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SLEEPING THROUGH THE STORM

Date: 
June 24, 2018
Speaker: 
Rev. Terry Martinson

TRUSTING GOD                                    June 24, 2018                                      Mark 4:35-41

SLEEPING THROUGH THE STORM

THEME: When the storms of life hit, we can either panic or trust God… God stills life’s storms.

 

INTRODUCTION

  • I don’t claim to be sailor, though I learned how to sail in my teenage years…
  • I don’t claim to be a fisherman, but I am jealous of fishermen like Jim Van Baalen and Dave Crocker who know the secrets to land the really big fish…
  • I have a healthy respect for the sea… I can’t imagine anything more terrifying than being caught on the water in the midst of a storm…
  • Perhaps you have read the book, The Perfect Storm or seen the movie with the same title.
    • The book was frightening… the movie was horrifying…
    • The Perfect Storm is the true story of the Andrea Gail, a 70’ swordfish boat sailing out of Gloucester that was caught at sea by “The Halloween Nor’Easter,” a ferocious storm in the late fall of 1991…
    • The storm battered the Atlantic Coast with heavy rain, gale force winds, and pounding surf, causing coastal flooding from Nova Scotia to New Jersey…
    • The heavy seas, huge waves, and furious wind of “the perfect storm” finally sunk the Andrea Gail after tossing it around like a tiny piece of driftwood for hours, claiming the lives of the entire crew…
    • After reading the book, I watched the movie with my heart in my throat… it was terrifying
  • I wonder if the disciples of Jesus didn’t feel that same terror, the same sense of helplessness,  that the crew of the Andrea Gail felt, as they were being tossed and blown on the Lake of Galilee while Jesus slept soundly in the stern of their storm battered fishing boat…
  • How could he sleep through the storm?

 

THE STORY

  • It had been a long day for Jesus and his disciples…
    • Jesus had spent much of the day teaching by the side of the lake… he needed to rest… he needed to pull away from the crowd that was pushing in upon him…
    • Jesus and the twelve set out from the shore in a small fishing boat, perhaps piloted by Simon Peter, an experienced sailor and fisherman…
    • They didn’t push away from the shore in a storm – no wise sailor would do that…
    • I picture the sun beginning to set, but still warming the faces of the little crew as they set out across the Sea of Galilee under the power of a small sail…
    • The noise of the crowd faded behind them as they headed for their retreat…
    • The gentle rocking of the boat quickly lulled Jesus to sleep in the stern of the boat…
    • As the sun faded, the moon and the stars became more visible…
  • The Sea of Galilee is really a lake, about 13 miles long and 7 miles wide… in spots it is quite deep… it is surrounded by mountains…
  • It was not unusual for Jesus to crisscross the lake with his disciples, teaching and healing near the little villages that dotted the shore… wherever he went, he attracted a crowd…
  • The Sea of Galilee is not always safe, even for experienced fishermen like Simon and Andrew, James and John, who made their living from the sea.
    • Because the lake is so far below sea level and is surrounded by tall mountains, sudden storms often come over the tops of the mountain and crash down upon the water without warning, whipping up 20 foot waves that toss the boats about…
    • Lowering the sail quickly and bailing frantically often failed to keep a small boat afloat…
  • It was a fast-moving storm, one that came out of the blue with terrifying suddenness that threatened to capsize the boat that held Jesus and his disciples…
    • The panicking disciples awakened Jesus from his sound sleep crying, “Master, don’t you care that we are about to die?”
    • Jesus stood in the stern of the boat and said, “Peace. Be still!”
    • Immediately the wind ceased and there was dead calm.
    • Can you picture the faces of the twelve? They didn’t know whether to be more afraid of the storm or the One who calmed the sea…
  • Jesus said to his disciples – “Why were you afraid?”
    • He wasn’t angry with them, but he was disappointed by their lack of faith…
    • He wanted them to trust him, but they were still trying to put the pieces of the puzzle together… they were still trying to understand who he was… they could not comprehend his power… but the pieces were beginning to fall into place.

 

THE STORMS OF LIFE

  • Maybe you can relate to this story… everything in your life is going along smoothly, then suddenly, out of the blue, the storms of life hit you hard and your life is shattered – someone dies, a job is lost, a child or grandchild gets into trouble, or a relationship ends without warning…
  • You may be tempted to cry out, “God, don’t you care that I am in trouble, serious trouble?”
    • Where is God when we need God the most?
    • Is God asleep?
    • Has God turned his back to us?
    • Does God really love us and care about our wellbeing?   (Lavin)
  • Life is not always smooth sailing…
  • What do you do when you are blindsided by one of life’s storms? What happens to your faith? Does it get stronger or does it crumble?
  • What happens to faith in the ICU of the hospital, at the funeral home, in a troubled family, or in a place where there is no rest, no peace? (Shaner)
  • Christians, like everyone else, are battered by the storms of life…
  • The promise of God isn’t that we will avoid life’s storms, but that we can make it through the storms through the power and the presence of God in our lives…
  • We never go through a storm without God by our side!
  • There is a very fine line between faith and fear…
    • When the storms of life hit, we have a choice – we can panic or we can trust God…
    • We can go to pieces or we can draw upon that which we learned when things were calm (Shaner)

 

TRUSTING GOD

  • Today’s reading from the Gospel of Mark always reminds me of this chorus: put your hand in the hand of the man who stilled the water… put your hand in the hand of the man who calmed the sea…
  • As we sail through life, it’s important to know who’s boat we are in and who is in our boat… we need to trust the One who calms the sea…
  • When the World Council of Churches was formed, the leaders wanted a logo to identify the whole family of Christ – they chose a fishing boat with a cross as its mast – a reminder that Christians are people who are in the same boat with Jesus. (Carter)
  • When we are in the same boat with Jesus, we will still be pounded by the storms of life, but the storms will not overcome us…
  • In life we are surrounded by powers that we can not control, but our God can bring us peace, for our God, our Savior Jesus Christ, is able to still the storms of life.
  • The story from Mark’s Gospel reminds us that:
    • The storms of life can come upon us suddenly…
    • The storms of life can make us question God…
    • The storms of life have the power to paralyze us with fear unless we know the One who is in the boat with us…  (Blair)
  • To journey with Jesus is to journey in peace…  (Barclay)
  • There is a verse from Psalm 46 that captures the essence of our faith: Be still, and know that I am God. (Psalm 46:10)
    • Jesus can still the storm when our hearts are stricken with grief…
    • Jesus can give us peace when we are pounded by problems…
    • Jesus can calm our spirits when the winds of anxiety are whipping around us…
  • We are very, very human, very, very fragile… it’s much easier to panic in the face of a storm than it is to lean into the wind with faith.
  • When the storms of life hit, I would suggest that we do just what the disciples did on the Sea of Galilee:
    • Admit that we are powerless to go through the storm alone…
    • Ask God for help…
    • Put our hand in the hand of the man who calmed the sea…
  • God will take care of you….

 

Sermon Seeds:

            Life Application Bible Commentary – Mark – published by Tyndale

            Daily Study Bible – Mark –  William Barclay

            Sleeping Through The Storm – a sermon by Steve Shaner

            The Little Boat – a sermon by Ron Lavin

            Calming of the Tempest – a sermon by Brett Blair and Staff

            Walking Through A Storm – a sermon by Leonard H. Budd

            Shouting At a Storm – a sermon by William G. Carter

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