all sorts of energy and effort to physically man-handle the situation. In other words, we use our own human effort to move us beyond the storm’s reach. But, when it is God who orchestrates the storm… there is nothing we can do to help. If increased faith is what the Father is looking for in our lives, then human solutions will only increase our time in the eye of the storm… and increase our frustration level.
Ride It Out – SURVIVE!
Some have wrongly concluded, “If I just sit still and try not to worry, maybe the storm will go away. Hang tough until it is over.” The old saying goes, “This too, shall pass.” But if the purpose of the storm is to increase our faith, how will this help?
Religious Your Way Through It!
Prayer is always a good option, unless you already have your word of faith which you are supposed to be standing upon. You can do all those religious things others have done… but the storm continues to rage. Here is what Job concluded somewhere in the middle of his storm. Maybe you have been there.
Behold, I go forward, but He is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive Him: On the left hand, where He doth work, but I cannot behold him: He hides himself on the right hand, that I cannot see Him.” Job 23:8,9
You know, there will always be times when we may not feel like God is near. It is in those times when we can’t feel God’s presence that we need to trust Him.
Jesus later asked the disciples about the “location” of their faith? Jesus sure knows how to get to the heart of the matter. It is interesting to know that our faith goes somewhere. Has your faith ever dissipated in the middle of a storm?
I quoted verses 8 and 9 of Job 23, but verse 10 is the verse I really like. Job said, “But He knows the way that I take: when He hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” This is the way to view and survive a storm. We need to realize God is making gold. He is not making tin foil or using Lego’s. God is refining gold! In a sense, Job was saying, “Come whatever, I’m still going to trust God and be gold.”
Why Does God Always Wait Until the Last Moment?
One of my favorite quotes is: “God may not be early, but He is never late.” How could He just sleep peacefully as all hell broke loose around Him? How could Jesus repeatedly hit the snooze button? I have asked my kids in the past how they could sleep so soundly during an overnight storm. “Was there a storm?” they would ask.
Why didn’t the Lord come to their aid? Because the only way our faith will be increased is when we realize that God has already given us the solutions to our storms. He wants us to learn that while we might be able to row our way out or ride out the storm, it is much easier to trust and lean upon His last words first!
The lesson Jesus would have us all learn is THE WORD WORKS, BUT YOU HAVE TO WORK YOUR WORD! The disciples had seen Jesus “the Word” heal the sick, raise the dead, and cast out devils. But on this day Jesus wanted them to learn how to believe the word for themselves.
- To do the word is to live beyond the dictates of circumstances.
- To do the word is to act like God told the truth even when it looks like He didn’t.
- Doing the word does not ignore the circumstances…. it just looks beyond them to something greater… God’s promises to you.
“Let us go over to the other side.”
If they had been believing the word, when the storm came they would have just lifted their hands and their voices and said, “Praise God we’re going over… come hell or high water we’re going over.”
In the end, these fearful disciples decided to wake-up the Word when their faith failed. They woke Jesus (the Word) up from His nap. Have you ever had a word go to sleep on you? Sometimes our only course is to “wake up our words.” For you and I today, this means to stir up that Word, begin to read the word, confess the word, and to praise God according to His word.
The disciples first accused the Word of not caring about them or the storm. But the word cared! The Lord always cares, more than we will ever know. The Word already knew the truth. The only thing Jesus could do after He calmed the storm was to ask… “Where is your faith?” Sink, swim, pass or fail… we must locate our faith. Being real here… the only thing I usually think about is getting out of the storm.
Where is your faith?
- Is it in the fair weather?
- Is it in the boat?
- Is it in your own abilities?
- Is it in other people?
People who truly believe the Word are peculiar people to the world. Even many Christians find “word believing Christians” strange folk. They are from the Island of Misfit Toys. Why? These folks are always talking about their words and what God has spoken… even while the storm rages. These folks talk about their destination rather than their circumstances. Our destination is determined, but we must be determined to reach our destination.
Ann Beck of North Carollton, Mississippi, talks about the days when her husband and she taught two and three year old children in Sunday school. A Bible verse they helped the preschoolers memorize was Psalms 56: “When I am afraid, I will trust in You.” Their preschool son, Mark, was one of their pupils.
Well, one stormy night, as lightning flashed and thunder boomed, the electricity suddenly went off. “I’m not afraid,” Mark assured his parents as they groped in the dark for candles and matches. Expecting him to quote the Bible verse he recently learned, Ann Beck proudly prompted him, “And tell us why you aren’t afraid.”
Little Mark simply replied, “Cause I’ve got my flashlight.”
Who needs the Lord when you have a flashlight?