What should we do when adversity hits us face on? We all have had our fair share
of these "frustrations". These storms can be fearful, but they don't have to be.
Truly, they are opportunities for us to grow like never before. Imagine David
laying peacefully in the fields, day in and day out. Would he have become King
David the way he was portrayed in the Old Testament if this had continued?
But then, it's true that storms take us unawares, at the most inopportune moments. Even Jesus' disciples had their fair share: "A huge storm came up. Waves poured into the boat, threatening to sink it." (Mark 4:37, MSG)
This was not a normal storm. It was threatening the lives of all on board. Were they doomed beyond despair? How would we have reacted if we were in that same boat? "Get me out of here!"
"You are welcome to leave the boat if you wish!"
Interestingly enough, "Jesus was in the stern, head on a pillow, sleeping" (Mark 4:38a, MSG)! This vicious storm had no impact on Him. Why? First, because he trusted fully in our Father; but also, this storm was an opportunity for his disciples to experience our Heavenly Father.
"They roused him, saying, 'Teacher, is it nothing to you that we're going down?'" (Mark 4:38b, MSG)
Many would have applauded the disciples for doing so. "That's the way to do it!" Isn't our job to beg our Father for our circumstances to change, so that we can live unhindered?
Jesus wouldn't agree. After stilling the storm, "Jesus reprimanded the disciples: 'Why are you such cowards? Don't you have any faith at all?'" (Mark 4:40, MSG) In other words, the storm was an opportunity for his disciples to learn from our Heavenly Father to shine instead of cowering in fear.
Jesus knew beyond a doubt that His Father would never allow a storm without providing the apparatus to still it. He permits difficulties in our lives so that we can learn how to defeat them. We weren't supposed to cower whenever adversity shows up in our neighborhood. The tools are with us in our "boat"; however, during those moments of distress, the evil one will do anything in his power for us to forget about these so that our faith will fail instead of shine.
Prayer works, but not when we cower in a boat without hope. Where is our faith? Many truly believe that our Father will show up at the right time to rescue us, and He always does. However, so many times, He has wanted to deliver us long before this; but He can't, because we fail to use the tools He gives us.
If Jesus sleeps during the storms, we have nothing to worry about. God gave us authority through faith to withstand our tribulations. He will see us through: "In Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority." (Col 2:10, NIV2) We have that fullness through Christ to face our circumstances with a smile. After all, "He is the head over every power and authority"! Cowering in a boat and praying for mercy isn't a sign of faith, but of cowardice!
Our Father is training us to learn how to be victorious, just as King David was. When we have adversities, we can rest assured that our Father has given us all the tools that we need to face them victoriously. We are equipped for each storm of our life: "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." (John 16:33, NIV2) We are overcomers thanks to Jesus. Wow! Nothing should faze us!
Have problems with your knees? Do you have a wayward son? Are you facing unemployment? How will you face these storms?
When I was young, my best friend was my cousin. We were like brother and sister, inseparable. As time flew by, things gradually changed. I was away at seminary when she became wayward, enjoying the pleasures of "forbidden fruit". Whenever I came home, I tried to reach her, but without success. We were still friends, but even that eventually evaporated into nothingness.
When her dad passed away, she was even more distant than ever. My emails were left unanswered. Nonetheless, I didn't give up praying for her.
Just a few days ago, I realized I should be praying for reconciliation, because reconciliation is important to my Heavenly Father. Two days later, out of the blue, I received an email from her. She wanted to keep in touch with me, and she began to share what she is going through. There is always hope! I had neglected the tools my Father had given me. No more! It is time to bring this child that our Father loves dearly back home.
Storms are truly opportunities to experience our Father fully. Would we prefer to cower in our own boat? Or to smile victoriously whenever the opportunity shows up?
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." (Jas 1:2-4, NIV2)
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