ENCOUNTERING JESUS: Great Storms and Growth Spurts    Luke 8:22-25

There’s a small chance I might not win “Father of the Year” award this year.  My kids love going to the park and we love taking them to the park.  It’s sort of our neighborhood “water hole.”  It’s where all of the families gather and the kids play and we get the chance to hang out with friends and chat.  My kids love riding the tire swing that’s there.  There’s three ways to spin a tire swing.  There’s the normal, sane parent way.  There’s, what I affectionately refer to as, beast-mode.  And there’s super beast-mode, which only I am able to do.  My two older kids love super beast-mode.  Super beast-mode pretty much means I hold nothing back.  I’m a grown man spinning an 8-year-old and a 6-year-old with all my might, looking like a fool and I don’t care.  A few weeks ago, the two older kids talked our youngest son, Reid, into sitting on the swing also.  So my 8-year-old, my 6-year-old, my 4-year-old are all on the tire swing.  There’s a conversation between the three kids where the two older are trying to talk him into doing super beast-mode because they know he gets to set the pace. Eventually, he agrees to be on the ride for super beast-mode.  I’m like, “Buddy, you know that daddy can’t hold back when he goes super beast-mode.”  He answers, “I know, daddy, I’m ready for it.”  I start rocking it and I pivot and I spin it as hard as I can.  And I just sit back.  My youngest son’s blond hair shoots straight up in the air and his eyes get as big as saucers.  He starts screaming the most blood-curdling scream you have ever heard in your life!  Immediately, I can feel the eyes of every parent look over, right?  Like, “Who’s the moron over there torturing the children?”  I’m like, “He asked for it!  Super beast-mode!”  I stop the swing, I get him off, he goes to counseling….   I walk back to my wife and the rest of the parents.  I’m saying, “He said he wanted super beast-mode.”  They’re like, “What’s wrong with you, Paulson?”

Sometimes life feels like you’re on a tire swing, doesn’t it?  If you’re a follower of Jesus this morning, the question we often ask is, “God, where are you when life is spinning?”  “Where are you when I’m holding on for dear life?”  And, “Are you the kind of God that does that?  Are you the kind of God that spins us and just sits back and watches us hold on and watches us suffer?”  If you’re not a follower of Jesus this morning, one of the main questions I get from people who aren’t followers of Christ is, “How do you explain the world we live in if you have an all-powerful, all-sovereign, and all-good God?”  Because sometimes life hurts, and sometimes life stings, and sometimes it feels like we are on the tire-swing-of-life and God is on the sidelines just watching us spin and just watching us suffer.  What do we do with that?  While I don’t propose to have all of the answers to that really good and really complex question this morning, what I want to do is invite us into Luke 8 as we see a story about a storm.  You may not ever be in this situation where you’re in a literal, physical storm, wondering how you’re going to make it to safety.  My guess is, at some point in your life, you’re going to face a storm that you wonder how you’re going to make it through.  It may be the death of a friend or a loved one or a child.  It may be the loss of a job or something that just doesn’t go right.  It may be a fracture in a relationship.  There’s a lot of areas that we tend to sense the wind and the waves in our life.  This passage of Scripture is going to invite us to reimagine God’s posture and His position as life spins around.  Because life spins sometimes, doesn’t it?

Luke 8:22-23.  Here’s the way Dr. Luke tells the story:  One day he (Jesus) got into a boat with his disciples, and he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side of the lake.”  So they set out, and as they sailed he fell asleep. {Don’t you just love this snapshot into the humanity of Jesus?  Yes, he can walk on water, but he also needs a nap every now and then.}  And a windstorm came down on the lake, and they were filling with water and were in danger.  So, the Sea of Galilee is positioned in such a way with the surrounding hills that these squalls would come down from the hills and windstorms would just torment the sea in a significant way.  You could leave and it would be as clear as day, then in a moment’s notice a storm could appear and absolutely wreck your day of water skiing, okay?  That was the nature of the Sea of Galilee at this point in time.

