April 2 Luke 8 25 NKJV

Have you ever read stories in the Bible about people who questioned God and who He is and what He can do? The disciples left all they had and followed Jesus. They were with Him night and day, watching Him do miracle after miracle. Yet, while in a boat crossing the Sea of Galilee, Jesus and the disciples ran into a fierce windstorm out on the water. Now remember that some of these disciples had been fishermen by trade. They knew the water and they knew how to handle a boat. They had likely been on the water before in a storm. But this storm was different. Luke 8 tells us the winds were so fierce that they were taking on water and “they were in jeopardy.”

We have all been through storms in our life. An unexpected death of a loved one. An unexpected job loss. An unexpected rebellious child. An unexpected divorce. An unexpected betrayal of trust. An unexpected illness. Whatever storm you’ve been through before, I’m sure you can join me in saying that this Coronavirus is different. We’ve never seen our government issue “Safer at Home Act” before. We’ve never been asked to “social distance” before. And our generation has probably not seen and personally experienced a pandemic virus. I mean – this is stuff you read about in history books before there was penicillin. This is stuff were you go through ancient cemeteries and read the tombstones were people died from typhoid and stuff. Can you honestly say that you would ever think that in our day with all the medical knowledge that we have that we would ever see a national outbreak of a virus? This is different. Those of us able to work – work from home (except for essential professions). When you go in public, people wear face masks. And if someone coughs or even clears their throat, everyone moves as far away as they can. This is different. Kids are all doing school online – and the parents are groaning that we have at least another 30 days of “social distancing,” “safer at home” orders, and online school. This is different.  Did you ever think there would be a shortage of toilet paper? This is different. 

In the different, will we be like the disciples in the midst of the storm? They looked around and said – “Where is Jesus?” Remember – they had seen him do all these miracles of healing people, casting out demons, raising the dead. But where was Jesus in their storm? Well – they found Him. He was sleeping. They wake Him up and said, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” They we’re not just informing Him the boat was going down. I can almost hear them saying, “Don’t you care about us? We’re in a pickle here. Why are you just sleeping?” Their tone, almost accusatory. They were scared and their faith went MIA. 

What about us? Are we searching for where Jesus is in the midst of the storm? Do you feel like He’s asleep somewhere and totally unaware of the storm? 

Jesus got up, rebuked the wind and the waves and there was immediate calm. Then He said to the disciples, “Where is your faith?” They were in a boat with the creator of the universe – the one who made the wind and waves – and still they said to each other: “Who can this be? For He commands even the winds and water, and they obey Him!” They still didn’t get it. If they had gotten it, then they would have known that the safest place to be in the entire universe was right where Jesus was – regardless of the storm raging around them.

Our nation is at a place of crying out to Jesus and saying, “Master, we are perishing.” The more the number of positive cases and deaths we see with COVID-19, the more likely you will either know someone who has the virus or be a victim yourself. Jesus says, “My child, where is your faith?” If we genuinely trust Him, then we do not need to fear when the storms of life crash in on us. God is not taken by surprise by any storm we face. Certainly, if He chose he could rebuke COVID-19 and wipe it off the face of the earth. But when that doesn’t happen and we see friends and family suffering with the virus or even dying, where is our faith? Does it go MIA like the disciple’s faith did? The fiercer the storm, the harder it is to see God, but my friend, we can stand on the promises of God like Deuteronomy 31:6 that says, “Be strong and courageous; don’t be terrified or afraid of them. For it is the Lord your God who goes with you; He will not leave you or forsake you.” Or Exodus 15:26 that says, “If you will carefully obey the Lord your God, do what is right in His eyes, pay attention to His commands, and keep all His statutes, I will not inflict any illnesses on you… For I am Yahweh who heals you.” Here are some other promises from God’s Word:

Psalm 46:1-3 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.

Isaiah 41:10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Exodus 15:2 The Lord is my strength and my song; he has given me victory. This is my God, and I will praise him—  my father’s God, and I will exalt him!

1 Chronicles 16:11  Seek the LORD and his strength;  seek his presence continually!

Psalm 32:7-8 You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.

Exodus 33:14 My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.

Deuteronomy 31:8 It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.

Deuteronomy 33:27 The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.

Psalm 34:17 When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears, and rescues them from all their troubles.

Isaiah 30:15 In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.

Isaiah 43:1-3 Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord you God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.

Psalm 34:4 I sought the Lord, and he answered me, and delivered me from all my fears.

Psalm 145: 18-19 The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them.

Isaiah 12:2 Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.

We also know that God tell us, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, and your ways are not My ways.” (Isaiah 55:8) We may not understand what is going on or why someone is healed and others are not. And that is where faith comes in. Trusting God when we can’t understand the why. But knowing that loves us with an everlasting love and continues to extend his faithful love to us (Jeremiah 31:3), means we can trust Him even in the storms. 

It can be easy to criticize the disciples for not knowing who Jesus was despite all the miracles and listening to His teaching every single day. But do we not do the same? When the storms come and life gets threatening, all the things that God has done for us in the past races right out of our memory as we become focused only on the storm we are going through right now. But today, Jesus is quietly whispering across our hearts and asking, “Where is your faith?” Stand on the firm foundation of Jesus. Trust in His unfailing, everlasting love and know that He is at work. Look for how He is deepening your faith and trust in Him and know that He only has your very best in mind for everything you face. He loves you and He’s there in the storm with us. Where is your faith?

God, it becomes so easy to forget all the times in the past where you held us in the palm of your hand and brought us through the storms of life. Thank you that you never leave us or forsake us. Thank you that you are always in the midst of life’s storms with us, working out your divine plan for each one us. Help us to stand strong in your faith and fully trust You, even when we don’t understand Your plan.


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Don’t forget to learn this week’s memory verse:

Memorize and hide in your heart one memory verse each week in 2020. If you didn’t start the challenge at the beginning of the year, just jump in now and be sure to sign up to get our weekly Memory verse in your email so you don’t miss a week.

memory verse logoIn 2020 our emphasis is on revival for America with three key words: revive, renew, and redeem. You will begin to see the elements of our website and posts reflect this emphasis. We hope you’ll join us in praying for God to pour out the Holy Spirit with a mighty rushing wind of revival for our nation and around the world.

 

Our key verse for revival is 2 Chronicles 7:14. “If my people who are called by my name shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land.  For the past few  weeks, we have been focusing on repentance. This week, we look at the spiritual transformation that takes place when we surrender our heart to God.

This week’s memory verse:

Exodus 14:13-14

“Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” 

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