Storms in Life

Published by DonDavidson on

Jesus had just fed 5,000 men, plus many more women and children. Then as he went up on a mountain to pray, he sent his disciples away in a boat to the other side of the Sea of Galilee. They soon encountered a fierce wind and unruly waves.[1] They were doing exactly what Jesus had told them to do, going where he had told them to go, and yet things were going very badly for them.  

Have you ever felt that way? I certainly did when I left active duty in 1992. I spent 12 years on active duty in the Navy and was planning to remain for at least another 8 to earn my military retirement. But then I submitted my resignation, because, for a variety of reasons, I felt that God wanted me to leave active duty. In fact, I have never been more certain that I was doing what God wanted me to do.

Then I couldn’t find a job. I had job hunted from long distance before I left active duty, then searched for several more months after getting back home, all without success. At the time I had a wife and baby to support, and I had not saved nearly enough during my time in the Navy. I felt stressed and more than a little scared about the future. I never doubted God, but I often doubted whether I had misread him—and I worried a lot about how it would all turn out.  (Next week I’ll tell you how it turned out.)

Why are we so surprised during those times when life is hard? When finances are stretched? When a loved one dies? When we feel mistreated or taken advantage of by others?

Last week and the week before I talked about how the so-called prosperity Gospel is a lie. God never promised Christians would become wealthy or have an easy life. In fact, he promised just the opposite.

In John 16:33, Jesus said, “In the world you have tribulation.”

In John 15:18-20, Jesus assured his followers that the world would hate them, just as the world hated him, and that they would be persecuted.

Paul says, in 2 Timothy 3:12, “all who want to live in a godly way in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” Paul certainly knew about tribulation and persecution. In 2 Corinthians 11:23-27, he answers his critics by recounting all that he had suffered for Christ:

Are they servants of Christ?—I am speaking as if insane—I more so; in far more labors, in far more imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in danger of death. Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent adrift at sea. I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers at sea, dangers among false brothers; I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure.

Indeed, many New Testament verses talk about the tribulation and persecution Christians must expect and endure.

But there is good news . . . next week.

[1]. You will find this story in Matthew 14:24-33, Mark 6:47-52, John 6:16-21


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *