I once was asked to chair a meeting at a church in Ohio. The church was without a pastor and there was some contention among the leadership. I presume I was asked to do this because of my peacemaker personality. Don’t they realize that peacemakers hate conflict? That meeting had plenty of conflict. Some members who had left the church a year before came back to stir up their opinion again.
But I knew where the majority stood, and I had a little understanding of the culture in that church. I had a sense of what needed to happen to lead that church into unity, and certain people had to leave for that to happen. So I answered questions as diplomatically as I could, and did what I needed to do. I made some people mad, but the church survived and is thriving today with a new pastor who is still there 10 years later.
Some conflict is good for us. It gives us a wealth of experience so we can do it better the next time. Just make sure you ask God to be by your side and tell you when to shut up.
My Dad had a dead tree on the edge of his property. He gave me the job of digging up the stump. I was just a teenager and that was a big stump. I had the tools to dig and chop, but there was no room to work down in that hole. Dad had an old railroad jack and an old chain. I wrapped the chain around one of the roots and tried to jack that root out. The chain snapped. There was a weak link in the chain and that’s where it gave way. Dad finally got a truck driver, Red Houlton, to yank that stump out of the ground.
Chains are designed to take a lot of weight before they break. But they’ll always break at the weakest link. Its like that in our lives. We’re pretty strong until we come to that weak link area; that’s where we keep stumbling. The only way to fix a weak link is to remove it and replace it with a stronger one. Jesus becomes our replacement link when we trust Him.
“In fear and amazement they asked one another, ‘Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey Him’” (Luke 25b).
These were the disciples of the Lord asking who He was. And we’re in Chapter 8 of Luke already. Jesus had healed many and raised a young man from the dead. But no one had ever seen someone command the weather like this. They were all amazed. Having their eyes opened made them ask the ultimate question: ‘Who is this?’ Its the same question we’re still asking today.
The take home for us is their observation that Jesus commands everything in nature. He calms the storms in life by commanding them. Jesus told Nicodemus that the Spirit was like the wind. And here we learn that Jesus commands the wind. The disciples had nothing to worry about. And neither do you. Walk by faith.
“‘Where is your faith?’ He [Jesus] asked His disciples” (Luke 8:25a).
Jesus had led the disciples into a storm (vv. 22-23). While they panicked, He slept. We all want to be in control of our lives. Many of us are known by our friends as “control freaks” because we go to great lengths to stay in control of every aspect of our lives. But faith is relinquishing control of our lives to Jesus Christ. To make Him Lord means we surrender all control. How are you doing with that challenge?
When the disciples declared their faith by saying, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!” (v. 24), Jesus immediately stepped into the fray and calmed the storm. His first response is not to let them drown because of their lack of faith. His first response was to calm the storm. Now that the storm was calmed Jesus stepped into the real heart of the matter and used the experience as a teaching tool to guide the disciples whom Jesus loved.
He loves you. He doesn’t want to harm you. But He asks, Where is your faith? Demonstrate it.
“He [Jesus] got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm” (Luke 8:24b).
Jesus had been deep in sleep from an overtaxed schedule. Demands from everyone had taken a toll on his physical body. We don’t know if we was having ‘sweet dreams’ or not, but He was in the process of renewing His strength. But the disciples interrupted that sleep with one more need: they were all gonna die.
Jesus spoke directly to the wind and raging waters. I don’t believe He was trying to show off His spiritual power here. He was removing the threat that put fear in the hearts of the disciples. I believe that’s exactly what Jesus does in our lives today. If we bring our fears and doubts to Him, He goes to work on the source of the fear. He calms the storms that cause us to doubt.
And note that the storm subsided. That means the cause of the problem melted away, right before their eyes. Had any storms calmed lately?
“The disciples went and woke Him, saying, ‘Master, Master, we’re going to drown!’” (Luke 8:24a).
Jesus, clearly exhausted, invited His disciples to go to the other side. On the journey, a terrible storm came upon them in the sea, threatening their lives. Its times like these that test our faith. Jesus was sleeping during this dangerous storm, at peace with the Lord and the world.
The disciples, however, were in a different mindset. They woke Jesus out of a sound sleep. They were obviously insecure and panicked. Ever been there? When we feel scared like that we tend to rush to others for help. We want support. We want companionship with someone else who can help us and understand. But beware that those times are testing times. What you speak out to others reveals your faith.
“Master, Master, we’re going to drown!” There was no hiding their faith. And there’s no hiding yours. When the testing time arrives, we tend to speak our faith right out loud, for all to hear. They had full confidence they were all going to die. What are you speaking out of your mouth for others, including Satan, to hear? Do you speak of death, failure, and fear? Or do you speak like a child of God who knows your life is in God’s hands? The Bible says there is no weapon formed against us that can prosper, and that includes storms. Where is your faith?
“As they sailed, he [Jesus] fell asleep. A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger” (Luke 8:23).
Ever been in great danger? It can be a scarey. Danger means you could be hurt. And this was “great danger“, meaning they could lose their lives.
Jesus had invited his disciples to join him in going to the other side. Jesus is the Son of God, which means He was omniscient (all knowing). Do you think maybe Jesus knew a storm might be coming? Yet He led His disciples right into that storm. The point for us is that your Lord knows all about the storms that periodically blow into our lives. But He goes into the storm with us.
And note that Jesus promptly fell asleep. There was so much demand on His life that there was little getting away from the pressures on Him. When He could get some shut-eye, He took it. How do you do at sleeping when you’re in the middle of a storm?
Note also, that if the boat was being “swamped“, where did Jesus find to stay dry and get that needed rest? The point is here that He didn’t need to have everything comfortable and going His way; neither do you. Jesus could relax right in the middle of the storm because He knew His life was in God’s hands. Do you?