Last month I took my son, Brock, to the fishing pier on his 16th birthday. Brock doesn’t care if he catches anything; he simply loves to fish. While we were out on the pier, I was struck by the gentle breeze, cool air, and the calmness of the water. It was a beautiful day. As a sailboat went by I thought about how effortlessly it sailed across the calm water.
To be sure, calm seas make for smooth sailing, but in the life of the Christian, the seas are not always calm.
[Jesus] got into the boat and his disciples followed him. Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!” (Matthew 8:23-27)
I’m sure the seas were calm when Jesus and the disciples got into the boat. But suddenly a furious storm came up. Often the storms of life come up “suddenly,” bringing with them furious waves of challenge that sweep over us. Storms in our student lives . . . Storms in our family lives . . . Storms in our professional lives . . . Storms in our personal lives. You will remember that storms were promised by our Savior:
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)
Here we see God’s promise of both storms and a secure landing. Because Jesus has overcome the world, all those who are in Christ have overcome the world too. Our future is both promised and secure. This Gospel truth is the fuel that is to ignite the fire of our faith. Knowing that Jesus has overcome the world by His sinless life, sacrificial death, and supernatural resurrection is the comfort we need in every storm we face, especially those He chooses not to calm instantly.
Storms in the hands of our Savior are used to sanctify us and grow our faith. Our storm experiences prepare us to walk alongside others who are in the midst of storms similar to the ones we have experienced. Think about the last time someone came alongside of you when you were going through a particular storm. They were able to bring comfort and clarity because they had gone through the same kind of storm.
This is one of the rich fruits of weathering storms: sharing our experience with others who are going through the same thing. A friend of mine who went through addiction recovery likes to talk about sharing our “experience, strength, and hope.” We empathize through our common experience; we stand on the strength given us by the Spirit of God; and we rejoice together in the hope held out to us in the Gospel!
Regardless of what you are facing today, remember that Jesus is with you in your storm and has promised to get you on the other side of it. Experience has taught me that there are some blessings that can only be found on the other side of storms. God does not promise smooth sailing . . . but He does promise a secure landing!
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!