Every Storm Is An Invitation
When we are caught up in the middle of a storm, we are quick to curse it and blame God. Most often we start by questioning God, doubting whether He is there and eventually ending in despair and hopelessness.
What we most often fail to see is that every storm is an invitation to go closer to Him. It is an opportunity for a greater revelation of Jesus and a strengthening of our relationship with Him.
In Mathew 14, we see Jesus sending His disciples alone across the sea while He dispersed a crowd and went up on a mountain to pray. It was evening and beginning to get very dark. By the time the disciples reached the middle of the sea the storm had kicked in and the wind was contrary, making it impossible for the disciples to go across. They were stuck and straining at the oars.
We need to keep in mind that these are fishermen who were experts at handling a boat. They went out to sea every day and were skilled at navigating the ocean. They were in their element on that evening. But nothing worked no matter how much they tried.
The disciples were exhausted fighting against the wind, trying to keep from drowning. Needless to say, they were terrified and extremely afraid. Because they were overtaken by fear, they began to see a distorted reality - when they saw Jesus, they thought it was a ghost.
Fear makes you see things which are not real
Moreover, because they were overwhelmed and caught up in their challenge they probably gave up on God and never expected Him to show up.
Their focus was to keep themselves from drowning. They shifted their focus to the present challenge or crisis and forgot that they were first of all sent by Jesus Himself.
Jesus had already spoken and given the Word to them to cross to the other side. In the midst of the storm when challenges arose, fear overtook, faith began decreasing and they forgot the Word that they had received.
Many of us have gone through or are presently going through a similar situation, where we are stuck in the middle of a seemingly insurmountable challenge with no way of going back or forward. We are tossed around, with a looming threat of failure and death over our lives. At this time we may wonder why Jesus left us alone? Why did He send us out all alone? Where is He when we need Him the most? These were questions the disciples would have been asking themselves since it was Jesus who made them get into the boat to sail across (Matt 14:22)
In the midst of great challenges, we tend to forget the power of our Lord and the Word He gave us. We forget the prophecies that were spoken over us and the promises that were given.
He sent out the disciples alone to teach them that total dependency on Him is essential to face challenges and overcome them. No amount of skills, expertise or intellect will suffice. Just like a storm, we may face challenges which we cannot control or overcome by ourselves no matter who we are or what we do.
It is in the middle of a storm, when everything is dark around us and we cannot see forward or backward, that we must remember that there is a God who is watching, aware of what we are going through and how we are handling it, has not left us alone and who will come behind us (Mark 6:48)
No matter what the situation is God is always speaking
When the disciples were afraid, it was Jesus who first spoke to them. We always walk around believing a lie that God will not speak to us when we are going through a challenge or when we have messed up. We have been wired to think that He is waiting to turn His face away, withdraw from speaking to us and punish us for our mistakes. Guilt overtakes us and we run away and hide from God thinking that there is no hope. We need to realize that this is exactly what Adam and Eve did- they hid from Him(Gen 3:8). They withdrew, drawn away by their own guilt. God NEVER withdrew. In fact it was God who came searching for Adam and Eve and called out to them(Gen 3:9)
He is always speaking. The question is whether we are listening to Him.
A Response and an Invitation
Notice Jesus spoke to all the disciples on the boat. But only Peter responded. Which means his whole heart was set on seeking Jesus no matter what the situation.
Notice again, that Peter did not ask for Jesus to take them to the other side.
He did not ask for the storm to be stopped.
He only asked to go to Jesus walking on the water. And in the middle of the storm, Jesus invites Peter by saying "Come".
Do you see how Peter's faith became activated when he heard the voice of the Lord? Jesus did not preach to Peter nor did He give a sermon. All He said was "Come"; all He put out was an invitation. All Peter heard was the voice of Jesus. And with that one Word, a mere man did the impossible - he walked on water. He did not consult with the other disciples with him to see if it really was Jesus speaking or whether He heard right. He did not wait for confirmation.
He just knew.
And he stepped out to do the impossible
Shift Your Perspective & Step Out
We need to understand that a storm or a challenge in our lives is not an end. It does not mean that Jesus is absent.
Every storm or challenge is an invitation to go closer to Him and in the process of going to Him, walk upon the very thing that was trying to drown you.
If you are facing a challenge right now, I urge you to shift your perspective in prayer and start looking at it as an opportunity to see what He is saying and not as a situation that is going to destroy you. Look at it as an opportunity to strengthen and deepen your relationship with Him.
Renew your mind by changing the way you think - by thinking according to the Word and not the way you are used to thinking- and you will start noticing that He is ever-present and always with you.
Do not be discouraged or dismayed when a storm comes upon your life. Be still and know that Jesus is Lord over every storm, wind and wave and He is always watching and always speaking. Tune your hearts to listen to His voice. Your faith will be activated and you WILL step out and walk over your storm.