Theology for Unexpected Storms - Radical

Theology for Unexpected Storms

In this message on Mark 4:35–41, Pastor Jim Shaddix reminds us that our theology prepares us for the hardship of life. We ought to study the Scriptures deeply to prepare us for suffering.

  1. Praise Jesus as the God of the universe, Lord over all creation.
  2. Repent of any failure to believe who Jesus is or what he has said.
  3. Ask Jesus to help you in a current crisis, acknowledging his deity.
  4. Yield yourself afresh to Jesus’ lordship over your current crisis.

Open your Bible to Mark 4. In just a moment, I’ll read verse 35 through the end of the chapter. Grab the Worship Guide and the notes page that’s in there. Keep that handy. We’ll use that to kind of navigate our way through this passage in just a moment. So you obviously survived the great storm of 2014, right? I feel like we ought to get some t-shirts or something. You know, “I Survived the Storm,” right? How many of you were caught off guard by that … it snuck up on you and you didn’t know it was here? Okay, so you could be a meteorologist in Birmingham, right? Just out of curiosity, I hope there aren’t as many hands on this one, but did anybody find themselves in the midst of that storm in a scary situation, in difficult and anxious circumstances? Did anyone’s kids have to spend the night at school, so that you were separated from them? You know there were a lot of people in Birmingham who found themselves in those kinds of situations. I’m glad that all of you made it through that and that you are able to be here today.

I completely missed it. I was in Nashville for some meetings through the whole thing. Flights were cancelled coming back into Birmingham, so I couldn’t get back in until things had really cleared, but I was tracking with the storm, you know, on news feeds and just reading weather reports … conversations with my wife, the Twitter reports from some of you, etc. I was just kind of keeping up with it as it kind of unfolded here. Many of you were in the midst of it. And I remember thinking while I was kind of watching all of that unfold and hearing the reports, about two things it reminded me of.

One was El Nino. How many of you remember El Nino from several years ago? I mean … when you talk about unexpected weather … it was like every day and it didn’t matter where it was on the planet, there was something that people weren’t ready for that was connected to El Nino. So every time we’d turn on the television, every time we read a news report, they were blaming something on El Nino. In fact, it got ridiculous. It got to where we were blaming stuff on El Nino that didn’t have to do with the weather. Computer crash–El Nino. Bad hair day–El Nino. Rising crime rate–El Nino. I remember that my kids got in the action. I remember walking into one of my son’s rooms–they were little at the time–and I said, “Your room looks like a tornado hit it.” He looked at me and said, “El Nino.” It’s like everything was El Nino, so I remember, just in my ignorance, thinking, “Who is this guy that we’re blaming everything on?”

So I looked it up on the internet and discovered what many of you know. El Nino is actually a term that in the Spanish language means, “boy child” or “little one.” In South America, it’s a term that’s actually associated with the Christ child. They call the Christ child, “El Nino.” Some Peruvian fisherman adopted the term and associated it with the warm currents that visited their coastline around Christmas time. It brought really good fishing and so they associated it with a gift from God, the salvation that God brings. But not only did it bring good fishing, it brought these crazy weather patterns and unexpected storms, it seems, over a large part of the globe.

Well, the second thing that I was reminded about, just processing that as I just kind of tracked the storms here, was this passage in Mark’s Gospel. Because, you see, El Nino was not the first time that some unexpected weather patterns were associated with Jesus Christ. Follow along as I read this text, beginning with verse 35 in Mark 4. This is the passage that we read this week in our daily Bible reading. If you’re keeping up with the schedule, I think it would have been part of yesterday’s reading.

On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was.

Probably a reference to the fact that at the beginning of the chapter, Jesus was teaching from a boat, out a little ways from the shore, and Mark tells us here that they just kind of took off from there and started on this journey.