Here’s a few questions I want to ask as we begin our time of studying this morning.  Whose idea is it to go across the lake?  Jesus’s.  Luke wants you to know that and he wants you to feel that.  Because, certainly, the disciples found themselves in the middle of the lake, in the storm, Jesus sleeping on a cushion, and they’re going, “Hey, would somebody remind me whose idea it was that we’re in the middle of this lake right now?”  Luke wants you to know it was Jesus who said, “Let us go across to the other side of the lake.”  If the disciples…….like you and I, there were people my parents didn’t want me hanging out with in high school.  There were people that every time we hung out together, we got in trouble.  Every time we hung out together, things went a little bit bad.  If you didn’t have a friend like that in high school, you were probably somebody’s friend like that in high school. They always had bad ideas.  I wonder if the disciples look at each other and go, “Jesus, king of the bad idea! It was YOUR call to get in the boat.  YOUR call to row across the lake.  It was YOUR idea that put us here.”

Second question:  Does Jesus know that the storm is coming.  Certainly.  I would propose he does; anyone who can predict their own death and resurrection certainly has the capability to know if a storm is on the horizon. So, Jesus’s idea; Jesus knows that the storm is coming.  Last question:  Could Jesus have prevented the storm? Sure.  The guy wakes up from a nap, winks at the storm, it’s done, the sea is glass.  He certainly could have preemptively stopped the storm if he rebukes it and quiets it after it’s going.  Okay, let’s put it all together.  It’s Jesus’s idea that they go out on the lake.  Jesus knew that the storm was coming.  Jesus could have stopped the storm.  So why in the world would a good, gracious God put his disciples in the place where the wind and the waters rage and they wonder if they’re going to make it out the other side alive?  This is the question we often ask and wrestle with:  God, if you’re all-good, if you’re all-powerful, why in the world did fill-in-the-blank happen?  And, where were you when that thing happened?  What I don’t want to do is propose this morning that God actively causes all evil in the world, but what I do want to do is propose a lens through which to see EVERYTHING that comes into our life and that lens is God is all-powerful and he can stop whatever he wants from hitting us.  He’s got to have a purpose, he’s got to have a reason and in the midst of THIS storm, we start to see that Jesus has a reason for the wind and the waves in the lives of the disciples. {Will you look up at me for just a second?}  He’s got a purpose for the wind and the waves in your life, too.  He wants to use them. Because there’s some things God wants to do in our heart, in our soul, and in our life that only come when things get difficult, when the wind rages, and when we are in great peril or danger.

In the book of Judges 3:1-2, the nation of Israel has taken the Promised Land.  They’re in the next generation of people who are going to start living in the Promised Land.  Listen to the way that the author of Judges put it: Now these are the nations that the Lord left, {So there’s some nations in the Promised Land that the Israelites haven’t conquered.  There’s some nations that are going to be coming after them.  Why did he leave them?}  to test Israel by them, that is, all in Israel who had not experienced all the wars in Canaan.  It was only in order that the generations of the people of Israel might know war, to teach war to those who had not known it before.  God has a purpose in the fight there, because your faith needs a fight!  Faith doesn’t develop.  Faith isn’t cultivated on the mountaintop away from everything else.  Faith is cultivated, faith is strengthened in the valley, when we wonder how we are going to make it through.

