Through The Storm

Bible Book: Matthew  4 : 35-41
Subject: Trouble; Storms of Life; Divine Direction


Mark 4:35-41

To say that we are living in challenging days is an understatement.  Most people would think that I’m only talking about COVID19 and the issues of our culture. Certainly, that is a part of it, but also, in our area, we have had 3 catastrophic weather events to contend with.  

We read about a storm. We are in a storm, it is a health storm, a cultural storm, a political storm, and certainly a spiritual storm. To many, the winds of change are rocking our boats to the point that our anchor, our mooring, has come loose. The very things so many have planted their life on and their belief in, are being shaken to the very foundation.  

I speak with many pastors (not just here, but across our state) and I discover that there are those who fear that when this pandemic is over many will not return to gathering as the Lord’s church for worship.  

Never forget, whenever we walk through a storm and it doesn’t matter what kind of storm it is, we can respond in one of several ways.

  •  We can try to ignore the storm
  • We can be frightened by the storm
  • We can try to fight the storm
  • We can lean on the One who controls the storm 

Let look at our text in Mark 4, which reveals to us a couple of things. Jesus began teaching the large crowd by the sea. They gathered and He taught, this kind of represents our large group time of worship. Verse 10 begins with, “When He was alone, those around Him with the 12 asked Him...”  This is the small group time when He could do some in depth and personal teaching. He taught them great truths. He spoke about fasting, He explained the parable of the sower, taught them about being the light in a dark world, growing a crop from a seed, and ends with the parable of the mustard seed. In fact, verses 33-34 says that He used parables to help them understand spiritual truths.  

Now we come to verse 35.  Let’s read to the end of the chapter.

The last sentence reveals a great deal about the disciple and possibly about us. “Who is this man?” This is the question for today.

Today as we walk through this text, I hope if you have never met, believed in, and trusted this man, I pray that today you will leave here knowing Him personally, not in the abstract or as a character in the Bible, but personally.

Consider this story. The disciples did what Jesus told them to do and found themselves in the middle of a storm which had the potential to ‘swamp’ their boats.

Friends, we have already talked about our storms.  This Corona Virus has literally swamped us and shut down church services and programs. It didn’t and doesn’t close down the church because we are the church.  Living for Jesus and sharing Jesus should be something that we do in sickness and health, richer or poorer, and for better or worse, until we step inside of heaven.

Now, think about who is in the ship - Jesus - He is in you're ship, if you have invited Him to be there. Jesus always brings hope and help.

Let’s walk through this story, seeing how this progresses for the disciples and for us.  This is like a play in 4 word pictures ...

1. Instructions

Jesus gave them instructions. Some of us don’t like directions or instructions, but we need them, especially from Jesus. He said, “Let’s cross over to the other side.”

Consider this, approximately 15 times in the gospels Jesus is recorded directing His disciples to the “other side.” Why is that? It is because that is where the need was, it is where He wants us to be, and it is where we can be reminded of who He is. On the other side they found demoniacs who needed healing, on the other side were people with questions, on the other side were hungry people, and many times following His instruction is where lessons are learned and faith is increased. 

The disciples are about to learn a huge lesson by simply following Jesus’ directions.  Watch. 

They followed Jesus’ instructions, got into the boat, started across the sea and found themselves in the middle of a storm.

The 2nd picture is ...

2. Obstructions

The storm presented an obstruction. They did what Jesus has instructed them to do and “GO” (sound familiar?) only to run into an obstruction which had already (love this terminology) swamped their boat. That is a picture most of us can identify with. This was not a small storm (obstruction) getting in the way of going where Jesus had called them to go. This was a huge storm and came when they were in the middle of serving Jesus.

It is interesting to me that they allowed Jesus to go to sleep in their boat while they were out on the water.  Now, I don’t care to give this a meaning that is not intended, but it occurs to me that the question should be asked, “Have I allowed Jesus to go to sleep in my boat?”

Have you ever had anyone to go to sleep when you were interacting with them?  Probably not.  The only time someone goes to sleep in your boat or becomes passive in your life, is when you ‘leave them alone.’  The storm was ragging, and the master of the sea was asleep due to lack of interaction from His disciples.