And other boats were with him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”

Two Problems…

I want to show you in this text, two problems. And then I want you to see one response, the one reaction that the disciples had to these two problems. By the way, they’re not problems unlike we deal with in our day and time and the reaction is not unlike what most of us have when we encounter similar types of problems. And then, I want to put forth two questions that I hope we answer in such a way that they lead us to a particular response. So that’s kind of the outline and the development. That’s kind of where we’re going.

All of this centers around Jesus’ encounter with this storm. And I believe when we look at the Word of God, we find some very encouraging words for us when we find ourselves going up against stuff that life throws at us that we were not expecting. So I don’t know if you’re there this morning. If you’re not there today, you’ve been there or you will be there. It’s just part of life.

Physical: A raging storm

So let’s start with the two problems. One of the problems is physical and one of the problems is spiritual. The physical problem is obviously a raging storm. Now look at your Bible there. You see that in verse 37. “A great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat so that the boat was already filling.” They start out on this journey and this storm comes. We need to understand that this was not and is not today an unusual occurrence on the Sea of Galilee. Some of you have been there and you know that the sea is surrounded by mountains on most sides. It creates kind of a bowl effect. I remember seeing this several years ago when I was there and these unexpected squalls, which the sea is infamous for, can come into that bowl and swirl around unannounced and unexpected and begin to throw that sea into chaos. It’s just part of the nature of it.

And so this was something that these disciples and Jesus encountered that day, but nonetheless it created a very challenging situation for them. These were real, tangible, difficult, unexpected circumstances that they were in. And let me just say that that in and of itself is indicative of what happens in life sometimes for us, right? Stuff that just in an instance … it wasn’t there and all of the sudden it’s there. We didn’t sign up for it. Real, tangible, difficult circumstances that we find ourselves in. So that’s the physical problem–this raging storm.

Spiritual: A resting Savior

The second problem is the spiritual one. This is the biggie. Because what you see at the beginning of verse 38 is a resting Savior. Look at the Scripture. It says, “But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion.” (Mark 4:38)

Jesus is taking a nap. Now when you read narrative literature in the Bible—really narrative or story literature anywhere–we know the nature of it and we know things to look for, right? We’re looking for the characters that are in the story. We look for the scenes. We notice plot beginning to develop. But we know that right at the heart of a story is a conflict. It’s tension. It’s why, when you watch a drama on television—your favorite television show, a crime show or something–there’s always something that’s creating tension in it. It creates a knot in the pit of our stomachs and it’s crying out to be resolved. Well, I want to tell you something: the conflict in this story is not the storm. The storms were common on Galilee. They still are today. It was part of life. This is the problem: Jesus was sleeping while the disciples felt like they were going down. That was the problem, and when you stop and think about it, it makes sense. Here we are going along on this story and there’s a storm … and that’s a problem because we know we can identify with unexpected circumstances. But when you get to verse 38 and you notice that Mark says that Jesus was asleep on a cushion in the stern of the boat … that’s a problem.

Have you ever found yourself in the middle of one of those journeys? In circumstances that you weren’t expecting? And it came in an instant. They weren’t there a little bit ago, but now they’re there and there’s chaos going on in your life and you feel like you’re drowning. Maybe it’s come with a conflict with children or the unraveling of a relationship or the diagnosis of a disease. Or maybe it’s come with the end of employment that you were depending upon or really enjoyed. And you find yourself in the middle of that chaos and you look around and Jesus seems to be totally disengaged from your situation, totally disinterested in your plight. He just seems to be asleep, just taking a little nap.

So you have these two problems, a physical one and then a spiritual one. A spiritual one that has everything to do with Jesus not acting like we think Jesus ought to be acting in a situation. I mean just think about it: if you just flip back through what you read this week coming into Mark’s Gospel and then think about the things that these disciples had seen Jesus do and heard him say. I mean, back in chapter one and two and three … he was healing people, he was casting out demons, he was preaching powerfully. Come into chapter four and they heard him teach eloquently on the nature of the Kingdom. I mean, at this point, these disciples at least have to be entertaining the idea that he is that Savior; he is that Messiah, the One that had come to deliver them. And all of the sudden, here they are almost drowning in a boat because of this storm and Jesus is asleep. It didn’t seem to fit the way that Jesus is supposed to act. After all, isn’t he supposed to be helping in this journey? Isn’t he supposed to be there and active and intervening in our situations and doing something about that?