Jesus puts the disciples in this same position to strengthen them, to stretch them, to test them, because he knows their faith needs a fight.  Here’s the problem:  Jesus is asleep!  I’d be okay with all of this, right?  Jesus positions the storm, Jesus calls them out onto the water, Jesus could have stopped it, this is Jesus’s idea and He sleeps through his own test!  Right?  I love that the bible is so real, because if it were….hey, everything was easy and everything was calm and the disciples’ lives were perfect from start to finish after they met Jesus, all of us would look at them and go, “That’s not really how it works.”  Sometimes we are in the midst of a season that is dark and painful and we cry out to God and we wrestle with God and it feels like he’s asleep.  Anyone want to say Amen to that?  You’re in good company, because all throughout the Scriptures you have people who cry out to God, “God, where are you??”  Listen to the prophet Habakkuk at the beginning of his account:  O Lord, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not hear?  Or cry to you “Violence!” and you will not save? (Habakkuk 1:2)  That’s in the bible.  You’re silent!!  The psalmist in Psalms 13:1-2 says this:  How long, O Lord?  Will you forget me forever?  How long will you hide your face from me?  How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day?  How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?  God, if you’re good, God, if you’re powerful, are you sleeping??  Where are you?  I’d love to see your hand move and I’d love to see your hand work!  One more, Psalm 22:1-2 — My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?  Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?  O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest.  What I was subtly taught, or at least what I heard in church, was God can’t handle the big questions.  God can’t handle the honest questions.  They were just suppose to sing “It is well with my soul,” even if it’s not.  So what do we do when it feels like we’re on the tire-swing of life and we’re spinning around and Jesus seems like he’s sleeping?

That’s a great question.  Here’s the way the passage continues (Luke 8:24) — And they went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!”  And he awoke and rebuked the wind and the raging waves, and they ceased, and there was a calm.  We’re perishing!  We’re in danger!  Our boat is sinking!  Wouldn’t we love to think that faith is a submarine that takes us under the water and under the wind and under the waves and out of the storm.  It’s just that faith doesn’t work that way.  Faith is not a submarine that takes us under, but faith is a connection to a person who walks with us through.  Here’s what Luke would have us learn as we study this passage of Scripture:  When Jesus want to deepen our faith, he often disorients our life.   The life of faith ignites when the illusion of control dies.  Let me say that again.  The life of faith ignites when the illusion of control dies.  Control is an illusion.  You do know that you are one phone call away, one doctor visit away, one drive away from your entire life changing.  Jesus wants to do something in the lives of the disciples.  He wants them to be the people that carry the torch of the kingdom of God.  He wants them to be the people who, after he’s dead, resurrected, and ascended to the throne, carry the good news of the gospel to the ends of the earth….the declaration that Jesus is King!  What Jesus knows is that in their current state, they are not capable.  So he needs to deepen their life.  He needs to expand their faith.  The way that he deepens their faith is by disorienting their life.  So here’s the great news: There’s significant power in being out of control!  If you’re a person of faith, there’s significant power in being out of control, because it’s in THOSE areas, in THOSE times of life, that we actually start to reach out to God.  We can be apathetic until the storm hits, yes?  It’s the storm that reminds us man, there’s more going on in this story, there’s more that God is up to.  I love the way that author Mark Sayers puts it: “In the storm, God shreds you of those parts of you that battle him.  Those who avoid God’s holy storms fail to feel their pain, but they also fail to grow.”

Because when God wants to deepen our faith, he disorients our life.  Disorientation is one of God’s greatest tools for spiritual formation.  Wouldn’t you love it to be like a class where you just read and study the Bible? Like that’s the way we grow most.  But if we were to go around this room, here’s the stories we would tell. The stories we would tell would be — The things that shook me most severely, shaped me most significantly.  That’s what we’d say.  We’d say it was walking through that health scare and clinging to Jesus in the midst of that….that’s what grew my faith.  It was the late nights praying and weeping and wondering if our adult child was going to make it that deepened our faith.  Ironically, it was the call from the doctor or a call from the boss that changed everything…..those are the stories, because the things that shake us most severely are also the things that shape us most significantly.

When God wants to deepen our faith, he often disorients our life.  Look at the way James put it in this letter to the churches (James 1:2-4) — Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.  {It’s like this endurance.  This “I’m not giving up.  I’m shaped and formed in the storm in such a way that, God, I’m hanging on in any and every situation.”}  And let steadfastness have its full effect, {Here’s what James just said: Keep holding on!} …that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. It’s the Greek word ‘teleios.’  It’s this idea of maturity, that you might be mature.  I used to read it and think that it said that storms strengthen our faith.  It’s not that easy though. What strengthens our faith is walking faithfully through life’s storms.  You know you can walk through a storm and have it actually be a detriment to your faith, AND you can walk through a storm and have it develop your faith. What’s the difference?  How you WALK.  Are you continuing to walk faithfully?  Are you continuing to walk with God?  As John Maxwell, the leadership guru, says, “Good management of bad experiences leads to growth.”  It does.  What goes on is that the storms start to reveal to us more about who we are.

