Triumphing Over The Storms Of Life: Part Two

 In our last article, we noticed some of the important lessons from God’s Word about dealing with the storms of life. We will continue our study through this passage of Scripture: 
Matthew 14:22-33-Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away.

23 And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there.

24 But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary.

25 Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea.

26 And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear.

27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.”

28 And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.”

29 So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus.

30 But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!”

31 And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”

32 And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.

33 Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him, saying, “Truly You are the Son of God.”
You Triumph Over The Storms Of Life When You Remember Jesus Is Your Deliverer 

 Just when it seems that hope is lost, Jesus comes along and helps.  

 Now, we may not always be able to immediately recognize the Lord when He is helping us. A number of years ago, I remember a difficult storm that I was facing. I was contemplating leaving the ministry because of some challenges that had arisen. I had prayed through the storms, but it seemed like I couldn’t find an answer. Then my friend Mike had a talk with me and helped me to see the right path to follow. Like Jonathan did with David, he had strengthened my hand in the Lord (1 Samuel 23:16). It took me a long time to realize it, but Mike and that discussion were God’s answers to my prayers.  

 Sometimes, those answers can take many unexpected forms. Yet the important thing to realize is that when we are facing our trials and storms, Jesus will help us at the right time.  
Romans 8:35-39-35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written: “FOR YOUR SAKE WE ARE KILLED ALL DAY LONG; WE ARE ACCOUNTED AS SHEEP FOR THE SLAUGHTER.” 37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. 
 If you are facing a storm in your life, keep holding on to God. He will help you through whatever the storms may bring.  
You Triumph Over The Storms Of Life When You Decide To Trust And Obey What God Says To Do 
 Jesus called Peter to come out onto the water with Him. Now, Peter had the evidence that was needed to undergird his trust in Jesus’ commands. After all, Jesus was right there on the water when Peter stepped out!  

 Sometimes we convince ourselves that we know better than God does in dealing with our problems. We delude ourselves into thinking that we know how to work through our storms better than God Himself does. Jesus addressed this with His disciples when He reminded them of the wondrous way that God takes care of the Earth: 
Matthew 6:25-34-25 “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? 28 “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.  
 The human body has approximately 100 trillion cells. If all the cells in one person’s body were lined up side by side, they would encircle the earth 200 times over. The cells are incredibly advanced and are based on several biopolymers. These are more advanced than anything that we can imagine. Now, what are the odds of just one of those biopolymers randomly coming together and forming correctly without Divine intelligence?   
“At all events, anyone, even a nodding acquaintance with the Rubik’s cube will concede the near impossibility of a solution being obtained by a blind person moving the cubic faces at random. Now imagine 1050 (that’s a number 1 with 50 zeros after it) blind people, each with a scrambled Rubik’s cube, and try to conceive of the chance of them all simultaneously arriving at the solved form. You then have the chance of arriving by random shuffling at just one of the many biopolymers on which life depends. The notion that not only biopolymers but the operating program of a living cell could be arrived at by chance in a primordial organic soup here on the earth is evidently nonsense of a high order.” (Fred Hoyle, “Hoyle on Evolution,” Nature, vol. 294 (November 12, 1981): p. 527). 
Joe White and Nicholas Comninellis have written: 
“Sir Fredrick Hoyle vividly illustrates the probability of spontaneous generation like this: Supposing the first cell originated by chance is like believing a tornado could sweep through a junkyard filled with airplane parts and form a Boeing 747.24 Professor Harold Morowitz puts the chance of spontaneous generation as being much less than even that of Sir Fredrick Hoyle: The probability for the chance of formation of the smallest, simplest form of living organism known is 1 to 10340,000,000. This number is 1 to 10 to the 340 millionth power! The size of this figure is truly staggering, since there are only supposed to be approximately 1080 electrons in the whole universe!25 To further illustrate, this is approximately the same ridiculous probability that an entire high school gym filled with dice could instantly explode and every one of the dice would land on the number one! The renowned atheist of the latter 20th century, Dr. Carl Sagan, estimated that the mathematical probability of the simplest form of life emerging from non-living matter has the unbelievable odds of one chance in ten to the two billionth power (a 1 followed by two billion zeros after it) — even less probability than predicted by Sir Hoyle or Dr. Morowitz. The enormity of this figure is revealed by the fact that it would take 6,000 books of 300 pages each just to write the number!26 Just how likely is an event like this? Dr. Emile Borel, who discovered the laws of probability, says: The occurrence of any event where the chances are beyond one in ten followed by 50 zeros is an event which we can state with certainty will never happen, no matter how much time is allotted and no matter how many conceivable opportunities could exist for the event to take place.27 Dr. Emile Borel explains, in essence, that anything with a chance of less than 1 in 1050 would never happen, no matter how much time there is. So how could an event with a probability of 1 in 10 to the two billionth power ever happen? It is absolutely, emphatically impossible!” (Joe White & Nicholas Comninellis , Darwin’s Demise: Why Evolution Can’t Take The Heat, 325-332 (Kindle Edition); Green Forest, AR; Master Books)
 What’s the point of all of this? Very simply, God knows how to manage our problems and how to direct us through our storms. We merely need to seek His guidance (I.e., study His Word, the Bible) and follow what He says to do.  
Proverbs 3:5-6-Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.
Hebrews 11:6-But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
 (By the way, on a side note: the complexity of the cell is also another powerful indicator of the foolishness of atheism. Indeed, every cell is a testament to the existence of the Creator!)
You Triumph Over The Storms Of Life When You Consider That It Is In Those Storms That You Will Learn Some Of The Most Valuable Lessons  
Peter (and the other Apostles) learned some very powerful lessons on that night. Think about it!  
 Because of that storm, they were able to learn Who Jesus was.  

