Let’s look at a story in which Jesus encounters His disciples in a way that was tempted to think of God withdrawing from us, but we see here the truth that He is actually drawing near to us. I believe God wants to show us that in places we would naturally tend to fear the most, God wants to show up the biggest.
“He parted the heavens and came down; dark clouds were under his feet. He mounted cherubim and flew; he soared on the wings of the wind. He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him-the dark rain clouds of the sky.”
Psalms 18:9-11 (NIV)
Observations from the story:
Sometimes when we are in the will of God, storms don’t decrease, they may increase, but we can’t believe the lie that God doesn’t care and won’t be there for us.
God has plans for the storms of our life. God comes to us dressed in the canopy of a storm.
Where it may feel like He is forsaking us He could actually be taking us to a better place in Him than we could imagine.
How God uses storms
He uses storms to take our faith from our heads to our hearts. God wants to give us a defiant faith.
Great faith is faith that goes from a feeling in our emotions to a commitment in our will. God wants us to be people whose faith inflates when we face storms instead of deflates. Your future will be defined by how you respond to problems!
“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.”
“Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.”
Habakkuk 3:17-18 (NIV)
“My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.”
Job 42:5 (NIV)
It is often our faith in the midst of storms that bring God the greatest glory and brings the greatest witness to the world of the power and greatness of God.
Each time we overcome in a storm, we come to know God in a deeper and more unshakeable way.
Three ways to encounter Jesus in the middle of your storms
1. Let God help you change your perspective.
a. The first and most important question in any storm is not “What I will do?”, but it is, “What will I believe?”
Faith isn’t denying the reality of your circumstances; it is denying those circumstances the right to be in control of your life. — Dutch Sheets
b. Jesus shifted their focus from how big the storm was to how big His presence was in the middle of the storm. The message of this text is that storms don’t have authority over Jesus, Jesus has authority over storms.
c. Victory isn’t in figuring out how we can fix the problem but it is in first settling in our hearts who is in charge of handling the problem. Is the problem between you and God or is God between you and the problem?
“Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
Matthew 14:27 (NIV)
I believe that God has determined to use every person, problem, and circumstance as the perfect instrument for the unfolding of His perfect will in my life. — Fred Walker
2. We encounter God when you call out to Him and let God give you, His peace.
“For this is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: “Only in returning to me and resting in me will you be saved. In quietness and confidence is your strength.”
Isaiah 30:15 (NLT)
There is almost no way to live without there constantly being storms around us but that doesn’t mean there has to be storms within us.
“But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
Matthew 14:30-31 (NIV)
a. Peace comes when we pour out our fears and doubts. Faith isn’t the absence of doubts; it is letting God replace our doubts and fears with His peace and word.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV)
b. Praise and worship Him, declaring who He is in the presence of your enemies and problems.
“Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” Matthew 14:33
3. We encounter Jesus in the middle of the storm when we are willing to step out of the boat and claim His power to do and see what may seem to be impossible.
We are not called to be “boat sitters” living to try and ride out the storm. We are to be “get out of the boat-people,” who ask and expect God to do great things not only for ourselves but others. We owe the world encounters with God. They will only happen if we are willing to ask, attempt, step out, and claim great things for God.
“If you want to walk on water, you’ve got to get out of the boat!” — John Ortberg