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Living In Uncertain Times
Posted on March 22, 2020 8:46 PM by Pastor Tom Gue
Categories: Church Life
We are living in times that the current generation has never experienced. We have never had a disease that has spread so fast and so wide as the coronavirus. I believe this should affect every Christian when they read of the world-wide plagues in the Book of Revelation. Perhaps you may have doubted if all those judgments could actually happen. We have tasted of it in one month. The question we should be asking is not where did this virus come from, but where will it take us. Is it drawing us closer to God? I want to look at a familiar story and bring it to our time.  I want to share from Mark 4:35-41.
 
Jesus had been teaching the crowd all day by the Sea of Galilee and He was tired.  The crowd was so great, He had to teach from a boat. As the evening drew near, Jesus told the disciples, “Let us cross over to the other side”. The Sea of Galilee is actually a lake covering 64 miles.
Jesus was tired and fell asleep in the boat.
 
v. 37 A great windstorm arose. It was no ordinary storm. Wuest notes that the word for storm  "is used of a furious storm or hurricane”  The disciples were expert sailors. They were fishermen, but they were fighting for their lives. The boat was filling up with water.  J. Vernon McGee suggests that the storm was actually satanic in its origin. This was an attempt of Satan to  destroy Jesus.
 
Notice three things about this storm, which are similar to coronavirus and other trials of life. The storm arose immediately, unexpectedly: "Behold, there arose."  The storm was great: the waves were covering the boat. We have never seen anything like this. The storm was life-threatening: "we perish" There doesn’t seem to be any cure or escape.
 
No doubt the discipls had faced storms before, but they had never confronted a situation as terrifying as this storm.  Everyone of us will face a storm that terrifies us some day, an experience from which we are not able to save ourselves. Verse. 38 The disciples awoke Jesus and said, “Master, don’t you care that we are going to die.”
The disciples had allowed fear of their circumstances to change their theology. They knew Jesus, had seen His miracles, but a storm can cause us to forget what He has done.  The things Jesus did yesterday when we go through a storm today.  Tut at least they knew here to go for help.
 
v. 38 Jesus arose and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace be still.” And the wind ceased …  Notice something many overlook – Jesus rebuked the wind and spoke to the sea.  He said, Peace, be still “and there was a great calm.”  Jesus is speaking to the wind and sea, but it is also a word of command to the disciples and us.  This is a word to us when our hearts are like the troubled sea and cannot find peace,  Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still and know that I am God.”
 
v. 40 Then Jesus said to the, “Why are you so fearful? How is it you have no faith?  This seems like a foolish question. They were about to drown, and Jesus was asking why they were fearful.  But in truth, they were not going to drown. Jesus had told them to go to the other side.  This was the One who created the heavens and the earth and that very lake and the wind that was blowing the waves. 
 
I want to emphasize the thing most needed in this situation and today in our lives is peace.  Jesus spoke peace to the storm.  You can’t release what you don’t have.  Jesus was at peace in the midst of the storm.  Jesus was so much at peace, He was asleep in the storm. The first step to stopping the storms we find ourselves in is to always be at peace.   John 14:27 Jesus said, "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you: not as the world gives, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid" This is a promise given the day before He would be crucified.  Second, it is a gift Jesus has given us. He said, “my peace I give you”,  third, it is not the same peace this world and circumstance give us.
 
What is peace The dictionary defines peace as, “the sense of calm and tranquility and quietness  and contentment and well- being that you believe everything is well. Sounds like a good definition, but those things can be produced by deception, by taking a nap, by alcohol and drugs. But when you wake up from the nap, when the alcohol wears off, the peace is gone.
 
No Jesus said the peace He has given you has nothing to do with human circumstances. He is talking about a spiritual peace.  And spiritual peace — the true, deep-down peace — is the attitude of  the heart and mind that knows that all is well between the soul and God.  We have peace with God and that is the basis for true peace.
God alone can give us this peace because He alone has this peace and you cannot give something you do not
have.  God is never stressed, never in anxiety, never worries, and never fears.   If false peace is tested, it fails, but true, the peace Jesus gives, is a  peace that welcomes trials because trials allow us to know God better and in a deeper way. Peace is not just the absence of a storm, but rest in the middle of the storm. Jesus was sleeping in the midst of the storm. 
 
The news and television headlines have become dominated with new dangers and so many hearts have been struggling with new anxieties and fears. God has given us a wonderful promise in Psalm 46. Verses 1-2 "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear. Even though the earth be removed,  And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea.” Stop and think about the words, “a very present help in trouble.” The greater to trouble, the greater the storm, the greater the presence of God.
Everything's may be collapsing, even things that have always been there for us. Have no fear because "God is our  refuge and strength."
 
Verses 10-11 Then the Psalmist writes the same principle  as Habakkuk, “ Be still, and know that I am  God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.” To truly know God, still the storms in your heart. We magnify the storm instead of magnifying God.   He tells us to be calm in the time of storm. When they awoke Jesus, He had more trouble calming the disciples than He had calming the storm. 
    
Mark 4:41 Sometimes when we go through ordeals, we forget Jesus. Fear and faith are on two opposite ends of a continuum or a line. The more fear you have, the less faith you have. An increase of one leads to a decrease of the other. The disciples had seen Jesus’ miracles. They had every reason to trust Him.  He had been teaching them all day. But don’t be too critical of them.  It is easy to forget what Christ did yesterday when you are having a storm of life today.
 
When Jesus rebuked the storm, they feared Him. Moments before they feared the storm, not they feared Jesus. 
 If you fear Jesus more than the storms, you will trust Him and His Word above all else. By fear, I do not mean the fear that caused Israel to run away from God at Sinai. It is the fear that Habakkuk called “awe.” It is a fear when we see God for how great and powerful He is.
 
Why are we so fearful of the coronavirus and disease? We are afraid of the unknown. It takes days to get the lab test and our mind plays games with us.  Yet it’s God’s desire that, despite uncertainties  and the unknown, that we would live a life that’s characterized by His peace.  It is His gift to His children.
 
He can hush the storm  in your life even now. 
Ask Him to speak and to the storm even as He hushed the storm.
 Isaiah 26:3  “You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.
   
One reason God allows us to face trials is to remind us of something that Jesus wants His people to learn: "Apart from Me you can do nothing" (John 15:5). In other words, independent Christian living is failed Christian living. The storms show us that unless God shows up, we are in trouble. As long as we insist on doing it all ourselves, He will allow the storm to get worse and worse.
 
 
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