 Because of that storm, they were able to see their need for Jesus.  

 Because of that storm, they learned that with His help, they could do incredible things!  
 Have you ever stopped to consider that some of the most important lessons that we can learn in life can be learned in the storms that we go through?  

 I think about Job with this. He was a man who went through unimaginable suffering, yet we see no indication in his Book that he understood WHY God was letting him go through the storms he was. Yet the inspired Prophet James gives us an insight into this: 
James 5:11-Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord—that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.
 Brother Guy N. Woods’ commentary on this passage is especially fitting: 
“The word translated “end” here, telos, often with the significance of termination, consummation, etc., also designates purpose, aim, design, it’s obvious meaning here. We, in our day, and from our vantage point (James is saying), can now see the purpose and design of God’s plan in Job’s case, which was not nearly so apparent then. The over-all-lesson here indicated ought not to be lost on us today. There is “a divinity that shapes our ends,” and though, for the moment, we are unable to discern the purpose or plan which God has, we should patiently wait for the unfolding thereof, knowing that eventually he will vindicate himself and all matters will turn out for our good…That is, “the end” (design, purpose, plan) of the Lord is to show great pity and much mercy for his suffering saints. In Job’s case, the Lord exhibited the greatest pity and compassion; and, this will he also do for all who similarly endure. The phrase “full of pity” denotes the fact that God is tender-hearted; he is not unmindful of the agonies of his people, nor does he turn a deaf ear to their cries. He abounds in pity (polusplagchnos), he is filled with it. Moreover, he is “merciful,” (oiktirmon), I.e., full of compassion for those who suffer.” (Guy N. Woods, A Commentary On The Epistle Of James, 287; Nashville, TN; Gospel Advocate). 
 Job learned (as have countless followers of the Lord through the ages) that there are reasons why God allows the storms into our lives. While God does not necessarily make the storms happen, He can use them to bring about good (Romans 8:28; 2 Corinthians 4:16-18; James 1:2-4).  

