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When the Storms of Life are Raging

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When the Storms of Life are Raging

ð   Dr. Gordon Alles chemist, @ Univ of Cal in 50s-60s, helped pioneered development of insulin. His research led purification for human. Daily work afforded him luxury knowing how to treat diabetes. Yet, in 1962, at home, collapsed - died in Pasadena hospital from complications from diabetes. He had knowledge – more than most, all resources, but failed to act.

ð   One of greatest gaps in many Xian lives is gap between having knowledge of what to do and faith to translate knowledge into action. We’ve seen some pretty impressive storms on news lately. Midwest, Southeast – tornadoes! Storms came in off northwest coast Thurs/Fri. But, truth is…

ð   We deal w/ storms nearly every day! We usually just call it “life”, though! Illness, losing jobs, kids mess up – all sorts of struggles that rage into our lives. We need to remember that our faith in God and His promises must be put to work, not just when things go well, but – and maybe most importantly - when we face trouble. Storms of life get us down and risk drawing us from God when we lose focus on Him and focus instead on storm.

ð   Tonight, 2 examples from Bible that can help us prepare for storms of life:

°     TLet’s look 1st at the close of the Egyptian bondage of the Israelites, maybe see…

I. Why Don’t We Listen

A. In Exodus 3, Moses is instructed by God to return to Egypt and lead Israel out of captivity. God’s reason given in vs 7 (READ). Might expect that Israel’s cry for relief mean that they would be ready to follow. But, what if their problem got worse? What if the storm intensified?! Moses came to Pharaoh and Pharaoh was angry and his insolence. Ex 5:2 (READ). In fact, Pharaoh decided to make it worse. Look at 5:7-8 (RD).

1. Moses returned to God, not really understanding what to do next. Beginning in 5:22 (READ thru 6:5).  Moses wants to know “why” – why is this happening. God’s answer is, “Moses, remember WHO you’re talking to and the why is less relevant. God says, “Trust Me!”

2. Then God instructed him to speak to the COI in 6:6-8 (READ). God appeared to Moses as I AM (Yahweh – Jehovah God!) and He wants Israel to know this as well. He is not A Lord – THE Lord! Moses and Israel were worried about today, as we often are. God wanted Moses to convey the message of what will be!

B. However, where I want us to focus in on vs 9. Ought to be encouraged – they knew of covenant – knew God of their fathers. But, listen (READ). Would not listen because of storms in their lives!

1. “Anguish of spirit” – Hebrew phrase actually gives impression child sobbing, gasping for breath. REAL despair! You can see why their attention was diverted from these wonderful promises – flat-out promises! 7 times God says “I will” do something for you! God was offering freedom!

2. But, they were willing to wallow in their despair - not heed God’s promise cuz they were blinded by their present difficulties!

C. Storms can do that to us. Often reality for me is that I spend too long looking at circumstances of today rather than trusting the one who promises to be with me and comfort me. Storms of life cause us to forget that our focus is to be on God – not on self or self’s situation.

°     T – Now, let’s in NT – fishermen in the boat…during storm, Jesus asks

II. Where is Your Faith?

A. Remember account from Luke 8:22-25; out crossing Sea of Galilee; storm comes up. Disciples fear for lives, wake up Jesus; He calms storm. Interesting, in parallel account in Matt 8:26, He rebukes them 1st, then calms storm. Either way, storm calmed, question asked, “Where is your faith?”

B. Need to remember what all seen from Jesus. Look back thru Luke’s chronological account – ch 5, right after 4 are called, heals leper. Same ch, heals paralyzed man by, “Arise, take up bed and walk.” Ch 6 – man w/withered hand; then says in vs 17 (RD). Ch 7 – heals centurion’s servant; raises widow of Nain’s son from the dead!

1. Fact that Jesus had incredible God-given power is not really new info to these guys! So what’s the difference – why so afraid this time? Difference was – it was THEIR storm!

2. They’re ones in the boat this time! It was their necks on line. They’d watched as Jesus calmed other’s storms, now really close to home. Fortunately – we never do this!!

