Last week I watched WAFBEC 2016, a program organised by The Covenant Christian Centre and one of the ministers at the program talked about the period in his life when he faced a storm. As he told his story it brought back the times I had also faced storms in my life, the most recent being last year. He made reference to the scripture in the Gospels while telling us his story and I realised that even though I had read this scripture so many times, I got a fresh revelation of it that day.
I am sure we are all familiar with the story. Jesus had instructed His disciples to go over to the other side of the river. He got into the boat and immediately fell asleep presumably because He was tired (Don’t forget, Jesus was fully human when He was on earth). Now on the way, they got into a wild storm because we were told the water was coming into the boat so fast they feared for their lives. They all couldn’t believe Jesus was sleeping peacefully in that storm and woke Him up amazed that He could sleep while they were heading for death. The story ends by telling us that Jesus rebuked the wind, which calmed the storm and then questioned their faith.
I remember the first time I read this passage I questioned their faith as well (I was judgemental) when Jesus was on the boat with them and had performed so many miracles before that time. As I became more mature as a Christian I grew less judgemental of them but still felt I would have been more relaxed because I had Jesus in my boat. It wasn’t until I heard this minister’s story that I fully became aware of what would have been happening to the disciples at that time and why if I were with them on the boat that day, I probably would have been the one shouting the loudest. The disciples were in what we can probably characterise today as the type of storm that makes the developed countries put out “Amber alerts”. I am sure this storm will have been given the highest alert possible, warning people to stay off roads. The type of storm that causes even buildings to be damaged. And like we have seen in recent times, even whole towns evacuated. You can imagine being in a small to medium-sized boat on the water when this kind of storm hits. Water filling the boat, the wind tossing the boat up and down, it must have been the most frightening experience of their lives.
Yes, Jesus was in the boat but the last thing they would remember at that time was a miracle He just performed because they were staring death in the face. As I began to imagine what they would have gone through, I thought about the times in the past I had faced circumstances in life that brought so much chaos in my life that I started to wonder why God didn’t intervene, case in point 2005, too much happened that year that made me truly question the existence of God, but thanks be to God, I am alive and standing today as one of His very proud Ambassadors here on earth.. I thought about the disciples looking at Jesus sleeping and wondering why the storm did not disturb His sleep and how they must have felt He didn’t seem to care if they perished. A number of us have gone through such situations in life; some of us might even be going through such an experience now, where we are wondering if Jesus is asleep. We are wondering why with all the tears we are shedding and all the hurt and pain we are going through, He is not intervening and does not seem to care about what we are going through. Some of us are even beginning to question if He really exists and feel abandoned by Him. This must have been the same way the disciples felt that day.
But I have good news for you, He has not abandoned you nor is He insensitive to your plight. He knows what He is doing and wants us to have faith in Him. Trouble and chaos test our faith and we have stories like this and our own personal testimonies to help us stay focused and strong in faith in times of chaos. We have to believe that with Jesus in us (a mystery that is revealed now to us) no circumstance can overcome us. The storms of life cannot overwhelm Jesus so automatically it cannot overwhelm us because He lives in us and we carry Him everywhere we go. Storms of life will come but we must remember that we carry the One that has power over any storm or fire in us and He created them anyway so He has power over them. If water cannot drown Jesus, or fire burns Him, then you cannot be drowned or burnt because He lives in you. I remember the same Minister at the conference said, “We believe God and live or doubt Him and die”, I thought Rhema!!! A man who doubts The Lord will never receive anything from Him (James 1:6-8). Jesus knew who He was and so could perform all the miracles He performed even though He was fully human. He has told us who we are and we have to believe so we can live a victorious life here on earth, where the miracles we perform will be greater than His.
Brethren, I rebuked the wind that caused my storm last year because I have Jesus living in me. Yes, initially I panicked, and then the Holy Spirit, my Teacher, reminded me who I am in Christ. I want to say here boldly that at no point did I feel abandoned by Him. I actually felt His overwhelming love for me more during that period than ever before because I turned my eyes immediately to Him when I got into the storm. It was His love for me that actually gave me the confidence to say aloud to the world “This too shall pass.” After a few days of turbulence, the wind subsided and calmness took over the chaos. It is important for us to understand the meaning of the mystery revealed to us, which is Christ in me, the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27).
I declare and decree that when I pass through the waters, Jesus will be with me, and through the rivers, they shall not overflow me. When I walk through the fire, I shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch me because Christ in me gives me this assurance and I make my boast in Him. AMEN.
UNDER GRACE UNDER MERCY