Monday, September 16, 2013

God uses storms ...................... Parables 020

It has been said that “if you don’t like the weather in Alberta, just wait a minute.” That latest storm to the south of us no doubt was a change that most who experienced it would rather have done without. Are you like that, when life, like the weather, brings unexpected storms?

There are at least three terrible storms mentioned in the New Testament. One is described in Mark 4. Most of the disciples were seasoned fishermen, but this storm was so severe that they were certain they would perish. Where is Jesus? He was fast asleep, head on a pillow, in the stern of the boat. The terrified disciples woke Him up and He said to the sea, “Peace, be still.” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm.

The second storm is described in John 6. Here the disciples were alone in the boat, trying to make headway against the wind and the waves but without success. Then Jesus came to them, walking on the weather. This time they didn’t seem to be afraid of the storm, but seeing a man walking on the water scared them out of their wits. When they realized it was Jesus, Peter wanted to do the same, and soon discovered that his ability to walk on a stormy sea was directly proportional to his faith. When both Peter and Jesus entered the boat, the storm ceased and they were at their destination. (See Matthew 14 and Mark 6.)

The third storm is in Acts 27. Paul was on his way to Rome as a prisoner for preaching the gospel. The Lord spoke to him that all on the ship would be saved but the ship would be lost. Paul told the men, they ate to give them some needed energy, and then lightened the cargo. When the ship broke up, they did have to struggle for their lives, but God kept His word to Paul, and all made it safely to shore.

It is not too difficult to parallel these storms with the activity of God in the life of a Christian and with what He expects of us during tremendous trials. In the first storm, the men were helpless and afraid, and Jesus did everything, swiftly stopping the trial. But He also rebuked them for their “little faith.”

In the second storm, Peter was invited to walk through it with Jesus. He tried it, and as long as he kept his eyes on Jesus, he did fine. But one look at the size and power of the storm, and he sank. Again, Jesus removed the trial by calming the sea, but He rebuked Peter concerning the size of his faith.

The third storm raged full course, battering the ship to pieces. All was lost . . .  except human lives, except the peace in Paul’s heart. God had told him that there was more work He wanted him to do in Rome, and Paul believed God. He declared, “Men, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it will be exactly as He told me.” He clung to that promise just as securely as those who could not swim clung to the wreckage of the ship. And God saved him - through the trial, not from it. The sea was not calmed, Paul was!

So often when we who put our faith in Christ panic in a difficulty, our Lord comes and adjust our circumstances to our faith level. As we learn to meet trials with our eyes on Him and not on the trial, we begin to find security, even in the trial, because we realize that He is in it with us. Ultimately, we learn to fasten ourselves to His Word and ride out the storm, even if we suffer losses, because we have discovered that he is faithful and that the storms of life will not thwart His purposes. Instead, He uses those trials to refine our faith.

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