C. We see God salvage the wreckage of seemingly ruined lives; or we see the storm in another’s life from sickness or sin and so easy to say, “Trust in God to see you thru.” But what about when it’s MY boat sinking? What do we do then? Where is faith?

°      T –What can we gain from these to weather storms? Seems to me the point is just this…we must…

III. Focus On God

A. Heb 12:1-2 (RD – NAS) “fixing” – “to turn the eyes away from other things and fix them on something.” Our attention has to be focused on the “R” we have with God! If God is with you, outside influences cannot enslave you, destroy you, sink your spiritual boat.

B. Paul talks about outside influence in Rom 8:31-39. Look particularly at 31-32 (RD). Person might answer our doubts and fears by encouraging us not to worry because God loves us. But, Paul doesn’t specifically say that. He reminds us of what all God has done!

1. Assurances that God loves us are needful, but not always effective – just like it was not effective with Israel back in Ex 6. They knew God’s love but weren’t ready to give up control and realize His love. They were too focused on their dilemma!

2. So, what Paul does, in Rom 8, is reinforce God’s love for us – care for us, is remind of the fact that He loved us enough to give up His son for us. So – what would He keep from us?

C. James says in Jms 1:2-3 (READ). Consider it joy when storms come cuz it’s making your faith stronger!

1. Koi – fish credited to Japanese, but all over world. Type of carp. Most unusual aspect is how grow. Can grow up to 3’ or just few inches. Growth determined by size of pond and how much fed – large pond, well-fed, fish is large; small pond, fed less, fish remain small.

2. Faith has koi-like qualities - grows or remains small based on environ we keep it and how much we feed it. Never tested, never put to work, faith stay small. But - stretch faith, trust God and all His promises - end up with a larger view of God and an ever-increasing faith.

3. Outside influences cannot take away eternity as long as you weather storm with God by your side! (READ Rom 8:38-39). Yes, make life more difficult, but they cannot defeat you unless you walk away from the faith you have in God.

°     TAs noticed in He 12, “fixing eyes on Christ” – didn’t read vs 3 (READ)

IV. Consider Example of Christ

A. Jesus suffered more storms than any of us ever will. He knew God’s charge for Him in this time on earth. Knew His life was a one-way ticket to the cross, yet, He was victorious because His focus was on God’s eternal plan – not right now!

B. Jesus followed the will of the Father from Nazareth to Jerusalem, from baptism to betrayal. Stayed in line with God even up to cross when He cries out, “It is finished” – plan done! Jesus is the ultimate example of steadfast faith in God to see us through!

C. In your life, God has a plan and a purpose. Through His word He comes along beside us to reassure us. We may be asking, “Why God?” And He responds, “Not why – but who; who has your trust? I am the one to trust – I AM Lord.

1. Remember Jesus & apostles out on that boat on Sea of Galilee? Remember what He asked them? “Where is your faith?” Then, He handled it. He says, “You should’ve remembered who’s in boat.”

2. Next time in storm – some life-shaking crisis, remember that Christ has to be in the boat first! And when waves crash against the boat and it looks like all is lost and He asks, “Where is your faith?” You can say – “With you Lord!”

ð   You may have heard this song before – “Stand By Me” – not Ben E. King’s – there’s a version of it as #415 in song book. (RD) – says it all, doesn’t it?

ð   Whether it’s Israel of old, or some fishermen in boat, point is the same – our focus has to be on God, who stands beside us! And no matter how severe the storm may be, God will provide. Jesus is our great example of that type of faith.

ð   Not going to pretend it’s easy. But, it IS our best hope in times of struggle. We need to remember that our faith in God and His promises have GOT to be put to work when we face trouble. Seek His will from His word and He’s promised He’ll see us through the greatest storm.

ð   He asks first that you come to Him in obedient faith. Faith that says, “I see your plan for salvation, maybe don’t fully grasp, but I want to learn – to obey.” That faith takes the plunge into the waters of baptism to secure “R” with God. Ready? Let’s take care of that tonight so you can have that faith in storms. If strayed, struggling – let your family help in your storm! Let us pray.

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