Matthew 8:23-27

Then (Jesus) got into the boat and his disciples followed him. Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”

We’ve heard this story about Jesus calming the storm so many times I believe we can develop some principles out of it.

Principle #1: There will be storms in life. This is regardless of whether we follow Jesus or not. Some people expect storms to cease when they follow Jesus, but they won’t. And like storms, they will often be unexpected.

Principle #2: If Jesus is in your boat, you have no reason to be afraid. Although following Jesus does not prevent storms from hitting us, following Jesus will ensure that he will take us through them.

Principle #3: Cry out to Jesus if you are afraid. I often tell people not to be afraid, but hey, that is easier said than done. If you are afraid, call out to Jesus. He will probably rebuke you for a lack of faith, but that’s ok. Call out to him anyway.

Principle #4: Get ready for the rebuke. Being afraid is actually a sign that we lack faith, and Jesus being Jesus, is sure to scold us for that because nothing displeases him more than a lack of faith.

Principle #5: Watch for the miracle. It is the most wonderful thing to see a storm quieten down. When that storm is quietened miraculously, it is simply amazing. Jesus does this all the time.

This leads us to Principle #6. Let it increase our faith so that we will not be afraid when the next storm hits. As the song goes, with Jesus in my boat, I can smile in the storm. And we should smile even if it looks like he is sleeping!

Principle #7. Worship him. In another story where Jesus calmed the storm, Scripture says, “those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” (Matthew 14:26-36). Worshipping Jesus internalizes the realization that we understand, believe, and acknowledge that he is God. Which, in turn, leads to an increase of faith because if God is with us, who and what can prevail against us?

And now to a bonus principle. You tell the storms to be quiet! Once our faith becomes strong, which can be strengthened only by going through storms and seeing that God is with us, it will hopefully lead us to have enough faith to calm the storms ourselves. As Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them” (Mark 11:23).

Say Amen.

May the Spirit be with you.

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