This week’s post is an adaptation of one of my most requested talks. Today, many of us are facing difficult days and aren’t sure what tomorrow holds, but this ONE TRUTH can change everything about how we walk through life.
Please join me in this week’s journey as we examine the profound and life-changing reality of God’s presence.
Adapted from, I Am With You!:
My husband and I love to spend time at the beach. He surfs, I read, relax and take an occasional walk along the shore.
Last year, we went to Guana State Park after church and hung out for the rest of the day. There’s nothing like it. In fact, I wish every day could be like that.
But life is seldom like a day at the beach.
In fact, sometimes it can be pretty overwhelming. It often feels like waves of trials and tribulations are relentlessing crashing on the shore of my life…and I’m just trying to catch my breath.
Storms are an inevitable part of life.
Some storms test our faith, while others test our character.
But the most brutal part of a storm is when you feel like you’re in it alone… when you feel like you can’t find God in your circumstances and you find yourself crying out… “Lord, where are you? Do you see me? Lord, please help me!”
Perhaps some of you have been going through some difficult circumstances of your own.
Maybe those circumstances are testing your faith… maybe they are testing your character. You may feel all alone and find yourself wondering if the Lord has abandoned you in your hour of need.
Maybe you’re facing something that is completely out of your control and all you can do is hold on for the ride.
You may even be sensing God calling you to some sort of ministry that you know will require a lot of work, a lot of faith and even a lot of sacrifice and your trial is knowing what decision to make.
Perhaps you’re facing an illness today or harboring a grudge from the past. Things that consume you and make it hard for you to move from where you are to where you need to be.
Some of you may be doing fine. You’re shouting glory hallelujah from the mountaintop today and all is well with your soul.
No matter where you are in your particular circumstances there is one prevailing truth woven throughout Scripture that can help us walk through any and every season we face.
When we really get ahold of the reality of God’s abiding presence it changes everything. It revolutionizes the way we face the storms that come our way.
It is that GOD IS WITH US and no matter what we go through, we are not alone in our circumstances…He has not and will not forsake us.
Below is MARK 4:35-41 in the NIV (Also found in Matt 8:23-27, Luke 8:22-25). Please take a minute and read through this story as we begin this week’s journey and discover that God is with us… and that’s really all we need to know.
Let’s set the scene. Jesus tells the disciples to go to the other side of the lake with Him. They all get in a boat, set sail in the Sea of Galilee, when all of a sudden a huge storm begins to batter their boat.
“That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” Mark 4:35-41
The disciples begin to freak out a little (well, a lot) and then they rush to Jesus and ask Him the same thing you and I ask Him when we feel like the storms of our lives are about to batter our resolve… “MASTER, DON’T YOU CARE THAT WE’RE PERISHING?”
Jesus gets up, speaks peace to the storm. The storm subsides and the disciples stand amazed at the Master of the wind.
Let’s look at a few lessons we can learn from their adventures at sea.
1. JESUS DID NOT SEND THEM INTO THE STORM ALONE.
He was with them. The Creator of the universe was in no way surprised by the winds that were blowing their way.
Hebrews 13:5 says…
“for He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!]”
With the emphatic use of the original language the Lord is making it clear that He will NEVER, IN ANY WAY, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES EVER LEAVE US OR FORSAKE US. NEVER. NO NEVER. NOT EVER!
2. JESUS INTENTIONALLY CALLED THEM INTO THE STORM
Jesus not only was very aware that a storm loomed largely over the horizon, He knowingly and purposefully called them into a place where their faith would be tested. Would they face their circumstances full of faith or full of fear?
This storm came on the heels a multitude of miracles. Jesus healed the sick, cast out demons and demonstrated great compassion for the people that followed him. Their faith had been made sight time and time again.
But how would they handle it when it was their storm?
Could it be that the Lord would call them into a dangerous place where they would their very lives could be at stake? Would the One who loves them so much put them in the storm of their lives without a plan or purpose?
Like the disciples, when I find myself in the midst of a storm, I begin looking for crying out for God to fix it.
But they forgot the point of the trip was to get to the other side. In the middle of the madness they somehow forgot Jesus’ words…“Let’s go to the other side.”
He was with them every bump of the way. Every time the waves crashed in on them, He was there. Each gust of wind came with His approval as well as His presence.
It was a storm designed for them. It would test their faith. It would test their character.
Isn’t that what He calls us to? To go to the other side with the promise of His presence – to go to the other side of our heartache, to the other side of our circumstances, to the other side of our storms…all with the assurance that He will be with us each step of the way.
For the disciples, He chose to change their circumstances in the midst of the storm. But it doesn’t always work that way. He doesn’t always choose to change our circumstances.
Instead, sometimes He chooses to change us in the midst of our circumstances.
Tomorrow, we will look at how God worked in Moses’ life to do just that.
But for today, will you think for a moment about your own storm? The one you’re in now or the one you just came through?
Did it test your faith? Did it test your character? Did you realize it was a storm He called you into for a purpose? How’d you respond?