Storms and trials come to everyone, whether young or old, rich or poor, famous or obscure.
When I mention the names:
Scientist Albert Einstein
Writer Agatha Christie
Inventors Alexander Graham Bell, and Thomas Edison
were all troubled with dyslexia.
Scientist Isaac Newton
Alfred Nobel (founder of the Nobel Prize)
President Theodore Roosevelt
were all epileptics. All are tried. All go through the storms of life.
Even Missionaries, Evangelists,
Preachers and Apostles are afflicted
Baptist Missionary to India William Carey (known as the father of modern missions) spent many years learning the native language so that he could produce the scriptures in the local dialect. He translated the Bible into 44 languages and dialects. His supporters in America sent him materials and equipment to produce Bibles for distribution to the Indians.
Thomas J. Bach wrote in Carey’s missionary biography:
“For more than seven years he labored faithfully in India without the joy of reporting to friends at home that he had won a single convert. His trials were many, the opposition great. His wife was an invalid for fourteen years. He buried some of his children in India. His printing establishment, together with manuscripts—the fruit of many years of labor—was once destroyed by fire. But patiently he continued preaching, writing, and living the gospel.”
Storms come to us all. The unbeliever handles storms differently than the Christ follower. Those who have no time for Christ, no time to love God and worship Him, frantically seek peace in what they can do. But we who are Christ’s look for Jesus in the storm. He is our LIGHTHOUSE!
Mark 6:45-52 (KJV) And straightway he constrained his disciples to get into the ship, and to go to the other side before unto Bethsaida, while he sent away the people. 46 And when he had sent them away, he departed into a mountain to pray. 47 And when even was come, the ship was in the midst of the sea, and he alone on the land. 48 And he saw them toiling in rowing; for the wind was contrary unto them: and about the fourth watch of the night he cometh unto them, walking upon the sea, and would have passed by them. 49 But when they saw him walking upon the sea, they supposed it had been a spirit, and cried out: 50 For they all saw him, and were troubled. And immediately he talked with them, and saith unto them, Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid.
“It is I, be not afraid”.
I heard someone say once that “be not afraid” or “fear not” is repeated 365 times in the Scripture. That’s actually not true. The phrase in the intended context is only found a little over 80 times in context. Yet isn’t ONE “fear not” from God enough?
The devil uses fear and intimidation to try and discourage and depress us. Yet God tells us that
2 Timothy 1:7 (KJV) For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
God does not want us to be afraid. He wants us to trust Him. Just prior to this event the disciples had had a really good day. Jesus had fed over 5000 people with two fish and five little barley biscuits. It had been a good day at Church. The disciple’s bellies were full. Jesus had filled their hearts with the good Word of God. Night was coming. Perhaps a beautiful, full moon was out, and a gentle breeze blowing in from the sea.
If You Want To Get To The Place Of Rich Blessing,
You Must Keep Your Eyes On Jesus Through The Trials.
We read that Jesus …
Mark 6:45 (KJV) … CONSTRAINED his disciples to get into the ship, and to go to the other side before unto BETHSAIDA, while He sent away the people.
That word “constrained” means ἀναγκάζω anagkazo (pronounced an-ang-kad’-zo) which means “to necessitate or to compel”. Jesus did not say “WILL you get in the ship and go to Bethsaida”. He said “You WILL get in the ship and go to Bethsaida”. Jesus ordered them to go.
Now look at that word “Bethsaida”. The word “Bethsaida” is from the Greek bɛθ.seɪˈiːdə/ (from Hebrew/Aramaic בית צידה beth-tsaida, and means “the house of fishing”. This was such a plentiful place – filled with fish – that it was called “the house of fishing”. Jesus just fed over 5000 people with two fishes. Now He ordered them to go to the most plentiful place they knew of for fishing, “The House of Fishing”. It was a place of bounty and blessing. If Jesus blessed with two fishes, what would He do at this place?
Jesus deliberately put His disciples in this ship, told them to go while he sent the other disciples – the 5000 + – away. He stayed on dry land, but they – His twelve – got on the ship. They had no idea how Jesus was going to meet them on the other side, and had no idea what was coming next …. but Jesus did.
Would it surprise you to know that God is NEVER surprised by anything? We are surprised. We only know our yesterdays, and our right this moments. But we do not know what is going to happen next. But Jesus knows. God knows.
Colossians 1:16 (KJV) For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
When God led Israel out of Egypt He led them to a Red Sea. They were to trust that God would bless them, to believe that the God Who did so much to save them would get them over an impossible situation for with our God all things are possible.
God lets storms come to grow our faith. They are not accidents, but God-idents! They are not mistakes, but God-stakes. He puts His children in places of trial to grow them in their faith. Just as a parent releases the child to gravity so it can walk or fail, our Father releases us to walk or fail in our faith.
This is God’s love.
Jesus released His disciples to that ship. It is not love to carry your children everywhere. If you carry a child everywhere all you eventually get is a grown up baby, a child with a male or female body.
The storm was there but it was no surprise to Jesus. The Lord sent the disciples to cross the Sea – they should trust Him in the midst of the storm. God either engineers the storm or He allows the storm. God wants us to do as the Psalmist learned to do – to
Psalms 107:28-31 (KJV) … cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and He bringeth them out of their distresses. 29 He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still. 30 Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven. 31 Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!
It is a shallow theology that says there will be smooth sailing all the time.We all suffer the storms of life, but God controls the storms, nay, He often engineers the storms for our good!
Evil Grows Daily. We Who Are Christ MUST Grow
in Our Faith To Combat The Evil.
