THE STORMS OF LIFE
T. PIERCE BROWN
The story of the storm in Matthew 8, Mark 4 and Luke 8, from which the stirring song, “Master The Tempest is Raging” comes, has in it some powerful lessons for us. In the lives of each of us there has been or will be a storm of some sort. There will be waves of trouble, hurt, or doubt that will beset, confront, or confound us. In the midst of those “troublesome times that are here, filling men’s hearts with fear,” the question may come, “Carest thou not that we perish?” He gave that answer many times in many ways. The ultimate answer was on the cross where He cared so much He suffered and died. When we ask, “Does Jesus care when my heart is pained, too deeply for mirth or song?” this story, as well as many others, answers it so forcefully that we should never doubt it.
Their cry in Matthew 8:25 “And they came to him, and woke him, saying, Save us, Lord, we perish,” and then the fact that they marveled (v. 27) when He did it, is interesting and instructive. They had a little faith (v. 26), and although it was enough to get a blessing from the Lord, it was not enough to prevent His rebuke.
We have embarked on the sea of life, heading for another shore. There is only one safe port. We may either steer our frail bark by the true Compass, or guess and drift wherever the currents may lead. They inevitably lead to the shoals of destruction.
Each of us should willingly think and/or sing, “Jesus, Savior, pilot me over life’s tempestuous sea.” The song continues, “Chart and compass came from thee: Jesus, Savior, pilot me.” Many who claim to be in the Ark of Safety with the Lord are apparently no longer paying much attention to the chart and compass, but are either following their favorite preacher or their feelings.
Another lesson is that even if we have embarked with Christ, we should not wait until the storm comes to call on Him for help and direction. Many are like a man who was in a boat in a storm. He rowed and rowed, but could make no progress. He prayed, “Lord, I have not ever bothered you much before, and if you will get me out of this mess, I will not bother you again.”
We should all realize that the presence of Christ in our boat is no guarantee of perpetual calm. But it is a guarantee of two things even better. Whether we look at Paul with his thorn in the flesh, Daniel in the lion’s den, or the three Hebrews in the fiery furnace, we see these two things: 1. Although He did not keep them out of the difficulty, He walked with them in it. His grace was sufficient. 2. He eventually took them out. He stills the storm. And who can doubt that Daniel and all the rest were better, stronger men for having gone through those things? Remember that “The trying of your faith worketh patience” (James 1:3). “We are more than conqueror through Him that loved us” (Romans8:37).
There are many that seem to think, “I have made friends with the Captain. I do not need to be in his boat. I just trust him to get me there somehow.” Whatever that may be called, it is not faith, but merely a wild assumption. The faith the Bible talks about is the faith that comes by hearing the word of God (Romans10:17). Jesus said, “Ye are my friends if ye do whatsoever I command you” (John15:14).
Others seem to think, “I do not need any boat. I will just dive off and swim across on my own, for I am a good swimmer.” Let me urge upon you this reality: Though a man might be able to swim across theEnglish Channeland back, the sea of life is too wide and man is too weak to make it on his own. And a man is no worse off if he falls off the pier inNew Yorkand cannot swim a stroke than he is if he leaps off confidently and starts towardLondonand swims 50 miles and then drowns. No matter how good or how bad you are, you cannot save yourself by yourself.
God’s grace has provided the boat, the Captain, and the directions. If you reach the safety of the heavenly shore, you will do it by accepting his grace, on his terms. You must enter the boat, you must stay on board, but you will never have the right to say, “I made it by my own goodness, works, or wisdom.”
To change the figure of speech slightly, you must indeed make friends with the Captain. If you do, the ticket is free, but you must pick it up and get on board. What will your condition be when the storms of life come upon you?