One reaction…

Well, I would suggest to you that the collision of these two problems—our real, tangible, physical circumstances that we deal with in life—come mixed with Jesus’ seeming inaction—times when he’s not acting like we need him to act, like we want him to act. And that breeds this one reaction that the disciples gave and it’s probably similar to a reaction many of us give when those kinds of problems come together—the physical and the spiritual—but the spiritual is not playing out like we think it ought to play out.

Mark 4:35–41 Shows Us Frustration with Jesus

You know what this one reaction is? Frustration with Jesus. You see it in the middle of verse 38: “And they woke him and said to him, ‘Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?’” Actually in the language of the New Testament, this is a strong rebuke of Jesus Christ. It probably would more literally be translated: “Jesus, we’re drowning here, but what do you care?” That’s what they said to him. They came up against a situation in which he was not acting like they thought he ought to be acting. He was not doing what they thought he ought to be doing. And so they lashed out at him and their frustration was born in a disappointment over his passivity to their situation … but it evolved into anger toward his person. And we have to be honest: we get that. You understand how that can be. If you’ve never been there yourself—and you probably have if you’re honest—you know somebody who has. You know somebody who got mad at God because he wasn’t acting like they thought God ought to be acting. You know somebody who has gotten frustrated with Jesus because he wasn’t acting like they thought Jesus ought to be acting.

We find ourselves there, don’t we? At least tempted to be there … tempted to lash out because of who we think Jesus is and the way that we think he ought to be acting. We can really easily find ourselves at a point in the midst of unexpected situations—unexpected circumstances that have just thrown our worlds into chaos—looking at Jesus, and he seems to be distant, to be asleep, and we get frustrated with that because he’s not doing anything. Not doing anything about our situation and our circumstances. It’s easy to lash out at him.

Now all of that sets up this WWF match in verse 39 between Jesus and this storm. And the match doesn’t take very long. I mean early in the first round it’s over, right? You see it? “He awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, ‘Peace! Be still!’” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.” So watch this, don’t miss this now … Jesus speaks to the cause of the situation and that was the swirling winds that had come down into the bowl there in the Sea of Galilee. So he speaks to the cause and he also speaks to the chaos that that cause had created and that was the waves that were now filling up the boat. He speaks to both of them. He tells them, “Sit down and be quiet!” And they do it. Game over. Right there, Jesus wins.

Now come in here real close, because this is where we have to be careful with our application. The easiest thing for us to do at this point is to gravitate toward the application of this story to our lives. Jesus calms the storms of life, right? And listen, that’s okay. That’s okay. We’ve kind of been saying that already as we’ve gotten into this passage. We find ourselves in situations and circumstances that we weren’t expecting, that we didn’t sign up for. Our lives are in chaos. They’re real. They’re tangible. They’re difficult. We’ve got storms that come up in our life. I get that. But I want to remind you about a couple of things.

First of all, this was no spiritual storm. This was a real, live, tangible storm. There were high winds and really high waves that were coming into the boat and they were face-to-face—these disciples—with really and truly drowning. And that is what Jesus intervened in. That’s what he stepped into. You have to associate it with a real hurricane that comes in the Gulf Coast, or a real tornado like the one that came through Northeast Alabama a while back and did incredible devastation. You would have to equate it what many of you experienced on Highway 280 and I-65 this last week in a real, live snowstorm that created real, live ice on the roads and created real danger for people on the road.

