By Elder Enoch Ofori Jnr
(Sabbath, 17th December, 2011)
He Excels when We Fear Most
There is no time we feel the presence and saving strength of God most powerfully in our lives as believers than when trouble comes our way. But then, who wants trouble?
Dread it or look forward to it, it’s at such times of trouble that Christ swiftly responds to the overwhelming problems we face as believers, even when we seem to have lost faith.
The incident where the disciples of Christ nearly got destroyed on the sea (lake) of Galilee because a ferocious windstorm filled their boat with so much water that they began to sink, although Christ was asleep with them in the boat, typifies our vulnerability to sudden trouble and possible slippage of faith at such critical moments. In the story, narrated in Matt. 8:23-27 (also Mark 4:35-41 and Luke 8:22-25), we see the disciples encounter sudden storms which fill the boat with water and threaten to overturn and drown them, but Christ intervenes and saves them when they cry out to Him for help.
The incident teaches us several lessons. The first is that as believers we sometimes encounter overwhelming problems without warning ("swamped", v. 24), in which we fear because we face imminent danger (v. 25). But how are we to react?
Be Cheerful in Distress!
Beloved, our God has not promised us a trouble-free life, but that we should be cheerful in the midst of troubles because "I have overcome the world" (John 16:33). David wrote: "Save me, O God; for the waters are come in unto my soul. I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing: I am come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me" (Ps 69:1-2).
As far as you are a believer, afflictions are your lot, but your deliverance is assured: "Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all" (Ps 34:19; cp Acts 14:22; 2 Tim.3:12). It’s not the storm that should impact your heart, but what God has destined for you each time you experience a storm of trouble– the calm of deliverance. You are secure in the LORD, in that "A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee" (Ps. 91:7). So think and act as such:
"When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid: yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet.
"Be not afraid of sudden fear, neither of the desolation of the wicked, when it cometh.
"For the LORD shall be thy confidence, and shall keep thy foot from being taken" (Prov. 3:24-26).
Storms naturally strike fear into people, as do sudden crises. But the divine word is that ‘do not be afraid of sudden terror’! I have overcome all for you. No matter your present predicament, steady your heart and keep trusting in the Lord (Ps 112:7). Doubts die hard for the one who focuses on the present.
Is Christ Missing in Action?
Like the experience of the disciples in the tempest incident at sea, it often happens that it’s when we feel so desperate at the peak of trouble that we tend not to feel the saving power of Christ, even though He’s spiritually with us (Ps 44:23-24). Do you identify with such a situation? Do you sometimes face overwhelming challenges in which Christ appears to be missing in action?
Do what the disciples did: despite all their fear and anxiety, they cried out to the Lord to save them. David said in Ps 56:3: "[Even] When I am afraid I will trust in You". Your trust will not go waste.
Christ in Action: He Stills the Storm
We observe that when Christ was awakened by the cry of the disciples, “He got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm" (v. 26 ISV). In bringing about this calmness, Christ acted swiftly (He ‘arose’), tackled the problem (‘wind’) head-on and brought it under control. He was absolutely on top of the situation prompting the disciples to say in utter wonderment: "What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him!" (v. 27). Awesome, unstoppable power on display!
This is the all-encompassing power of Christ described in Phil. 3:21 as "the power that enables Him even to subject all things to Himself" (Phil. 3:21 ESV). No problem is insurmountable before this mighty power of Christ. You only have to wake Him up, and a great, palpable calm will settle on your tumultuous life. Christ will deal with the problem head on. The crisis will disappear, and His peace will reign over every aspect of your life.
No problem is too hard for Him to fix; He’s the master problem-solver: "He hath done all things well: He maketh both the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak" (Mark 7:37).
So give Him the opportunity to put things right in your life by calling on Him in the day of trouble, and your life will experience total peace as you have never known before. Like the disciples, you will no doubt wonder aloud, ‘What manner of Man is this, that has brought such calm to my life?’
As He did for the disciples, Christ will use the occasion to strengthen your faith, and you will stand in great awe of His person and limitless power. He tells us in Ps 50:15: "Call upon Me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify Me".
Will you go down on your knees and call upon Him in prayer today? He has not abandoned you to your fate. He’s with you; He’s your companion in the storm. But you need to wake Him up; you need to cry out to Him. He’s much closer than you think, and His power is able to subdue all things under Him for the sake of your deliverance and peace. Call on Him now!