How to Calm the Unexpected & Sudden Storms of Life

Jan 11, 2020

Have you ever had something just come out of nowhere that was so surprising that it sucked the breath right out of you?  An unexpected storm of life that came upon you suddenly and threatened great damage, violence or even death?  Your spouse said they want a divorce and you thought everything was good.  Your doctor tells you that you have cancer and you just thought you had a cold.  You lost your job right after buying a new house.


Talk about stress!  These situations (and I’d venture to say we’ve all had at least a couple) are pressure-filled moments that truly test your faith in God and his word.  You might be tempted to think, “this one is going to kill me” or “there is no way out of this one." 


Hebrews 4:15 tells us that Jesus understands this temptation…”He understands humanity, for as a Man, our magnificent King-Priest was tempted in every way just as we are, and conquered sin.”  Maybe you, like me, have read that verse in the past and thought that applied to the temptation to steal or temptation for lustful thoughts because it says he conquered sin.  It’s enlightening to know that the temptation to give up or give in is linked to sin.  To not see God as a Way Maker, to doubt his word and goodness or be in unbelief is sin. 


Just one chapter prior we read, “They grieved God for forty years by sinning in their unbelief, until they dropped dead in the desert. So God swore an oath that they would never enter into his calming place of rest all because they disobeyed him. It is clear that they could not enter into their inheritance because they wrapped their hearts in unbelief.” Hebrews 3:17-19


Unbelief can kill you.  Unbelief will cause you to miss out on your inheritance, the promises of God.  Unbelief will make it so you never experience God's calming place of rest.


So, what’s a good example in Jesus’ life of something coming upon him so suddenly, so violently that he could have been tempted to think he was going to die or not be able to get out of this one?

Later that day, after it grew dark, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s cross over to the other side of the lake.” After they had sent the crowd away, they shoved off from shore with him, as he had been teaching from the boat, and there were other boats that sailed with them. Suddenly, as they were crossing the lake, a ferocious tempest arose, with violent winds and waves that were crashing into the boat until it was all but swamped. But Jesus was calmly sleeping in the stern, resting on a cushion. So they shook him awake, saying, “Teacher, don’t you even care that we are all about to die!” Fully awake, he rebuked the storm and shouted to the sea, “Hush! Calm down!” All at once the wind stopped howling and the water became perfectly calm. Then he turned to his disciples and said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Haven’t you learned to trust yet?” But they were overwhelmed with fear and awe and said to one another, “Who is this man who has such authority that even the wind and waves obey him?” Mark 4:35-41

Jesus had just been teaching and pouring himself out to people all day long.  It’s dark and Jesus is exhausted. After giving instruction he falls asleep. Remember, Jesus didn’t do things of his own initiative. (John 8:28).  He only said what he heard his Father saying. He only did what he saw the Father do. So, he was on a mission, an assignment, to get to the other side of the lake to free a man bound to demons.  Satan didn’t want to see this man freed. So, he stirred up a storm to prevent Jesus from going or perhaps even as a way to kill Jesus and all the others with him.  


Now I want you to notice the verse says that the storm came suddenly.  The disciples included trained fisherman that would know if a storm was coming.  They wouldn’t have ventured out if they knew it was unsafe. It was a surprise attack.  The Greek word is ginomai and means something that happens unexpectedly or something that catches you off guard.  You can relate, right?


Whether Jesus was totally exhausted or he slept in faith, I don’t know for sure, but the story tells us it was a great storm that came suddenly.  A mega-storm! Notice it doesn’t say it was raining.  It was a storm of wind that stirred the waves. It was an unseen force that swept into their lives that night and threatened to totally destroy them.  They couldn’t see the enemy but they surely felt the effects.

It's easy to read stories like this in the Bible and not be moved much by them as we just skim through them or we've heard it before.  This is why meditation on the word is so important.  Picture what it would be like to be out in the sea in the dark in a violent storm.  It was terrifying for the disciples.  They thought they were going to die.  These were manly men, many that knew the sea, and they were overwhelmed by fear.


So, here’s what I want to point out to you:

  1. When you suddenly have a mega-storm in your life that threatens to destroy you, Jesus understands your humanity.  He knows the temptation to give in to the feeling of being totally overwhelmed by it and the feeling that you’ll be swept away by it and destroyed.

  2. Unexpected storms that rock your boat, are often right before your biggest victories.  After this storm, Jesus freed the demonized man of thousands of demons and this miracle changed the entire area.  Some of the stress that tries to come into your life is the enemy keeping you from fulfilling your destiny.  I don't know about you, but just the knowledge of that is what is going on in this situation makes me raise my chin up a little higher in defiance and say, "Not today, Satan."

  3. You, like Jesus, have the ability to speak to the storms in your life, the unseen but felt forces, and tell them to hush.  (That’s the nice language for shut up, my mother taught me but you don’t need to feel the need to be so nice.) Notice Jesus didn’t pray and ask God to calm the storm, he did it with his words of faith.  He knew it was God’s will for them to get to the other side, to be safe and to see God’s hand of power in their lives so he spoke it forth.  

    You might think, "Who am I to calm a storm?"  When you speak out in authority, it is Jesus living in you and living his life out through you to bring the kingdom of heaven to earth.  “My old identity has been co-crucified with Messiah and no longer lives; for the nails of his cross crucified me with him. And now the essence of this new life is no longer mine, for the Anointed One lives his life through me—we live in union as one! My new life is empowered by the faith of the Son of God who loves me so much that he gave himself for me, and dispenses his life into mine!” (Galatians 2:20)

    You can expect the wind and waves to obey you because they still know and respond to Jesus who dispenses his life into yours!  He lives his life out through you.  Wow! Read the Scripture again. Read it one more time out loud. That is either true or it’s not. If it’s true, it’s life-changing. (Hint: It’s true.)

  4. After calming the storm, the scripture says there was a perfect calm.  Calm is the will of God for your life. He’ll take the area of your storm and give you perfect calm in it.  If finances are where your storm has been waging, you’ll experience a perfect calm in your finances. If it’s your relationship with your family, you’ll experience a perfect calm in your relationships.  That’s how God rolls. Whatever the attack, God wants to not only match it but better it in his blessing. It’s so exciting that that’s the character of the God we serve!

But we must be honest with ourselves, the majority of the storms in our life do not come upon us suddenly and unexpectedly, they are simply the consequences of poor decisions made on our own without getting God and his will involved.  Most battles, most stress-busting, that we face are in areas where we weren’t obedient to God. We didn’t heed the Holy Spirit’s warning to deal with something in our life before it came to this point. We got off in an area where we thought we could handle it on our own. 

When a storm comes, make sure that you have been faithful to the promptings of the Holy Spirit in your life.  If you haven't, then confess it (admit to it), own it (don't try to blame anyone or anything for it), and repent of it (change your mind about it and go in a different direction).  To the best of your knowledge make sure you have left no doors open for an attack.  

Remember, stress is simply a sign that you need more Jesus in that area of your life. Stress doesn’t have to stress you out! The pressure, the problem, the trial can simply point you back to Jesus. You can speak to the storm and trust that your good and faithful God will deliver you from all the plans of the enemy and see you through to the other side.

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