Don’t miss this, the storm of this virus will be worse without the Great Physician engaged in your life. Storms or obstructions have a way of unnerving and unsettling even the strongest, because storms as a general rule are bigger than we are. We see this in our story.

Jesus gave the instructions, then came the obstruction which was too much for these fishermen.

The third picture we see is …

3. Desperation

We see their desperation in how they approached Jesus.  “Teacher!  Don’t you care that we are going to die?”  Consider their perspective and their situation. They had already seen His divine power, as He had healed many and even cast out demons. They had heard the demons declare Him to be the Son of God. This sounds like us, doesn't it? But now, they were in a fight for their lives - a storm - all bets were off. Their language leads me to believe that they had their doubts if even Jesus could help them. “Don’t you care?” was the question, but the tone of their voice and the desperation of their body language obviously was asking, "Can’t you do something?”  They were at the end of their rope, they had done all their human skills could do, and they had tried all they knew to try, and it was to no avail, so they threw their problem on Jesus with no strings attached.  It was “all to Jesus I surrender.”

You do realize that this is the only way Jesus works. It is only when we surrender that He steps up.  He meets our desperation, obstructions, and our storms when we throw our hands up. When we throw our hands up in despair, He places His nail-scarred hands IN power. Remember (re-state words)? The curtain on the final acts raises: Don’t you like the final act of a play, movie, or presentation?

4. Salvation

Don’t you just love the Lord Jesus? Everything He does is about our salvation. In our story when the disciples finally, in desperation, went to Jesus and awakened Him in the middle of the storm, Jesus did what He does and what only Jesus can do. He stood up in the middle of this hurricane like storm and simply said, “Peace” and in my mind, the ‘wind stopped howling,' and then He said, “Be Still,” and the waves went flat.  And the men were AMAZED!!  Who is He? The MAN OF SALVATION!


Allow me to offer a couple of applications and tell a story.

First, a storm hit this globe a few short months ago closing down society as we know it. The question we must ask is this:  Before this, had we allowed Jesus to go to sleep in our boat (life)?  He might have been ‘there’, but I actually had my life on cruise control, so He wasn’t active. Could that be you?

NEXT, think of the storm that hit humanity in the Garden of Eden, because they didn’t follow the Lord’s working in their lives. They fell into sin, so today we live in sin. Someone here might have never invited Jesus into your life. He alone offers each one a way to have a relationship to God through Christ Jesus and a home in heaven.  If this is you, why not trust Jesus today. He stands ready to help you through the storm.

I do offer this: You need Him, but How?

There’s a book called The Will of God. At the end of the book is story from a fighter pilot, which illustrates our need for Jesus ...

“For a number of reasons, most of our flying was done in formations of aircraft—three, six, twelve, or eighteen in a group. The flight leader had to keep the airplanes in close formation in order to guide them through maneuvers. So, we flew very close together for effectiveness and for safety. Formations cannot maneuver as easily as a single aircraft, and we would sometimes be in the clouds for short distances. The visibility would be almost zero. Sometimes one could not see any part of the next plane. There was an uneasy feeling when the clouds were full of airplanes with fourteen-foot propellers turning eighteen hundred revolutions per minute.  We trimmed the aircraft control surfaces to remain in formation with the lead plane even with “hands off” the controls. We did this while we were in the clear. Then, when we entered the clouds the planes would maintain their relative positions for a reasonably short time even if we lost sight of the other planes in the clouds. The secret was to have the airplane on course and steady before entering the clouds. Then, when visibility was lost, we kept everything just like it was. No climbing, turning, or diving. No changes! Straight ahead. The undisciplined pilot was tempted to bolt. That would have led to certain disaster. The safest course: Go right on doing what you were doing.”

The point is this, our responsibility is to walk with the Lord faithfully and fully. We set our sights on Him, focus our lives toward Him, direct the world to Him, and we stay committed and focused even when storm clouds gather and we can’t fully see where we’re going. That is, we set our instruments in the clear and trust them in the clouds.

When we’re not walking with the Lord in the clear, we’re already unprepared for the storms. If we are walking with the Lord, though, what we don’t do is adjust our instruments just because we’re in the storm. If we do that, we might find ourselves moving in the wrong direction once the skies have cleared up again.