This is what Jesus woke up to and this is what Jesus spoke to and told to sit down and be quiet. That is really, really important to get because, you see, if we run too quickly to a spiritualization of this passage, we get ourselves in a little bit of trouble. And that trouble is that we find ourselves at a place where our theology doesn’t match up with just a quick, trite, “Oh, Jesus calms the storms of life.” Why? Because Jesus doesn’t always calm the storms of life, right? Anybody besides me in here ever been through a storm of life that Jesus chose not to calm? He just chose to kind of let it ride out? You been there? He doesn’t always do that.

Another thing that we have to realize is that there are other people and there are other things that can calm the storms of life. We can get good advice from a lot of people. There are unbelieving financial counselors that can give you good advice about the financial storm that you find yourself in. There are unbelieving marriage counselors that can teach you about communication and speak good words of counsel and wisdom in your life. There are banks out there we can get loans from and there’s that we can order stuff off of. There are places where we can find resources that we need and get stuff sometimes in difficult situations.

So, in essence, Jesus is not the only one that calms storms in life like many of us think about storms, right? See, if you spiritualize the storm too quickly, you’ve got to spiritualize the guy who calmed the storm. That reduces Jesus to some “May the force be with you”—some external entity out there that has an effect on your life. It reduces him to just a wise counselor to speak into your life. It reduces him to a cosmic from which we order things that we want and need. This story is not primarily about the storms because there’s a lot of variables in there. This story is primarily about the guy who stood up and spoke to a real, live storm and it had to sit down and be quiet. This story is primarily about that guy. So here’s the bottom line and its right in the center of your notes page right there. I don’t want us to miss it. I don’t want us to miss what is at the heart of this thing right here, and that is that Jesus does what only God can do. Got that? Jesus does what only God can do.

You see, in the Jewish understanding, the list of people who could stand up in the middle of a tornado or a hurricane on the Gulf Coast or a snowstorm on Highway 280 with all of the ice … the list of people who could speak into that physical storm and tell it to sit down and be quiet was a real short list. In fact, there was only one person in the Jewish understanding who could put on his resume that he can tell the weather what to do and it has to do it. Only one person and you know who that was? Yahweh God of the Old Testament, Maker of Heaven and Earth, Lord over all creation.

They drew their understanding from a number of different places. You’ve read them before. Let me show you a few of them. In Job, for example, just look up here at the screen. I want to read these off here and take a look at it. In Job and Psalms, we see this. Remember when God was talking to Job and He was asking, “Where were you when I did all of this stuff?” This was one of the things He said in Job 38:8–11:

“Or who shut in the sea with doors when it burst out from the womb, when I made clouds its garment and thick darkness its swaddling band, and prescribed limits for it and set bars and doors, and said, ‘Thus far shall you come, and no farther, and here shall your proud waves be stayed’?

God said to Job, “Where were you when I said that?”

Psalm 65:5–7 says this:

By awesome deeds you answer us with righteousness, O God of our salvation, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas; the one who by his strength established the mountains, being girded with might; who stills the roaring of the seas, the roaring of their waves, the tumult of the peoples…

Psalm 104:5–7:

He set the earth on its foundations, so that it should never be moved. You covered it with the deep as with a garment; the waters stood above the mountains. At your rebuke they fled; at the sound of your thunder they took to flight.

Psalm 107:29–30:

He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed. Then they were glad that the waters were quiet, and he brought them to their desired haven.

Do you see the connection? The Jews thought that there was only one person who could do stuff like this. That’s what their Old Testament Scripture taught them. And so, Mark paints a picture of Jesus doing what only God is capable of doing. So, who does that make Jesus? Audience participation is part of our program. God, right? Simple math. If “a” equals “b” and “b” equals “c” then “a” equals “c.” That presses in two questions that we have to answer. These questions are very important for us in the midst of the storms of life, the unexpected circumstances that we didn’t sign up for. They weren’t there a little bit ago but now they are creating havoc and chaos in our lives.

