You can imagine the old man’s surprise when the huge ship began crossing over to the riverside where the two were fishing. When the boat edged to the riverbank and dropped its gangplank, the little boy climbed aboard. When he reached the pilot house on the ship the little boy called down to the elderly gentleman, "Mister, I knew this ship would stop for me. The captain is my father!" The little boy knew his location - he knew where he stood in relation to the Captain and he could call the ship over fully expecting it to do so.

God has the power to calm the storms of our lives, if He so desires. He created them in the first place and He can calm them. But sometimes

#2) Sometimes He lets the storms of life rage around us so we can depend on Him:

In His wisdom, and because of His plan for us, sometimes Jesus will allow us to go through many storms. It is a test of our faith and it is for our ultimate good. It builds our faith in Him. The fact is, we all need certain storms in life. Without them, our faith would not mature and our lives would be incomplete.

Story:

When I was a teenager at Wood-Ridge High School, I played football and began to lift weights. And in order to increase our strength, we had to add more and more weight to the bar. Little by little and week after week we were able to see a dramatic increase in our strength as we added more and more weight. The fact is that when we first started, we were unable to lift much weight, but after months of gradually adding a pound or two at a time, we were able to lift as much as 100 pounds more than when we first started.

God allows trials and storms of life to come so that we are prepared for the bigger and stronger storms that come later in life.

James 1:2-4,

"My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing."

We need to remove all secondary causes in our lives and realize that we have a God who cares about us and wants us to mature and grow in the faith and that He is behind everything in our lives and that He allows the storms and trials to come so that we will see Him behind it all, and when we have the victory, we can give Him all the glory.

Story:

Listen to the story of a man named Charlie Riggs. Over 50 years ago, Charlie Riggs got saved and was being discipled by a young man named Lorne Sanny, who himself was being discipled by Dawson Trotman, the founder of the Navigators.

Charlie was willing to grow in Christ, but he was a bit rough around the edges and didn’t seem very promising as a Christian leader. When Lorne wrote to Dawson, he told him that Charlie Riggs was the only man he was working with and he felt discouraged by the prospects. Trotman wrote back and said, "Stay with your man. You never know what God will do with him." So, Lorne Sanny continued to work with Charlie Riggs.

A few years passed and a young man named Billy Graham came on the scene. In 1952, the Navigators "loaned" Charlie Riggs to the Graham team to handle the follow-up in their early crusades. He planned to return to the Navigators eventually. However, he worked out so well that he stayed with Billy Graham.

In 1957, on the eve of the famous New York City crusade at Madison Square Garden, the crusade director suddenly had to be replaced. Who could they get? The lay chairman suggested Charlie Riggs, but Billy Graham wasn’t sure if he could handle the job. "All he does is pray and quote Scripture."

The layman insisted, Charlie Riggs got the job and the rest is history. The New York campaign became a model for the many crusades that would follow in later years. Billy Graham said, "I didn’t think he could do it. But I had this peace—that Charlie so depended on the Holy Spirit that I knew the Lord could do it through Charlie."

Charlie Riggs retired after many years of effective service to the Lord. What was his secret? How could a man with little formal training rise to such a high position and hold it for so long?

He says, "I always asked the Lord to put me in over my head. That way, when I had a job to do, either the Lord had to help me or I was sunk." God was delighted to answer this prayer time after time. He put Charlie Riggs in over his head—and then bailed him out.

Sometimes God wants you to go through a storm just so He can calm it and get you through it!

#3) Sometimes He lets the storms stay on us:

You say why would a loving Savior allow the storms to remain with us and on us? Because Jesus wants us to see that even while He is asleep and we may think that He has left us alone and doesn’t care about us, He comes at just the right time and helps us through the storms of life.

This is what happened here in Mark chapter four. The disciples were full of fear, the opposite of faith. And because of their inability to handle the situation, Jesus intervened.

This story is a story of questions. There are really three questions around which this story revolves. The disciples asked Jesus one question. They asked, "Don’t you care that we are going to perish?" And then Jesus asked them two questions. He asked, "Why are you so fearful?" and "How is it that ye have no faith?"

At times, we too are like the disciples. We feel that Jesus is indifferent to us and to our needs. We, too way, "Lord, don’t you care that I’m going through this hard time? Why don’t you do something, Lord?" And we hear nothing. It is as if He is asleep, as in the boat. But He is not asleep, and He does care. The thing we are going through may be necessary for our development.

Story: A man found a cocoon of the emperor moth and took it home to watch it emerge. One day a small opening appeared, and for several hours the moth struggled but couldn't seem to force its body past a certain point.

Deciding something was wrong, the man took scissors and snipped the remaining bit of the cocoon. The moth emerged easily, its body large and swollen, and its wings small and shriveled.

