Lessons on Fear And Faith
Text: Luke 8:22-25 | Listen to Message
The Value of Storms
Storms are awesome, violent displays of the uncontrollable power of nature. Fierce winds, driving rains, golfball sized hail, funnel clouds, and torrents of water all have a way of making us feel small, helpless, and afraid.
Maybe this is why storms are a common metaphor for the adversity, the trials, that we all face in life. Threats to our health, our finances, our relationships, our reputations, and our job security are every bit as real as any hurricane. And they’re every bit as terrifying. So why does a good God allow storms in the first place?
First, let’s dismiss two popular assumptions:
People often think that storms are evidence that God must be a long ways off or that they must be out of His will (and the storm is God’s way of punishing them and/or redirecting them on some other path). The problem with these assumptions is Luke 8:22. Jesus was in the boat with his disciples and he’s the one who commanded them to cross the lake – right into the path of a violent storm!
So, sure, use the trials in your life as an impetus to remind you to reflect on your walk with God. But let’s be done with this patronizing nonsense that says our trials are proof of God’s distance or displeasure.
Positively, this story in Luke 8:22-25 shows us that God is doing at least two merciful things through the storms we face:
1. God is showing us something about ourselves.
When life is routine and average-to-good, it is human nature to go on autopilot. We tend to rely on ourselves, to think of ourselves as having things under control. We may believe in God but, functionally, there is very little need to trust Him. So in His mercy, God takes us places where we suddenly find ourselves helpless and afraid. Then, and only then, do we recognize and admit…
- This is what I fear.
- This is what I treasure.
- This is what I trust.
On all your sunny days, you may tell yourself, “Of course I fear and treasure and trust Jesus the most.” But suddenly in the storm, you acknowledge something like this: “Actually, I fear that people will know the truth about me – because my reputation is my greatest asset and the thing I depend on more than anything.”
So God uses storms like a mirror to show you important things about yourself – things you don’t tend to notice when life is good.
2. God is showing us something about Jesus.
Do you ever wonder why the disciples cried out to Jesus and woke him up when they thought they were about to drown? It’s because they instinctively knew that Jesus wasn’t helpless like they were. If their faith could be drawn up as a math equation, I think it would look something like this:
Jesus > the storm > us
What an awesome thing for us to remember and confess! “Who is this, that he commands even the storms in my life, and they obey him?”
Finally, we must let storms remind us of the ultimate Good News concerning Jesus. Storms may wreck our finances, destroy our relationships, mess with our emotions, and even kill our bodies, but there’s one thing they cannot do to a Christian: No storm can ever separate you from the love of God.
There is a storm that should completely ruin every single one of us – for all of us have sinned, and sinned greatly. And that storm is the storm of God’s wrath. The storm of judgment. The storm of God simply giving us what we deserve. No one would survive that storm – for the wages of sin is death and separation from God.
But here’s the greatest news in the history of the world: There was a day when Jesus went alone into that storm – the only storm that could ever really sink you. On that day, Jesus took your sin and nailed it to a Cross. He drank the cup of God’s wrath so there’d be none left for you. And the Father turned His back on Jesus, and judgment came down, and the holy Son of God died.
But on Easter morning, Jesus walked out of his own tomb victorious over the powers of sin, and death, and hell. And now, in him, there is no storm that could ever sink you.