As we begin a new year, I can predict with one hundred percent accuracy that sometime during the next 12 months you are going to experience difficulty. You will be sailing through life quite comfortably when out of nowhere a storm arises. The doctor tells you that you have cancer; your mate informs you that he no longer wishes to remain married to you; an employer notifies you that your services are no longer needed; an attorney informs you that you are being sued; or a friend tells you that your child is involved in illegal or immoral activities.
How can you survive such a storm? In Luke 8:22-25, I find four important principles for surviving the storms of life.
1. Storms are natural. Expect them.
While none of us welcomes difficulties, we should not be surprised by them (1 Peter 4:12-13). Because we are imperfect human beings in a sin-infected world difficulties are going to be part of our regular experience. Sometimes the storms we experience are of our own making, because of our disobedience to God. But sometimes it is our obedience to God that leads us into a storm. That was certainly the case here. In this story, Jesus instructed them to get into the boat in order to go to the other side. Because they obeyed the Lord’s command they entered into the storm.
One of the greatest lies about the Christian life is the idea that being a Christian exempts you from problems. If anything, being an obedient Christian guarantees you are going to have problems. As you try to obey the Lord’s commands you will go against the grain of this world, creating friction.
2. God is aware of our storm. Call on Him.
Not only was Jesus aware of the storm, He was the one who prepared the storm. If indeed, Jesus is God then it means He is the One who has full authority over the wind and the waves. But this confuses a lot of Christians. They have been taught that God has nothing to do with the evil things in the world or in our individual worlds.
Because I believe in a God who is compassionate and gracious, abounding in loving-kindness as Psalm 103:8 claims, I then must believe that these storms that invade my life have a good, not evil purpose, even though at the time I may not understand what that purpose is. God is aware of my situation, because He has planned my situation. He doesn’t cause every storm, but He is sovereignly in control of the wind and waves. Each of these circumstances pass through His hand first.
3. Storms are opportunities for growth. Welcome them.
Satan tempts us to destroy us. God tests us to strengthen us. And quite honestly, the only way our faith is strengthened is upon the anvil of problems or through storms (Luke 22:31-32). The value of storms is that, hopefully, like the disciples they drive us toward Jesus rather than away from Jesus. That is why we can actually welcome them. (James 1:2-4)
4. God will deliver us through the storm. Trust Him.
We often find ourselves in the middle of a crisis pleading with God to take us out of the problem. Rarely does He do that. Instead He walks with us through the storm (Isaiah 43:2).
Jesus Christ has already gone before us and passed into heaven. No matter how uncertain, turbulent, or precarious your life becomes, you are tied to Him. He is carefully guiding you through those circumstances that could shipwreck your life, assuring you that one day you will safely arrive on the other side.
Join us on Sundays to study the gospel of Luke!
Adapted from “Secrets for Surviving Storms” by Dr. Robert Jeffress. Listen/watch to the full sermon HERE.