He expected that in a few hours the wings would spread out in their natural beauty, but they did not. Instead of developing into a creature free to fly, the moth spent its life dragging around a swollen body and shriveled wings.

The constricting cocoon and the struggle necessary to pass through the tiny opening are God's way of forcing fluid from the body into the wings. The "merciful" snip from that man was, in reality, cruel. Sometimes the struggle is exactly what we need.

God may allow the storms and trials to stay until our faith is strengthened and refined or it could be that God is chastening us to bring us close to Him. Whatever the reason, it is all done because of God’s great love for us.

Sometimes Jesus does calm the storm, sometimes He doesn’t so we will depend on Him, and sometimes He let’s the storms stay to make us stronger.

#4) Sometimes He lets the storms refine us:.

Famous preacher F. B. Meyer used to say, "A bar of iron is worth $2.50, when wrought into horseshoes it is worth $5.00. If made into needles it is worth $175.00. If made into a penknife blade it is worth $1,625.00. If made into springs for watches it is worth $125,000.00. What a ‘trial by fire’ that bar must undergo to be worth this! But the more it is manipulated, and the more it is hammered and passed through the heat, beaten, pounded, and polished, the greater its value."

Christian, are you wondering about the trials and storms through which you are passing? With impatient heart are you saying, "How long, O Lord?" The heat of the flame and the blows of the hammer are necessary if you are to be more than an unpolished, rough bar of iron. God’s all-wise plan, though it calls for the fire, produces the valuable watch spring of maturity. His very best for your life has behind it His perfect timing.

In Mark chapter four, the disciples ask Jesus if He cares for them. Of course the obvious answer is that He does. But because they were in the middle of a storm, they doubted for a moment that He really cared for them. Sometimes we too in the midst of a storm may doubt God’s care for us.

If we have the faith that we need as we go through the storms of life and are refined by these trials, we will realize that God allows this for our own good and to build our faith in Him!

Story:

When a small boy came home from Sunday School, his father asked him what he had learned that day. "The teacher taught us about the children of Israel escaping from Egypt," the little boy replied, "and when they came to the Red Sea they pumped up their inflatable boats so they could get away from Pharaoh’s soldiers."

"Now wait a minute," said Dad. "Is that really the way it happened?" The little boy replied, "If I told it the way she did Dad, you’d never believe it!"

And we sometimes have a hard time believing that a loving God would allow His children to go through storms. But yes, its true!

Romans 5:3-4 says,

"And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope."

Fear or faith?

We need to see that fear is the opposite of faith. Over and over we are commanded, "Fear not!" God said, "Fear not, Joshua, be strong and of good courage." The Lord speaks to us and says, "Fear not, for I have redeemed thee." Over and over, Jesus says, "Fear not." And here, he asks His disciples, "Why are ye so fearful?"

Our question to Jesus is, "Why don’t you care about us?" His reply to us is, "Have you no faith?" This is the key. While we say, "Lord, don’t you care about my situation?" He says, "Son, why don’t you trust me in it?"

Faith drives out fear. The Bible teaches that we have not been given a spirit of fear. The only reason we ever question God is because of fear, or a lack of faith. They are really the same many times. When we trust God, we have no reason to fear. For we know that as long as we are in His hands we are safe. And we trust that whatever He deems best for us is truly best. There is no need to fear when He is on our side.

Oh, that we may say, like the Psalmist, "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for Thou art with me." That is faith. That is where the Lord wants us to be.

Story:

"H. G. Spafford was a businessman in Chicago. He was a dedicated Christian. He had some serious financial reversals, and during the time of readjustment, he lost his home."

He realized his family needed to get away for a vacation. Spafford decided to take his entire family to England. He sent his wife and four daughters ahead . . . In midocean the French steamer carrying his loved ones collided with another vessel and sank within twelve minutes; 230 people lost their lives. Spafford’s four daughters were drowned, but Mrs. Spafford was rescued. She wired her husband and sent him two words, "Saved alone."

"Mr. Spafford was [understandably] almost overcome with grief. He had lost his property, his four precious daughters were buried there beneath the cold dark waves of the Atlantic Ocean, and his wife was prostrate with grief on the other side of the world. While on way to England to meet his wife and when the ship passed over the area where his four girls had died, Mr. Spafford wrote the words to a song that has comforted thousands since that time" The song is entitled, "It is well with my soul."

Mr. Spafford knew that he would see his girls again someday in heaven. He knew that God was there in the midst of the storm.

What about you this morning? Are you going through a storm or trial? God may calm it and not even allow you to go through it. Maybe He will allow you to go through it to strengthen you and help you to mature and become like gold, or maybe He wants you to just let go and let Him work in your heart to bring you closer to Him. Whatever the reason, you come in a moment and pray to God for guidance and wisdom.

Maybe you’re here today and you’ve never trusted Christ as your personal Savior, then you need to come today and take care of that. You come as we sing.