If you’d invite me in this morning, in the next few minutes that we have together, I want to draw out from this passage of Scripture a profile of what it looks like to walk through the storms of life.  I don’t intend to answer every single question that comes up, but I do want to say, if you feel like you’re on the tire-swing of life or if you see the billowing clouds and the storm coming in, I want to teach you what it looks like to walk with Jesus in the midst of the wind and the waves.  This passage of Scripture beautifully draws that out.  Verse 24.  As the wind is raging and the storm is coming and the waves are crashing against the boat, coming inside of the boat: And they went and woke him….   The woke up Jesus.  This is this moment of truth in this story.  If this is a story arc, this is the climatic scene.  The disciples have to wrestle with…are we going to get a bucket and start baling water or are we going to go wake up the presumably ‘Savior of the world?’  I love this, because you and I, we have the same question to wrestle with every single day.  This is our moment of truth also.   When the storms of life hit, do we get a bucket and do we start baling water, or do we go and run back to our Savior and cry out, “I need you!  I can’t do this on my own.  My life is spinning and I need your touch, I need your voice, I need you to step in.”  Here’s a confession for you this morning:  I’m great with a bucket.  Here’s what my bucket looks like.  My bucket, in the storms of life that hit me, looks like me putting my head down and work harder. I’ll work myself out of this.  I’ll build a little shelter around my heart and my soul so that I’m not emotionally available to anybody, because I don’t want you to be able to hurt me.  That’s part of my bucket.  I’ll start to see bitterness and cynicism rise up in my soul.  Those are ways I navigate life’s storms.  How do you do it?  It’s a great thing to know what your bucket is because oftentimes we bale without even knowing it.  Maybe it’s anger. Maybe it’s depression.  To know what your bucket is is significant, because you and I, we can either try to control every circumstance and situation around us or we can cry out.  We can either grit our teeth to get it done, or we can bow our knee and surrender.  Here’s the invitation from this passage — The life of faith, as we walk through or get PUSHED through the storms that often hit us in life…..the disciples teach us to reach out. Sure, it feels like Jesus is asleep, but he’s in your boat!!  Reach out!!  Faith says, “I cannot do this on my own!” Faith says, “I’m incapable.”  Faith says, “I need help!!”  We would be a really healthy community if we got better at saying that.  We all do.

There’s two ways we cry out to God.  One is directly to God in prayer.  I want to press on this a little bit, because our tendency in the storm is to get busier and work harder, either to get through it or to ignore it, but what we actually need is just the opposite of that.  We need to create rhythms and we need to create space in our life to hear the voice of God.  To sit with God in prayer.  To cry out to God about the storm.  Also, just to hear his voice.  Do you know what you need to hear more than anything else when the storms of life hit?  You know this deep down.  What you need to hear is not that he’s going to quiet the storms, but that he loves you in the midst of them.  You can hear me say that over your life, but if you create space to hear the God of the universe say that….  Hearing me say that might change your Sunday, hearing Him say it might change your whole life!!  It’s only in prayer, it’s only in silence, it’s only in solitude, and meditation on Scripture and contemplation….that’s when we hear the voice of God.  When the storms hit, we have a tendency to get busier. It’s the very thing we need LEAST.  We actually need to slow down and cry out and hear his voice.

