2020 has been a year like no other in living memory.
Oh, there have been plenty of years of turmoil, unrest and danger throughout history.
But the events of those years tend to be localised to one region, one country, or at most, a couple of countries at war.
You could be forgiven for succumbing to fear, depression, frustration, anxiety, and any number of other unhealthy responses.
But it doesn’t need to be that way…
We looked at John 6:16-21 on Sunday. In the midst of a raging storm, Jesus goes for a casual stroll on the Sea of Galilee, seemingly unaffected by the turmoil around Him.
His disciples, experienced fisherman many of them, were caught in the same storm. straining at the oars to make any headway against the furious wind, and fearing for their lives.
How did they come to find themselves in such a dire situation? Surprisingly, they were there at the command of Jesus Himself.
If they had known what was coming, would they have ever got into that boat? Or would they have made a point of staying on dry land? I think I know which I would choose – and it’s probably not to set my teeth against the wind…
And do you think Jesus had any idea what was about to happen when He told them to get in the boat and head back across the lake in the dark? Of course He did!
So, it seems there are two reasons why we find ourselves caught in storms today. 1) Because we have disobeyed the Lord. And 2) because we have obeyed the Lord.
And that may surprise some people. In the first instance, the storm is one of the ways He gets our attention and causes us to cry out to Him in repentance and for rescue.
In the second instance, the storm becomes one of the ways He builds our faith, and teaches us to have follow Him through all situations. He means to put steel in our collective spines.
One of His lessons for us is that, no matter what circumstance we find ourselves in, no matter what opposition we face, when we obey Him, we are perfectly safe. We are invincible, right up until the time He decides to bring us back home to Himself.
No believer has ever ‘died before their time’. No, every Christian is safe until they have fulfilled the purposes of God in their own generation [see Acts 13:36]. Nothing can defeat them before that time. And their eventual death – whether from old age, illness, accident or execution – is evidence that they have fulfilled God’s plan for them. That should be good news, comforting news for every believer.
We will never, in this life, be free from storms, of course. Whether the storms swirl around us from personal conflicts, or whether we are caught up in a greater societal storm, they will continue to buffet us.
But storms are the weight room at the gym of faith. They are meant to build up our spiritual muscle so we can lift increasingly heavy loads of obedience. Christians should anticipate and be prepared for them. Of all people, we should be the best prepared.
We should be ‘Storm Day Preppers’, trusting Him and going wherever He commands with confidence, because we have learnt that He is faithful. Will we exercise our faith or abandon it when we find ourselves on that raging sea with waves crashing all around us?