We return this Sunday to Matthew 14:22-33 as the basis for the message. Once again, we’ll take this passage where Jesus walks on the water to his disciples who are caught in a storm on the Sea of Galilee. I like something I recently heard by Pastor Steven Furtick about this storm story. Furtick says, “Funny how my view of what is a storm has changed over time.” I think all of us know exactly what he means. A stormy time in life for us used to be the disappointment if you didn’t get to hangout where all your friends were gathering. A storm was not getting the starting position on your ball team. A storm for you might have been when the television network replaced your football game with televising The Wonderful World of Heidi. As life changes, what we consider to be a storm in life also changes. Hopefully with maturity, what we considered a storm of life really is a storm. It is also reasonable to conclude that over time God teaches us how to tap into his strength and courage to confront and cope with the real storms of life. I am reminded of my growth in trusting God with life storms through my devotional readings of scripture. I strive to read three chapters in the Bible each day. I write the date after reading the third chapter to know where to begin my next devotional reading. Recently I came across an old date from ten years ago. The date reminded me of a season of life that was stormy. The date also reminded me of the satisfaction of realizing that God provided strength and courage to get through that storm.
This week we focus on what Jesus said to his disciples when he came to them in their storm and heard them mistake him for being a ghost as He drew near to their boat. The Bible says, “But immediately, Jesus spoke to them and said, take heart (courage), it is I; do not be afraid.”v.27 There are some principles in that verse for how God can help us through the storms of living that cause fear. Jesus “immediately” addressed the misunderstanding driving their fear. God doesn’t want us to allow a small cloud of fear to hang around and build into a thunderstorm – so deal with the fear sooner; rather than later. Examine it. Confront it. Describe it, but whatever we do, don’t let it just be there growing in darkness and intensity. Jesus also said, “take heart” or “take courage.” His response reminds me of when he said, “Take up your cross and follow me.” The word “take” would indicate he was calling his disciples to make choices in their storm, their moment of fear. Yes, our concept of what constitutes a life storm changes over time. God also desires us to grow in faith and understanding in how we cope with those storms and how we can encourage others to cope. See you Sunday as we continue our sermon series on this great passage from the fourteenth chapter of Matthew and how Jesus helps us in our storms.
It’s All about Him!