I awoke on this Sunday morning as I do any other Sunday morning; ready to honor the Sabbath. It had been a joyful week, early August birthdays had been celebrated as we simultaneously anticipate the birth of our daughter’s firstborn daughter very soon.
The joy I felt about our home coming back together after the May 5th and May 12th floods--was only superseded by the complete JOY I felt that the ministry work that God has gifted me is on FIRE in spite of recent bumps in the road. I nearly skipped with joy to the laundry room to find the blue socks my husband needed for his business trip to Dallas. Worshiping with a heart filled with gratitude in front of the dryer--I folded the blue socks and was on my way to his suitcase...when the phone rang; an eerie ring, a ring of caution. The storm had begun.
For thirty minutes I listened to the straight winds blowing as they brought the crushing waves of despair. Waves crashing so quickly, my boat was filling with water and I would soon be drowning. I have faced storms before, but this storm, THIS storm may be the one to kill me.
As I was tossed about in shock, I tried to think of ways to start bailing; for certainly, my boat would soon be swamped. God—how can this be true? Where are you? Why did you let this one sneak up on us? Mere seconds remained before I, myself, would bail—when, like a bolt of lightening, I heard the rumblings of a teaching on Matthew 8: 24-34 cross my mind.
"Without warning, 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!" When he arrived at the other side in the region of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men coming from the tombs met him. They were so violent that no one could pass that way. "What do you want with us, Son of God?" they shouted. "Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?" Some distance from them a large herd of pigs was feeding. The demons begged Jesus, "If you drive us out, send us into the herd of pigs."He said to them, "Go!" So they came out and went into the pigs, and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and died in the water. Those tending the pigs ran off, went into the town and reported all this, including what had happened to the demon-possessed men."
Earlier in Matthew 8, Jesus and His disciples had been ministering to and healing great numbers of people. They were all astonished by His doctrine and we are told great multitudes followed him down the mountain. Christ was manifesting himself to those He spoke with and they wanted to know more! He was controversial—He was compassionate and merciful: He cleansed the lepor and healed a Gentile’s servant. The King had come to be a servant; a servant-King who could heal at a distance…with just a word. He healed Peter’s mother-in-law and many others. At the end of a very long day, he drove out the spirits with a word and healed the sick (v 16).
HIS ministry work was on FIRE!
THEN, Jesus got into the boat to cross to the other side of the lake. His disciples joined him and Jesus went to sleep. He must have known that He was crossing to do a powerful Kingdom work…His time on earth was growing short and He would be showing Satan His power on the other side. His greatest miracle to date would happen in the morning—just on the other side of the lake.
The furious storm raged. It seemed the Enemy was trying to destroy.
Fearful, and oh how I understand, the Disciples woke Jesus up screaming, “Lord, Save us! We’re going to drown!”
Astonished? After spending a full day with the Servant King—seeing miracle after miracle after miracle—the Disciples were afraid? I wonder if Jesus was more than a little perplexed Himself—“You of little faith, why are you so afraid?”
And yet, he stood up and with a simple command, “Rebuked the wind” and calmed the storm.
Is it any wonder that Satan would try to prevent the arrival of such a man…a man who has power over sickness, death, demons AND the elements. And on the other side of that lake, in the morning, Jesus would enter Satan’s domain with a mighty force—demonstrating yet again that He is Lord over all.
As I remembered this passage in all of it’s context, I stopped thinking of bailing and began holding tightly to God's Word. While the storm still rages, my fear has calmed. I am no longer praying for a way to bail out, I am at peace knowing that God will use this storm for His purpose if I only yield to Him. Yield? I’m hanging on so tightly, I can feel Him breath! Breathing words of promise into my soul, “Fear not, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Is. 41:10)
“No, I will not abandon you or leave you as orphans in the storm - I will come to you.” (John 14:18)
“That's why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.” (Romans 8:28 Msg)
Are you in the boat today with Jesus…crossing over to perhaps the greatest Kingdom work yet? Expect the Storm! Hold tightly to our LORD’s righteous right hand….fear not….have faith….for we know, how we know that, “in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” Romans 8:28 (NIV) STOP BAILING! BEGIN ANTICIPATING THE MIRACLE! HEAR THE BREATH OF GOD in the midst of your storm! He is there and He's got a plan for this storm....and for YOU!