 Whatever storms you are going through, trust in the Lord to bring good through them.  
You Triumph Over The Storms Of Life When You Keep Your Focus On Jesus 
 Notice that it is when Peter takes his eyes off of Jesus that he begins to sink deep into the water. We have to learn to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus if we are going to make it through the storms of life. Consider what Paul writes: 
Hebrews 11:24-26-By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 25 choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, 26 esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he LOOKED to the reward.
Hebrews 12:1-2-Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 LOOKING unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
 The Greek word used there for “looking” is quite interesting: 
“Apoblepein is used in the NT only twice, and aphoran only once, but they are such vivid words that they repay the closest study. They are to all intents and purposes synonyms and both of them mean the same thing and have much the same history…. Apoblepein is used in the NT only twice, and aphoran only once, but they are such vivid words that they repay the closest study. They are to all intents and purposes synonyms and both of them mean the same thing and have much the same history….The important instance of apoblepein is in Heb. 11.26….The one instance of aphoran is in Heb. 12.2, where we are enjoined to run ‘looking unto Jesus’….First, let us look at apoblepein . Suidas, the Greek lexicon, tells us that apoblepein is used by Aeschines as a synonym of thaumazein , which means ‘to wonder’. Philostratus tells us that when Apollonius, the famous sophist, landed in Egypt, as he advanced from the ship the people ‘gazed at him’ ( apoblepein ) as a god. When Xenophon is telling of a man whose services the country was needing, he says, Your fatherland is ‘looking’ ( apoblepein ) to you. Philo describes the builder, as building and all the while ‘looking’ ( apoblepein ) into the pattern of the architect. Xenophon speaks of a person as being so vain that she kept ‘gazing’ ( apoblepein ) at her own reflection. Plato says that it is the aim of the lover to make the loved one so dependent on him that the lover in all things ‘will look’ ( apoblepein ) to him in utter love and complete dependence. An Ephesian inscription tells of one who ‘looked’ ( apoblepein ) to the reverence of the gods and to the honour of the most illustrious city of the Ephesians. Theophrastus in his Characters uses apoblepein to describe the look of the flatterer who gazes with rapt attention at the person he wishes to impress. Now let us look at aphoran . Lucian uses it for one man looking intently at another as they pursued an argument. Twice Epictetus uses it. He uses it in a description of his aims with his pupils. ‘And so now I am your teacher, and you are being taught in my school. And my purpose is this to make of you a perfect work, secure against restraint, compulsion and hindrance, free, prosperous, happy, looking to ( aphoran ) God in everything both great and small.’ He describes the great hero and benefactor Hercules as ‘looking to’ ( aphoran ) Zeus is everything he did. Josephus, describing the death of Aaron, tells how, as he died, the crowd ‘looked wonderingly’ ( aphoran ) upon him. From all this there emerges a wonderful picture of the way in which the true Christian looks at the blessedness of God and the wonder of Jesus Christ. He looks with an utter fixity of concentration; he looks with wondering amazement; he looks as one who looks to a champion and a saviour; he looks as one who looks at the master plan and pattern of life; he looks as a loved one looks with adoration at his lover; he looks as a man looks at his familiar friend; he looks as a man looks to God when God has become for him the only reality in the world. (William Barclay, New Testament Words, 790-823 (Kindle Edition); Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press)  
 Don’t allow the storms of life to make you lose sight of the Lord. Only by looking to Him and keeping your eyes fixed on Him will you be able to endure.  

 If you are not a child of God, why not become one today? The Son of God died to save you from your sins, was buried, and rose agin the third day (1 Corinthians 15:1-8). He promises salvation to all who will believe in Him (John 8;24), repent of their sins (Luke 13:3), confess Him before men (1 Timothy 6:12), and be buried with Him in baptism (Romans 6:3-4). When you live faithfully to Him, even to the point of death, you will receive the crown of life (Revelation 2:10). If you are a child of God who has not been living faithfully to the Lord, then I implore you to repent and pray to Him immediately to be forgiven and restored (1 John 1:8-2:2).  

 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.  

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