Questions to Ask in the Storm - Grace Series 3 of 3
Posted by Rev. Jeff Dixon, Senior Equipping Minister at Covenant Community Church on May 1, 2000, 13:02
Have you ever noticed how often we move from one scare to the other? Some of you are old enough to remember the days when the US was terrified of communism. There was an infamous list of Americans who had some ties or were sympathetic to the communist party. There was a communist under every rock and around every corner, or so it seemed. Then the days of nuclear terror, when the world was terrified over who had and didnít have nuclear weapons and nuclear capability. This too seems to have passed, and although we are still concerned, the weapons of choice to fear are biochemical weapons, and they are scary! If we didnít have enough to be afraid of, now we are being bombarded with warnings that we are spinning in space on planet earth with killer asteroids and/or comets heading our way from outer space!
In Albuquerque, New Mexico last month, scientists attending SPACE í98 and ROBOTICS í98 reported serious discussions between the Air Force and NASA concerning combing their forces to track and report the potential of flying rocks that might be on a collision path with earth. If it isnít bad enough to think the sky is falling, Hollywood will help us heighten our fears with the release of at least two motion pictures this summer about this very concern. The pictures are Deep Impact and Armageddon.
The world we live in can be frightening, and when people are scared they begin thinking about God and the role that He plays in all of the things that happen around us. Some will simply deny the existence of God at all. Others will figure that God may have created it, but He has been on vacation a long time. Then there are some who know God, and realize that He is in charge, and they have a few questions of the Father. Most of you reading this article will fall into the last category. Let me take you on a journey back in time. The setting is a boat, the participants are Jesus and His disciples, and they are in a storm. It isnít just a simple rain shower, it is a serious storm! It is so frightening they are afraid that they are going to die. In the midst of the storm they ask some questions, questions for Jesus and questions about Jesus. I have a feeling they are the same questions that we ask at times today.
If you are looking for a place to file the following information, file it under: Stuff I need to know when I am afraid, confused or concerned
The passage that serves as the backdrop is Mark 4:35-41. Here we discover three questions that are asked in the storm that give us answers that help us in the here and now.
I have discovered that this is a passage that helps to give us cope-ability. When you are watching the evening news, reading the headlines of the paper, or just pondering your own circumstances of life, here are some things to remember about the relationship you have with the Heavenly Father.
Here is the first question. It was asked by the disciples to Jesus as the storm raged around them. The passage records this in verse 38, here is the question.
Donít you care? (We are about to drown)
Now I want to impress you with a little knowledge about the way this is written. The tense indicates that the asker of the question doubts it. In other words the question is being asked of Jesus, "Donít you care?" But the asker of the question has already determined in his own mind the answer is NO. We tend to be the same way. When fear sets in or crisis hits, in the middle of our struggle we ask God, " Donít you care?" You bet He does.
Jesus instructed His followers that when you pray call God "Daddy." This irritated the Jewish leadership of the day a great deal. But the reason that you can call God Daddy is because you are His child, you are family. Remember that if God had just been God, He wasn't obligated to care. Yet He chose to give you a relationship with Him. That means that He wanted you, He has adopted you, you are His child, and He cares because He wants to!
You need to write that somewhere on the walls of your very existence: HE CARES ABOUT ME!
The next question that was asked was asked by Jesus to His followers. They woke Him up, and He stood up and by speaking brought the storm to a screeching halt. I have a feeling the quiet that followed was more deafening than the roar of the storm. Then Jesus asked the question that is found in verse forty.
Where is your faith?
Why are you being fearful, where is your faith? That is what Jesus wanted to know. That becomes the issue in those moments when we are afraid, where are we placing our faith?
The little boy was awakened by the storm. He got out of bed and went to his parents room. His father was trying to be a comfort to his son, who in tears explained that he was afraid of the storm. The dad said, "Donít be afraid, God is in there with you." The little boy, still feeling no better replied, "You go sleep with God, Iím getting in bed with Mommy!"
Research tells us that 88% of Americans believe in God. So what? The Bible teaches us that the devil believes in God as well. The important thing is do you have a personal relationship with Him? It has been said that when you canít trace His hand, trust His heart. Jesus was saying to the disciples, "You need to believe and trust me." The reality of faith is trusting Him.
When you are frightened, remember to keep your faith in Him. He will not leave you in storms or when you are afraid.
The final question we look at comes from the disciples. This is a question that was asked in the aftermath of all that took place, it was asked among themselves, and we see it in verse 41.
What kind of man is this?
As long as the disciples had been with Jesus, they were still stunned and surprised by the power he had, and the way that He worked.
I believe it is impossible to move beyond the fear that so often paralyzes us without getting to know Him better. One of the amazing things about the relationship we get with the Father is that we can develop an intimacy that goes beyond anything we can imagine. The closer we get to Him we find that our heart grows to be more like His heart. The things that bring Him joy will bring you joy and the things that make Him cry will make you cry.
As we get to know Him better the question is answered. What kind of man is this? He is the creator and controller of the universe. Because I trust him I do not have to be afraid.
Most of you are aware of the grand old hymn, It is Well, written by Horatio Spafford. The song was written after the ship that his family was on had a tragic accident at sea. In the aftermath of the sinking of the Ville Du Haure, he boarded a ship to go to England to pick up his wife, a survivor of the accident. It was as they crossed the place in the ocean where the ship had been lost, he penned the words to that hymn. The focus of the hymn is that in the moments when life becomes confusing, frightening, and unbearable, there is peace in the soul that comes from trust in the Heavenly Father.
Most have heard that part of the story, but the music for that hymn was written by Philip Bliss. Many donít know his story. The night where that hymn, It is Well, was first sung was during a Moody Crusade. The evening when the crusade ended, Bliss and his wife boarded a train that was taking them home for a time of rest. In a tragic accident the train derailed, turned over and burst into flames. Many people were trapped. They were miles away from assistance and many would die. Phillip Bliss found himself thrown clear. In the confusion he realized that his wife was still trapped. He found her. She was caught in the wreckage with no way of escape so Bliss decided to stay with her and die with her. As he held her hand and they burned to death, witnesses report that they heard Bliss singing loudly and strongly the words to the new hymn It is Well, It is Well, With my Soul!
No matter what you face, life or death, Jesus will be there. He cares, He will not leave you, and that is how you make it through. Think about it.
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