By Stewart Holloway
Life brings storms.
Experience teaches you that you are either in a storm, coming out of a storm, or eventually going to head into a storm.
How can you manage these times in life? Enter John 6:16-24.
The disciples of Jesus found themselves in a ferocious storm. The fierce nature of the storm combined with their experience of seeing what they thought was a ghost on the water caused them to freak out.
The storms of life are scary. Most of them come upon us rather fast and furious.
You have no warning before you get the call about that accident. You have no time to prepare when you walk in and get that pink slip because the company is downsizing. You can’t make a plan when you suddenly get a life-threatening diagnosis.
The storm rages. The thunder crashes, and the waves crash in before you can even get a grip on the situation.
There are a couple of reasons storms come into our lives. Sometimes we are caught in a storm because we have disobeyed the Lord.
The story of Jonah comes to mind. Sin destroys. It can destroy our health, our families, our businesses, and more. Sin always brings a storm.
Other times, however, we are caught in a storm even though we have obeyed the Lord. That’s the case for these disciples.
As best we can tell from the gospel evidence, Jesus told the disciples to go on ahead of Him. These guys are exactly where they are supposed to be doing exactly what Jesus told them to do – and they get walloped by a storm! Sometimes storms come even though we are walking with the Lord.
What do we do when we are caught in a storm of life? Yesterday’s Focus Points were as follows:
- Jesus will come to you in your storm. You can count on it. As He did for the disciples, Jesus will walk through the storm to you. He doesn’t always come when you want Him to, but He will come at the righttime. Jesus always comes when He can bring the maximum impact.
- Jesus will speak to you in your storm. Jesus came and He spoke, “It is I. Do not be afraid.” Notice He didn’t say, “Do not be afraid,” before he said, “It is I.” You can’t experience the word of Jesus before you have the presence of Jesus. The words “be not afraid” in our ears are meaningless without the presence of Jesus in our hearts.
- Let Jesus in and focus on Him instead of your storm. The disciples were willing to let Jesus into the boat. When you are in the midst of a storm and Jesus comes to you and speaks to you, be willingly to let Him in your boat. He can only do so much from outside, but if you will let Him in He can do a great work.
In John’s account, Jesus doesn’t calm the storm. Instead, the storm seems to keep on raging.
Sometimes Jesus stills the storm. Sometimes He helps us walk through it. That seems to be what He does here. John says and immediately the boat reached the shore.
That does not mean that they suddenly were at land. It means that once Jesus was in the boat, the storm wasn’t the focus; Jesus was the focus. When Jesus is the focus, we can walk through the storm.’
Stewart Holloway is pastor of First Baptist Church in Pineville.