You do not begin to understand WHO JESUS IS until He takes you through a storm. We read:
Mark 6:46-48 (KJV) And when he had sent them away, he departed into a mountain to pray. 47 And when even was come, the ship was in the midst of the sea, and He alone on the land. 48 And He saw them …
I love this picture! Jesus sent the 5000+ away, and then He went to the mountaintop to pray, to seek His Father’s will. Yet as He is praying He has not lost sight of His Children. He is alone on the mountaintop – they are toiling in the sea – but Jesus is watching all the time. He is the Good Shepherd:
John 10:10-11 … I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. 11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.
Jesus Christ gave His life for His people. He died on Calvary’s mountain. He went to a mountaintop to pray, and He went to a mountaintop to die. Christ died for me! This is the grand theme of Scripture, the point of every animal sacrifice throughout the Old Testament. He is the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world. He died for me.
Romans 5:6 For when we were yet without strength, in due time CHRIST DIED for the ungodly.
Christ died for me when I was ungodly. He died for me a sinner.
Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, CHRIST DIED for us.
The Father sent Jesus to save us, and He saved us by laying down His life. We are saved because He took our sin on Himself.
Romans 8:34 Who is he that condemneth? It is CHRIST THAT DIED, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.
And as He was on that mountaintop that day He was praying for those disciples on board that ship. He saw them. His eyes were upon them. Praise be unto God, He our Savior watches over us. His gaze is constant. He knows our struggles, knows our needs.
Our greatest need is to reach out to Jesus in our need. Our greatest need is to call out to Him for help in the midst of trials.
Pride Says “Let’s Do It Ourselves”.
God Says “Call On Me And I’ll Show You The Way”.
Mark 6:48 (KJV) he saw them toiling in rowing; for the wind was contrary unto them: and about the fourth watch of the night he cometh unto them, walking upon the sea, and would have passed by them.
I want you to carefully consider the last FIVE WORDS in this text. It tells us that Jesus WOULD HAVE PASSED BY THEM. Wait a minute! Why would Jesus walk on by?
They didn’t need Jesus.
They were toiling in rowing. The wind was against them. Jesus was praying on the mountain, God approaching God, but these men – instead of praying – TRIED HARDER. Row harder, men. Do more. Strain. We can beat the wind. We can do it. Like Nike, just do it!
I read a humorous little piece called “Letter From A Summer Camp”. It says:
Our Scoutmaster told us to write to our parents in case you saw the flood on TV and got worried. We are okay. Only one of our tents and 2 sleeping bags got washed away. Luckily, none of us got drowned because we were all up on the mountain looking for Adam when it happened. Oh yes, please call Adam’s mother and tell her he is okay. He can’t write because of the cast. I got to ride in one of the search and rescue Jeeps. It was great. We never would have found Adam in the dark if it hadn’t been for the lightning. Scoutmaster Ted got mad at Adam for going on a hike alone without telling anyone. Adam said he did tell him, but it was during the fire so he probably didn’t hear him. Did you know that if you put gas on a fire, the gas will blow up? The wet wood didn’t burn, but one of the tents did and also some of our clothes. Matthew is going to look weird until his hair grows back. This morning all of the guys were diving off the rocks and swimming out to the rapids. Scoutmaster Ted wouldn’t let me because I can’t swim, and Adam was afraid he would sink because of his cast (it’s concrete because we didn’t have any plaster), so he let us take the canoe out. It was great. Guess what? We have all passed our first aid merit badges. When Andrew dived into the lake and cut his arm, we all got to see how a tourniquet works. Steve and I threw up, but Scoutmaster Ted said it was probably just food poisoning from the left-over chicken. He said they got sick that way with food they ate in prison. I’m so glad he got out and became our scoutmaster. I have to go now. Love you all! Bubba.
We get in trouble when we don’t rely on God and let pride have its way.
Pride does not cry out to God. “This is a strong ship. We are strong men. We have strong paddles. Let’s pull together, and we can do it. Let’s rely on our bank account. Let’s rely on our doctors and medicines. Let’s rely on ourselves.
God says of pride:
Proverbs 16:5 ESV Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the Lord; be assured, he will not go unpunished.
Proverbs 29:23 ESV One’s pride will bring him low, but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor.
Proverbs 16:18 ESV Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.
In walking with God we are the followers. When we dance with the Lord, He always leads!
The Bible tells us that …
Mark 6:49-50 (KJV) 49 But when they saw him walking upon the sea, they supposed it had been a spirit, and cried out: 50 For they all saw him, and were troubled …
They cried out to Jesus. Maybe it was for the wrong reason for (they supposed it had been a spirit) but they cried out anyway. And Jesus answered the cry. He said:
Mark 6:50 (KJV) … And immediately he talked with them, and saith unto them, Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid.
IMMEDIATELY Jesus spoke to them, calming their fears. The Bible tells us:
Isaiah 43:2-3 (ESV) When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. 3 For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
The Will Of God Will Not Take You Where
The Grace Of God Will Not Keep You.
The Bible tells us that Jesus …
Mark 6:51-52 (KJV) … went up unto them into the ship; and the wind ceased: and they were sore amazed in themselves beyond measure, and wondered. 52 For they considered not the miracle of the loaves: for their heart was hardened.
They had forgotten the blessings Jesus poured out on them when He fed the 5000+.
“Their heart was hardened”. This is why God brings the blade of trial to the soil of our lives. We forget His blessings, so He brings yet another trial. We struggle, try to do it ourselves, then quit trying and cry out to Jesus.
And He blesses. Oh that we would remember all His benefits, the bounty He has poured on us all. Adrian Rogers once said:
“God has not promised you smooth sailing, but He has promised you a blessed landing.”
God always – ALWAYS keeps His promises.
May God bless your hearts with His Word.