Two questions…

Jesus asked these disciples these two questions, no doubt as they were picking their jaws up off the bottom of the boat. And I want to ask them to you this morning, to some of you who are in the midst of chaos in your life—in the midst of circumstances that are real and tangible and difficult and they hurt and they make us anxious.

Why are you so afraid?

The two questions come right out of the Scripture. They’re in verse 40. The first one is this: “Why are you so afraid?” So don’t forget where we’ve been now, right? If Jesus is God and Jesus can body-slam the weather anytime he wants to. And if Jesus is in your boat with you in the midst of the chaos, why would you ever have any reason to be afraid when life throws curveballs at you? And the wind begins to swirl and create really big waves and puts a lot of water in your life … to where you feel like you’re drowning. If Jesus is God and he can body-slam the weather anytime he wants and he’s in your boat, why would you ever have any reason to be afraid? Simple question.

Have you still no faith?

Second question: Have you still no faith? So this is maybe the question that is easiest to overlook. This is the one that’s easiest to miss. And here’s the reason. The reason that it’s so often overlooked in this passage is because faith is so easily misunderstood. You know that most people have a concept of faith that it’s a leap in the dark, right? I mean, you just believe something strong enough, that it’s bound to happen. You just name it and you speak it into existence and it’s going to happen. That is a leap in the dark because I know for me—and I know many of you would agree—I don’t have the ability to think that strongly about stuff when I’m up to here with water, about to drown. I can’t do that. But you see, faith in the Bible—real faith, authentic faith, the faith that Scripture talks about—is not a leap in the dark. It’s actually a leap in the light. You know why? Because faith always has an object. You don’t just have faith. You have faith in something right? And that something is God.

And this is how it happens. God speaks … he says something … and we say, “I’m going with that.” And it may not be something that makes sense or something we can see. In fact we might look around and see really high winds and high waves and we can’t see how that’s going to happen. But we know he is God, so we say, “I’m going with him.” That’s what faith is. We take this all the way back to salvation. And I would do that for the benefit of those of you that are here this morning who’ve yet to trust in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. When you hear us talk about this faith thing, know that this is it. It’s not because we think that everything we read in the Bible, we can rationalize or fathom. It’s not because everything that God has done in history, we are able to really comprehend and make all the pieces fit together. But it’s rooted in the fact that we believe he is God and we’re not, so he speaks and we say, “I’m going with him because he’s God and I’m not.” So when he says, “You’re a sinner,” I may with all of my might say, “No way. I’m not as bad as so and so. I didn’t kill anybody.” I may rationalize this away in my mind, and my pride may creep up to say, “Hey, Jim, you’re not a sinner. Don’t listen to that stuff.” I look around and I see the circumstances and I compare myself with somebody else. I come to the conclusion, “No, I’m not.” No, but God says, “You are. You’re born a sinner; you’re a sinner by nature and there comes a point in time when you choose to sin.”

We’ve got sin all over us and the one among us who has the least sins on his list is still separated from a holy God and we say, “He knows better than I do. He knows me better than I know myself and I’m going with what he says.” And then he says, “I have a plan and I love you and I created you to share my life and reflect my glory … so I’m not satisfied with leaving you that way. I’ve come to you and I’ve pursued you and I’ve lived a life that you can’t live and I’ve died a death that you should have died in your place. And I paid the penalty for your sin with Christ’s death on the cross.” And I look at that and I say, “I don’t know … it’s 2,000 years ago and a homeless guy dies a criminal’s death outside by a city dump and you tell me that that’s the way I need to be saved? I can’t rationalize that. That doesn’t make sense.”

But we say, “He’s God, we’re not. I’m going with what he says. I’m going to believe that and I trust in Jesus.” And God says, “To give you back my life, I rose from the dead. Because that’s the life, my life, that I created you to have. And I look at that and I rise from the dead.”

