Catherine Brown: Through the “Storms of Life”
August 3, 2010 Leave a comment
Here is Part 2 of our short study on the storms of life viewed through the lens of leadership and the teaching of Scripture. Last time we went through Matthew and Luke’s Gospel narratives of the storm the disciples’ boat got caught in. If you missed Part 1 on the Elijah List, “The ‘Inconvenience’ of Leadership,” click here to read it. This week we will cover both John and Mark’s Gospel narratives for another perspective.
John paints a somewhat different picture than Matthew or Luke of a storm that arrived unannounced in the deep darkness of the night, whilst the disciples were out on the lake alone. John narrates:
“A strong wind was blo
wing and the waters grew rough. When they had rowed three or three and a half miles, they saw Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the water; and they were terrified. But He said to them, ‘It is I; don’t be afraid.’ Then they were willing to take Him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading” (John 6:18-21).
John’s description of events that night bring a different emphasis on the miracle-working power of Christ. The disciples were alone and had been rowing against a violent storm for more than three miles. They were exhausted and losing their battle against the unexpected tempest. Jesus delivered His disciples from the storm by taking them in a supernatural action of translation to a different location. One moment the disciples were on the stormy lake, the next the boat immediately reached the shore.
Before He appeared to the men, the Lord was walking on water, already on His way to His dear disciples. Even before they asked, the Master was answering their desperate heart cries and intent upon delivering them from danger. We are reminded Christ is with us always, even to the very ends of the age (Matthew 28:20).
Saint Mark’s recollections of the storm that night are similar in some ways to Saint John’s, with the disciples entering the boat ahead of Jesus who stayed behind to dismiss the crowd, to whom He had been ministering. We are told that Jesus then went up the mountainside alone to pray. Prayer precedes life’s storms and prepares us for divine action.
Evening arrived, and the disciples found themselves in the middle of the lake, straining at the oars with the wind against them. Jesus saw the men whilst they saw a figure walking on the lake, and they were terrified, thinking it might be a ghost! It was not until the Lord spoke to them and reassured them that they were calmed.
“Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” Then He climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down.—Mark 6:50-51
Once they reached shore, Jesus and the disciples disembarked after anchoring at Gennesaret, and the people recognised Jesus and brought all their sick on mats to Him, and wherever He was and in every town, village and countryside, everyone who touched Him was healed. The storm had been a precursor to an extraordinary outpouring of miracle-working power. Storms can often prepare us and strengthen us for mission opportunities in which God moves mightily to advance His Kingdom on earth.
The enemy will often arise as a storm when we are on a pre-ordained path or journey with the Master, but as we see evidenced in John’s Gospel, Jesus arises with mighty delivering power to enable us to reach our appointed destination. For the disciples, it was the shoreline of the lake; for us, it is wherever God has sovereignly appointed us to serve Him.
Commonality in the Synoptic Narratives
- The storm was unexpected.
- The storm was real and not imagined.
- The danger to the disciples was immediate and life-threatening.
- The disciples were terrified and had no life experience from which to draw upon.
- The Master was present in the storm.
- The Lord responded with absolute authority and wisdom to resolve the crisis.
- The storm was abated through the miracle-working power of Christ.
- Faith in God and trust were keys Christ used to overcome in the crisis.
- The disciples were delivered and reassured.
- Jesus prayed in preparation to face the storm.
How are We to Respond?
- With faith and trust in God.
- With prayer and action.
- With courage in the face of adversity.
- With boldness in the face of the enemy.
- With compassion towards those whom we lead.
- In the power of the Holy Spirit.
- In humble reliance upon God.
What Can We Learn from the Storm Narratives?
- Storms can often precede glory outpouring in mission/outreach.
- Storms can become opportunities for God to be glorified as we learn to depend on Him and trust His faithfulness to deliver us.
- Storms, therefore, can prepare and strengthen our hearts and minds for new mission opportunities.
- Storms are overcome by the supernatural authority and power of God.
- Storms are a perfect setting for miracles to manifest.
- God is faithful to deliver His children from any and all storms.
- God is present in every storm—storms may surprise us, but they never surprise the Lord.
God bless each one of you today, and may His love and His authority be an umbrella of protection and power over you, your spouses, your children and your ministries today. In the strong name of Jesus Christ I pray, amen.
In His love,
Founder, Gatekeepers Global Ministries (GGM) and
Co-Founder, Scottish Apostolic Networking Enterprise
Source: Elijah List