We cry out to God directly, but then we also need the community of faith around us.  The disciples are in the boat together for a reason.  We’re in this space together for a reason—not to be a country club with one another, but to walk with each other through the pain and the suffering and the deep hurt we walk through as human beings in a broken world.  The Scriptures will tell us as a community of faith — Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. (2 Cor. 1:3-4)  He comforts us so that we can be a comfort to others.  He ministers to us so that we can be ministers to each other.  When was the last time you cried out to somebody else or just told them or just whispered, “Hey, I need help.  I need you to pray for me.  I need you to follow up with me, because it feels like this storm is sinking my boat.”  It feels like this storm is sinking our marriage.  It feels like this storm is something we aren’t going to make it through.  We need people around us who will say, “Oh, Jesus has piloted my boat through that storm, let me walk with you.”  I would add in also that there’s a part that friendship plays and then there’s also a part that there may be some things you’re walking through that you need a counselor to help you start to understand the thought patterns that you’re developing as you walk through the storm, the untruths that you’re starting to build your life on.  I am a huge advocate of reaching out to counselors, to friends, to the community of faith, to God and saying, “I need help!”  So, friends, reach out, don’t tap out!  Reach out, don’t tap out!  Imagine if we became a community of people where our first response was to go to Jesus, instead of it being our last resort.  What might God do?

Look at the way the story continues. And they went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” And he awoke and rebuked the wind and raging waves, and they ceased, and there was a calm.  {A peace. A shalom.}  He said to them, “Where is your faith?”  And they were afraid…  That’s a theme all throughout this passage: the wind, the waves, they’re perishing, they’re in danger.  They’re all words Luke uses to paint this picture.  And then Jesus asks this great question ‘Where is your faith?’ because here’s what he knows.  He knows that oftentimes the seeds of faith are planted in the storms of life.  He knows that sometimes the beginning of our faith journey, or a new phase in our faith journey walking with him, is initiated through a place of fear. Fear is a great place to meet Jesus; it’s a terrible place to leave Him!  Let me say that again.  Fear is a great place to meet Jesus, but it is a terrible place to leave him, because the seeds of faith often grow in the soil of fear.

A little while back, I was reading about this group of trees called the Lodgepole pines.  They grow mostly in the Pacific Northwest.  The Lodgepole pines are different from other pine trees because around the pinecone is this resin that holds the pinecone together so tightly that even when it falls off the tree and starts to die, that pinecone does not split open.  Lodgepole pines need a different type of environment for their seeds to start to grow.  That environment that a Lodgepole pine needs is a forest fire.  They need significant heat, because it’s in the heat that these pinecones finally start to open up.

I think this is a picture of the life of faith.  What are faith sometimes needs to open up is a fight, is a fire, is a storm.  It’s significant that when Jesus is leading the disciples along this path, out on this lake, into this storm, the question that He asks them is ‘Where is your faith?’  It’s significant how we read the inflection of that saying, isn’t it?  Where is your faith, {whispers} you losers?  That’s often how we read Jesus, isn’t it?  Where is your faith, you morons?  I can’t believe it!  OR….in light of what you’ve seen me do, where is your faith?  Is this a teaching moment or a moment of condemnation?  I read it and I think, “Man, I’ve read it for so long as a moment of condemnation, because I’ve sort of seen Jesus as crusty-face Jesus.”  {Deep-voice growl — Where is your faith? Haven’t I taught you better?}  I sort of picture the disciples looking back at him going, “Well, we woke you up, didn’t we?”  What did you want us to?  I think it’s more ‘Where is your faith?’ and the invitation for them is to say back to him, “Our faith is in YOU!”  That’s what we get the chance to do in the storms of life; to not only reach out; remember, we’re dependent beings and God is a sovereign God.  But that we reaffirm that He, in fact, is our God.