We shouldn’t say to that, “I don’t know … that doesn’t fit into scientific facts … how does that work? I can’t rationalize that. And after all, I wasn’t there. I didn’t see that. I didn’t eyewitness that.” No, we say, “He’s God and I’m not. I’m going with what he says. I’m trusting.” You see the picture. God speaks—he acts and he reveals himself. There may be wind and waves all around us, but he reveals himself and we say, “I can’t put all the pieces together, but he’s God. I’m not, so I’m going with him.” That’s what faith is.

Even after we become Christians, it plays out in our daily lives as we read his Word and he speaks to our hearts and his Spirit indwells us and makes application of that to our lives. God speaks and we say, “I don’t understand it all the time and it doesn’t make sense all the time, but I’m going with him because he’s God.”

If you are here today with Christ, we pray that you would place your faith, your trust, in what God has said about you and what he has said about salvation and what it takes to be saved. Repent of your sin today. Change your mind about sin. Change your mind about Jesus and trust in him to save you from your sin. We appeal to you.

So did God speak in this text? Why is Jesus asking this question? Have you still no faith? Go back up to Mark 4:35 at the beginning of the paragraph. “On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, ‘Let us go across to the other side.’”

Hmm. Easy to miss isn’t it? There’s only two possibilities here, church. One is, when Jesus said those words, he was completely oblivious to what was about to happen. Didn’t know a storm was coming. Totally caught off guard. And if that’s true, when he said these words right here, then he’s not God. That’s one possibility.

The other possibility is that he knew exactly what was about to happen and he knew that he was going to make a way for that destination to be realized. They were going to get to the other side. Do you know another translation for this question down here in verse 40, when he says, “Have you still no faith?” Remember, he’s just told the wind and the waves to sit down and be quiet. The disciples are looking at that when Jesus asked this question. Another way to say it is, “Now do you believe we’re going to get to the other side?” Jesus had told them upfront, “We’re going to the other side.” This is why he asked this question, a question centered around his identity—who he is as God. God speaks and they hadn’t grasped it yet. They hadn’t come to that place where they understood him to be Yahweh God of the Old Testament, Maker of Heaven and Earth, Lord over all creation. And that same God spoke to them at the beginning of this journey and said, “Let’s go to the other side,” but because their understanding of his identity was not quite there, they were seeing him as a healer. They were seeing him as someone who could cast out demons. They were seeing him as someone who acted in times of trouble. But they pulled up short with going all the way to being God. Therefore, when God spoke, it just went woooosh, right over their heads. This is why he asked them, “Do you not have any faith?”

It’s a question that we have to ask ourselves when we find ourselves in the midst of unexpected circumstances and the chaos of life and difficulty and pain. It all comes down to, “Do we believe that he is God? Do we believe that he is the God of the Universe and everything he said is true, and everything he says is going to come about is true?” Because if we do, it’s at that point we find ourselves in the midst of the storm that sometimes … sometimes … he chooses to calm the storms and continue on the journey, but sometimes he chooses to simply sustain us and let us ride out the storms—all the time with him being right there with us. But God, in his sovereignty, working out our suffering, working out our pain, not as one who is disconnected, who is on vacation, but as one who is God.

One response …

And so, those questions lead us to what I trust is the response that seems to be represented in this passage on the part of the disciples. It’s the response in verse 41 that really indicates that there were two interrelated changes that took place. One was a change of posture. One was a change of perspective.

The change of posture comes in verse 41, where it says that they were filled with great fear. Now when you just look at the English translation there, that doesn’t seem to make a whole lot of sense. He had just asked them, “Why are you still afraid?” And then it turns around and says that they were filled with great fear. But here’s the deal: in the language of the New Testament, these are not the same words. The word “afraid” in verse 40 and the word “fear” in verse 41 are two different words. Most Bible scholars distinguish between the words by suggesting that the one in verse 40 could be equated with what we know of to be terrified, to be shaking in your boots. He asked them in verse 40, “Why are you still shaking in your boots? Why are you still terrified?” But the word in verse 41 is a word that seems to represent a healthy fear, like we talk about in our fear of God. It doesn’t change the realization of who he is and his grandeur and greatness, but there’s a different posture in the way that we approach him. So not only a change of posture, but also a change of perspective.

