Storms have been in the news. Even this week, tornadoes touched down in my community. We have watched the effects of Hurricane Florence.
Thank you, SBC of Virginia churches, for investing in Disaster Relief. Because of your giving to the Vision Virginia offering and special disaster relief giving, along with your ongoing giving through the SBCV Cooperative Program, we already have people and resources in areas effected by Hurricane Florence. We also continue to have a major presence in helping with rebuilding in Puerto Rico.
Please continue to pray and give – and also, get involved. We offer Disaster Relief training. Go to www.sbcv.org for updates and information.
You know storms are mentioned several times in the Bible. Natural storms cause obvious damage. Storms are also used as a metaphor to teach us about life and our need for God.
I have heard it said that in life we are either coming out of a storm, in a storm, or heading for a storm – sounds like Virginia weather.
Top five storms or troubles for people, according to the National Opinion Research Center:
Death of a child
Death of a spouse
Being unable to purchase food
Death of a parent
Having a home destroyed or heavily damaged by fire, flood, or some other disaster.
In Mark 4:35–41 the disciples of Jesus experience a real-life storm and we glean some spiritual lessons from their experience and the response of the Lord Jesus.
1. You can be close to Jesus and still encounter storms.
4:35-37. On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling.
Storms Aren’t Always Predictable. It would appear that the disciples found themselves in one of those unpredictable and unexpected storms. Storms Don’t Play Favorites. I remind you that it was the disciples who found themselves in this storm. Furthermore, they were close to Jesus. He was with them in the ship. Yet, the storm showed no favoritism or partiality. Christians are not immune from storms. Sometimes we have the idea that if we are close to the Lord we will be protected and sheltered from the storms. We think to ourselves: ''If I go to church every Sunday, tithe, read the Bible and pray, bad things will not happen to me.'' I wish I could tell you that were true, but that is not the case. Storms can be SUDDEN and SEVERE. One minute you can be enjoying fair weather and the next, you find yourself in the middle of a terrible and horrible storm. One phone call, one twenty-four-hour period, one doctor visit, one tick of the clock, and there you are, in the storm of your life.
2. Storms force us to cry out to Jesus.
4:38. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”
Several of the disciples were fishermen and I suspect they tried to do everything humanly possible to battle the storm. Maybe they trimmed the sails and pointed the bow into the wind. They started rowing and bailing water. But it soon became apparent their resources weren’t enough, so they called out to Jesus.
3. Beware of the storm surge of doubt.
4:38-39. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.  He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?”
The storms of life can cause what I will call a storm surge of doubt. When the disciples awoke Jesus, He immediately asked them two questions:
“Why are you so afraid?
Do you still have no faith?”
In the previous chapter, Jesus taught a number of parables about faith and receiving His Word into our hearts. Like any good teacher, Jesus taught the lesson first, and now He’s giving them the test. Will they trust Him during a storm?
4. Have faith in Jesus as our hope in the storm.
God never promised that we’d live a storm-free life. He just promises to be with us in the midst of the storm.
I love the way Eugene Petersen paraphrases Isaiah 43. God says, “When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you. When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down. When you’re between a rock and a hard place, it won’t be a dead end—Because I am God, your personal God…I paid a huge price for you…That’s how much you mean to me! That’s how much I love you! So, don’t be afraid: I’m with you.”
In this case, Jesus took the storm away. But sometimes He doesn’t remove the storm, instead He speaks to our troubled hearts and says, “Hush. Be still. Be quiet.” And when we trust Him we experience a mega calm. We find a peace that passes understanding. Jesus can calm the storm, or He can calm us in the storm. Jesus does care when we are in the storm.
Your brother in Jesus,