He said to the, “Where is your faith?”  And they were afraid, and they marveled, saying to one another, “Who then is this…?  Which is the most important question anyone will ever ask!  Who is this man, Jesus?  It’s the same question that Jesus asks his disciples as they’re walking down the road — Who do people say that the Son of Man is?  And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and other Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”  He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” (Matt. 16: 13-18)  After Peter says, “You’re the Lord, you’re the Christ, you’re the Messiah, the Anointed One.  You’re the King of it all!”  Jesus says back to Peter, “You are right and on THAT rock, on your affirmation of faith, I will build my church.  Here’s the thing, friends, will you look up at me for a second?  Every life is built on whatever we put our faith in and on.  That’s the foundation of our life.  The beauty and the power and the struggle of the storm is that the storms often erodes the foundation of our life and we didn’t realize we were building on that thing until it’s gone.  We didn’t realize we were building on health until it was gone.  We didn’t realize we were building on wealth until the storm came in and it knocked it out.  We didn’t realize that family was THE most important thing….   Family’s great.  Money’s good.  Health is essential.  But none of that stuff can be the focus of our faith.  It will fail us.  It WILL let us down.  That’s why it’s such an important question — Who do you say that I am? — because all of us are building on some foundation.  The question is is it a foundation that will stand in the storms of life or is it a foundation that will fail us?

The opportunity in the storm, the reason God often disorients our life to deepen it, is because the storm starts to put into perspective where our hope really lies.  Then we get the chance to redirect our gaze back to the only One who’s worthy of all of our hope and all of our dreams and all of our life.  Friends, the object of your faith will determine the course of your life!  It will!  Jesus is taking the disciples on Discipleship 101 boat ride. Where’s your faith?   I guess, after that Houdini trick, it’s in you!  It’s in you!  You’re King of it all!  You’re Lord of it all!  He uses this to draw their faith forward.  So I’ll use it to ask you the question:  Where is your faith this morning?

The disciples end this section of this passage of Scripture with this standing, dumbfounded, mouths open ‘Are you kidding me?!  Did we really just see that?!’  That’s my translation.  Here’s what they really say:  Who then is this, that he commands even winds and water, and they obey him?    Now, it’s lost on us, but for a Hebrew mind the sea carried with it this chaotic type of atmosphere.  For the Hebrews, the sea was this primordial, unordered chaos that from it came the forces of evil.  Which is why, if you read through the book of Revelations, the beast comes out of the ocean.  It’s this picture of evil, chaos, disorder.  What Luke’s doing when he tells us that Jesus calms the storm is that he’s telling a much bigger story than just this story.  Luke is telling us that Jesus has authority, has power, has control over the very things that we run from most.  Jesus is exercising power over nature.  He’s exerting his authority over the forces of chaos, which are trying to attack His children, His kids, and He’s saying, “I’m bigger than them all!”  Luke is making the case that Jesus is worthy of your faith.  That he’s worthy of your trust.

There’s a huge problem.  Jesus doesn’t quiet every storm.  Right?  There’s some storms that he walks with us through rather than standing in the bow of the boat saying, “Shhhh!  Be quiet!”  I don’t presume to know all the reasons why.  I only know that that’s true.  I only know that deep in my bones, in my soul, that He has all authority and power in heaven and on earth.  And so, He’s able, should he chose, to stop every storm.  If God wanted to heal my mom in the two years she dealt with a debilitating brain disease, He could have done it in a second!!  I would almost rather believe He couldn’t have done it!  I KNOW He could have done it!  So the question we have to wrestle with is if God is all-good, and all-powerful, then why do some things in life happen the way that they do?  He can calm ANY wind and ANY water and ANY wave.  Why does he choose to do it sometimes and why doesn’t he choose to do it other times?  I don’t know!  I only know this:  If I believe that God is strong enough to calm any wind, any storm, and any wave, I also have to believe He’s wise enough to know whether or not he should.  I can’t have one without the other.  I can’t say God, you’re all-powerful, but I’m all-wise, so here’s the way we’re going to do this.  No!  If He’s all-powerful, He’s also all-wise.

The storms bring us to this place where we bow at the feet of Jesus and, afresh, recognize his sovereignty.   We sang during offering that ‘this is our Father’s world.’  That tho’ the wrong seems oft so strong, He is the ruler yet.  Whatever comes into my life comes because He allows it, number one, but He also plans to use it.  I love the way the great Dutch theologian (Abraham Kuyper) says it: “There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry, Mine!”  That’s awesome!  The storm pushes me back to say, “God, you’re sovereign.  You know better than I know and so I’m going to trust you.”

You know what the storm also does?  It reminds me that my faith isn’t in an outcome.  My faith is not God, I have faith that you will….’  My faith is God, I have faith that you ARE.  It’s not God, I know you’re going to do it this way and that way, and I know you’re going to take my plan and you’re going to execute it to perfection.  It’s God, I know you’re all-powerful, all-good, all-sovereign, and I trust you to be all-wise.  I’m certainly going to tell you what I prefer, but then I’m going to bow and say, “The wind and the waves, they know your name and they have no clue who I am.”

Author Robert Louis Stevenson re-tells the story of his son who was on this fishing boat with a number of his friends.  They were in the middle of the ocean when a storm came up.  Stevenson’s son went to ask the captain of the boat if there was something that they could do about this terrible situation.  The story goes that the captain of the boat just turned back and smiled at Stevenson’s son.  His son when back and told his friends, “I have good news.  I have seen the captain’s face and he is unafraid!”  Friends, I have good news this morning.  I have seen the captain’s face and he’s unafraid!  He’s in your boat.  He’s in control.  He is good!  Whatever you’re walking through this morning, can I invite you to just step back and remember that the storm whisperer is in your boat!  While the promise is not He quiets every storm you’ll ever face….that is NOT the promise this morning!  The promise IS that He has quieted the biggest storm you will ever face.  When He died for your sin, was resurrected to new life, ascended to heaven, when He walked out of the grave, He looked at the storm of sin, He looked at the storm of death, He looked at the storm of separation from God, and He said, “Be still!!!” So death has lost it’s sting!  No power for those who, by faith, are in Christ.  That storm has been quieted by our Savior!  So the question we get to wrestle with this morning is God, through the disorientation in my life, how do you want to deepen my faith?  Will you reach out for Him?  Will you reaffirm God, my faith is in You, not in an outcome, but in You?  And I trust, that You are sovereign over all and maybe bigger than any of that, I trust that You are in my boat.

As we close our time together this morning, I’m going to invite Dave and Aaron back up.  They’re going to play a song.  On the other side of your outline there’s three bullet points.  One says ‘My Storm.’  The other says ‘My Reach.’  The final one says ‘My Conviction.’  So I’d invite you, before we go rushing out of here to the noise and chaos of our day, to pray and ask God, “God, what are stirring up here?”  Is there a storm I’m walking through right now or maybe one that I just came out of?  Here’s my reach out to you, here’s my prayer to you.  In the midst of the storm, here’s my conviction about who you are and about who I am in You.  Aaron’s going to sing this great old hymn, Jesus, Savior, Pilot Me.  As you write and pray, I’d also invite you to listen to these great words.

1. Jesus, Savior, pilot me
Over life’s tempestuous sea;
Unknown waves before me roll,
Hiding rock and treacherous shoal.
Chart and compass come from Thee:
Jesus, Savior, pilot me.

2. As a mother stills her child,
You can hush the ocean wild;
Boisterous waves obey Thy will
When You say to them, “Be still!”
Wondrous Sovereign of the sea,
Jesus, Savior, pilot me.

3. When at last I near the shore,
And the fearful breakers roar
Grant me long and peaceful rest,
Then, while leaning on Your chest,
May I hear You say to me,
“Fear not, I will pilot thee.”

Jesus, that is our prayer this morning, that you would, in the disorienting times in life, deepen our faith.  That you’d teach us to reach out to you and to others.  That you would reorient our trust and our faith and remind us in the midst of it all that you’re sovereign over all.  So, this morning, Father, Jesus, Holy Spirit, we say back to you that we love you and we are overwhelmed with gratitude, that in the midst of any storm we walk through, we know that you are in our boat.  That makes all the difference in the world.  It’s in the name of Jesus we pray.  And all God’s people said….AMEN!