Look at their rhetorical question at the end of verse 41: “…and they said to one another, ‘Who then is this, that even wind and sea obey?’” You can kind of see them doing that math in their head. They’ve just watched him tell a literal storm to sit down and be quiet and it had to do it. And they’re going back to Job and the Psalms passages and what has informed their understanding … that only God can do that … and they’re saying, “He did that.” And they ask this rhetorical question: “What’s the identity of this guy? I mean, we know that he can heal people and cast out demons, but we didn’t know that he could do that kind of stuff. Who is this guy?” And in their minds, they’re moving from a perspective of Jesus—watch this, church—just being a healer and just being a provider and just being a counselor and just being someone who shows up at just the right time as Superman in our lives to take away all of our pain and make all of our problems go away. Their perspective is moving from that view of the one that they called “Teacher” back up there in verse 38 … the one they saw as this special person with otherworldly power … to a perspective that’s maturing and changing to the realization of who he really is. And you know what happens when those two changes come together, when we have a change of posture and we combine that with a change of perspective of who Jesus is?

He’s no longer just somebody who can calm storms in our lives, but rather he is God. It affirms the conviction that we have that Jesus is God and, therefore, he’s worthy of your trust and your obedience and your worship. That’s the response. That’s the conclusion we arrive at, and it’s the conclusion that leads us to a great confidence that the God of the universe is with us. He is in us. He is ours. He is faithful and sometimes he chooses to calm the waves that are causing the water to fill the boat. And sometimes he just chooses to sustain us and be there with us and ride out the storm for our sanctification and our refinement. But he is God and therefore he is worthy of our trust and our obedience and our worship, even when we can’t rationalize all the circumstances around us.

So you give me a choice. If you give me a choice of having some concept of Jesus that sees him as a good counselor and a good provider and somebody that shows up at just the right time … if you give me a choice between that perception of Jesus versus a perception of him as God, of having God in my boat, then I’m going to choose God. I want to go with God. Because I know he has complete ability to do all of those things, to tell the weather to sit down and be quiet anytime he wants and it’ll have to do it. But I also know that if he chooses to ride the storm out with me, to be faithful, to sustain me in the midst of the suffering, that he knows best and he’s working for my good and His glory and I want to go with that.

And so that leads us to worship him and I want us to do that through prayer right now as a faith family. Take that PRAY acrostic that I know many of you are using in your personal worship time and your daily Bible reading and let’s hang our hats on that. I want you to think about this passage of Scripture. I want to give you four ways that we’re going to worship him and then I want us to actually come back and do it.


So the P is for Praise and what I want us to do is praise Jesus as the God of the universe, the Lord over all creation. Go ahead and grab hold of that. The R is for Repent, right? Repent of any failure to believe who Jesus is or what he has said. The A is for Ask. Aren’t you glad that we can ask him for his help? Ask Jesus to help you in a current crisis, acknowledging his deity. Ask him to help you in a current crisis, acknowledging that he is God. And then the Y is yield. Yield yourself afresh to Jesus’ lordship, and that lordship is over your current crisis.

Jim Shaddix

Jim Shaddix is a professor of expository preaching at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He has served as a pastor in Louisiana, Alabama, Texas, Mississippi, and Colorado, and as dean of the chapel and professor of preaching at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Shaddix is the author of several books, including The Passion-Driven Sermon: Changing the Way Pastors Preach and Congregations Listen.


That means that the people with the most urgent spiritual and physical needs on the planet are receiving the least amount of support. Together we can change that!