26 July 2015
Almighty and most merciful God, the protector of all who trust in You. Strengthen our faith and give us courage to believe that in Your love You will rescue us from all adversities.
Did you hear what was just prayed? “…give us courage to believe that in Your love You will rescue us from all adversity.” What is you experience? Does Jesus rescue us from all adversities? And, is this an act of His love?
Christ brings His children into difficult and fearful situations. To strengthen them. In His presence and power. Only to deliver them from ultimate peril.
During these difficult times. Especially in times of hardship. Christ is the presence and power to save.
1. Jesus sometimes sends His people into fearful situations.
A. Jesus sent His disciples into a perilous situation. He sent them out to sea. At the exact times when storms would brew.
When life's troubles rise to meet me,
Though their weight
May be great,
They will not defeat me.
God, my loving Savior, sends them;
He who knows
All my woes
Knows how best to end them.
-Why Should Cross and Trial Grieve Me -stanza two
IMMEDIATELY He made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side to Bethsaida…And when evening came, the boat was out on the sea...And He saw that they were making headway painfully, for the wind was against them. And about the fourth watch of the night, He came to them walking on the sea.
B. We sometimes find ourselves in a difficult context. Maybe it’s a health issue. Or, unemployment. Or, under—employment. Possibly, there’s trouble at home. Or a special needs child. Certainly, the weather has affected property, production of crops.
C. We might question. Why would God do this? In our lessons for today. God’s promises are given. The Lord remembers these promises. Men easily forget. The Lord promised Noah and his family that He would never destroy the world by a flood. Paul thanks the Lord for the richness of grace, which the Lord established in Christ. And Christ came. Walking to His frightened disciples on the sea.
2. God sometimes appears to pass us by in times of peril.
A. Jesus appeared intent on passing by the disciples in their time of peril.
Immediately [Jesus] made his disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. And after he had taken leave of them, he went up on the mountain to pray. And when evening came, the boat was out on the sea, and he was alone on the land. And he saw that they were making headway painfully, for the wind was against them. And about the fourth watch of the night, he came to them, walking on the sea. He meant to pass by them.
B. It can appear to us that God isn’t paying attention to us in our time of need. Yet we continue to pray. Even when prayer doesn’t make sense. Jesus prayed when things were tough. He prays because this is what faith does. And so do you. You pray because you know none other.
C. The question is – Why God would, You do this!
3. When God’s direction brings hardship. When He appears to neglect us. We often respond with fear and despair.
A. The disciples failed to trust Jesus presence and power to deliver them.
“…but when they say him, walking on the sea they thought it was a ghost and cried out. For the all saw Him. And were terrified.”
They were tortured by the sea. So they cried out in terror. Notice the last verse. “For they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened.”
They did not recognize Him because of fear. And hardness of heart.
B. Whenever disobedience to God’s direction brings hardship. We doubt. We question His presence. We argue against His gracious purpose.
Faith calls us to recognize the Lord’s working in our life. Especially when we cannot see His hand at work. God will not abandon us to the world we create for ourselves. God does not withdraw to a contamination-free zone. He does not leave us. To get on with it on our own. Rather, He enters into the darkness, seriousness and the consequences of human wrongdoing. He enters our world. He comes in order to save us.
4. But God’s purpose is to use this experience to benefit us.
A. But God’s purpose is to use this experience for your benefit. It is remarkable that none of the gospels provide a physical description of Jesus. You would never know Jesus, standing on the street, Based on His appearance. You will always have to recognize Jesus for who He is and what He does. It takes faith to recognize Jesus as the one who suffered and died on the cross. It takes faith to recognize Jesus as the Christ. The Son of God. The Savior of the world.
B. God uses these experiences of hardship to strengthen faith. The disciples were awed and amazed at Jesus’ power. The wind ceased. There was a great calm. We too, are awed at God’s grace and power to save.
Everything that is happening to you is ultimately for your good. Christ cannot fail you. Never will He leave you. Never will He forsake you. He lives to sustain you even is the most unpleasant circumstances.