You know, when we started these weekly video messages some time ago, COVID-19 was just starting to affect our lives and turn the world upside down. And since that time, we have seen the world grow more unstable and uncertain. Just about everywhere we turn we see unease, unrest, and uncertainty. Things don’t seem to be getting better, and many hearts are filled with anxiety, fearful about what lies ahead.
It reminds me of how the Bible describes the last days. In Luke 21:25 and 26—
“And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them from fear and expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.”
Friends, while times and situations may change, fear and anxiety is not new. Tracing back into history 2,000 years ago, we can see it in the faces of Christ’s disciples and hear it in their voices as they are sure they are going to drown in the Sea of Galilee.
Things hadn’t started out that way. In fact, it had been a fairly normal day, filled with activity as Jesus taught and healed the many people who crowded around Him. But now it was time to leave and get some much needed rest.
The evening was calm and pleasant as Jesus and the disciples stepped into the wooden boat. Quiet settled on the lake as they set sail for the other side. Soon, Jesus was fast asleep in the back of the boat.
Quickly, however, everything changed. Deep darkness spread across the sky as the wind swept wildly down the mountain gorges along the eastern shore, causing a fierce tempest to suddenly burst upon the lake.
The disciples were terrified. It was so dark they could no longer see Jesus. And their voices were drowned out by the terrible storm. Where was Jesus? Had He forsaken them? Absorbed by trying to save themselves, they rowed harder, and forgot about Jesus. It was only as a lightning bolt lit up the sky did they see Jesus, asleep in the back. He was there in the boat with them the whole time.
Amazed, they woke Him up and in despair cried out, “Master, don’t you care that we are perishing?”
In the beautiful book, “The Desire of Ages”, we read:
“Their cry arouses Jesus. As the lightning’s glare reveals Him, they see the peace of heaven in His face; they read in His glance self-forgetful, tender love, and their hearts turning to Him, cry, ‘Lord, save us: we perish.’ Never did a soul utter that cry unheeded. . . Jesus rises. He stands in the midst of His disciples, while the tempest rages, the waves break over them, and the lightning illuminates His countenance. He lifts His hand, so often employed in deeds of mercy, and says to the angry sea, ‘Peace, be still’” (p. 335).
Instantly, the storm stops. Imagine it. Suddenly, the Sea is calm again. And so are the amazed disciples.
Today, friends, we are indeed in the midst of a storm—a storm of uncertainty and fear. But we know that an even greater storm is coming. How can we be prepared to meet it?
In the book, “Our High Calling,” we are given this valuable insight:
“That night in that boat was to the disciples a school where they were to receive their education for the great work which was to be done afterward. The dark hours of trial are to come to everyone as a part of his education for higher work, for more devoted, consecrated effort. The storm was not sent upon the disciples to shipwreck them, but to test and prove them individually.”
The author continues:
“The time of our educating will soon be over. We have no time to lose in walking through clouds of doubt and uncertainty. . . . We may stand close to the side of Jesus. Let none . . . shirk one hard lesson or lose the blessing of one hard discipline” (p. 56).
Friends, we know, according to Hebrews 12:11 that “For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”
So, as we go through these turbulent, unpredictable, and even frightening times, let’s press close to Jesus, knowing that He is with us in the storm and wants to teach us valuable lessons of faith and trust right now, which will help us now and in the future.
Let's pray together, Father in Heaven, we know that we can be tested. We know that without leaning upon you, we can be troubled and anxious for the future. But if we lean upon you completely, which we do right now, we can be at peace because you. Are the God of all peace, You can calm the storm. You can give us a calm spirit.
As we move into turbulent and difficult times, Lord sustain us as we keep our eyes focused upon you and realize. That Jesus is coming soon and that through his power, he will help us to proclaim this message of hope for the future. Thank you for hearing us and thank you for being the master of the storm and bringing peace and calm into our own hearts.
May we share that with others right now all through your power in Jesus' name, we ask it. Amen