The Storms of Life

Bible Book: Mark  4 : 35-41
Subject: Problems; Troubles; Storms of Life; Power of Jesus; Hope; Peace

The Storms of Life

Dr. J. Mike Minnix, Editor,

Mark 4:35-41 ...

On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side.” Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!”

When we review the life and ministry of Jesus, we see Him with authority and power over the realm of nature. The miracle we are going to consider today is one of the greatest miracles our Lord performed during His earthly ministry. When Jesus calmed the storm on the sea, He no doubt was teaching some very important lessons to us regarding life itself. Perhaps you are in a storm today and you feel that the storm you are facing is too immense and intense for you to cope with. Just as Jesus handled the miracle on the sea, He has the power to calm your storm today as well. And believe me, as Chritians we all are forced to deal with storms (problems, hardships, trials and burdens) in life.

Some of us must feel at times like the parakeet I read about a few years ago. Gary Carr tells the funny story of Chippie the parakeet.

"Chippie never saw it coming. One second he was peacefully perched in his cage, sending a song into the air; the next second he was sucked in, washed up, and blown over. His problem began when his owner decided to clean his cage with a vacuum. She had stuck the nozzle in to suck up the seeds and feathers at the bottom of the cage when the nearby telephone rang. Instinctively she turned to pick it up. She had barely said hello when--ssswwwwwpppppp! Chippie got sucked in. She gasped, let the phone drop, and switched off the vacuum. With her heart in her mouth, she unzipped the bag. There was Chippie - alive but stunned - covered with heavy gray dust. She grabbed him and rushed to the bathtub, turned on the faucet full blast, and held Chippie under a torrent of ice-cold water, power washing him clean. Then it dawned on her that Chippie was soaking wet and shivering. So she did what any compassionate pet owner would do: she snatched up the hair dryer and blasted him with hot air. Did Chippie survive? Yes, but he doesn't sing much anymore. He just sits and stares a lot. It's not hard to see why. Sucked in, washed up, and blown over! It's enough to steal the song from any stout heart."

Sometimes we feel like Chippie - we don't kmow if we are coming or going. It seems that life's storms beat us up and steal our song. But the Christian needs to understand that the way we face the storms of life serves as a testimony of God’s greatness and our own level of faith. Whatever storm we are facing, we are to remember God’s Word and act upon the promises the Lord has given us. For example, the Lord said that we should rejoice when people say all manner of evil against us for His name’s sake. Why should we do that? Because it shows our trust in Christ, and because it is one of the proofs that we belong to Him. We are told in God’s Word that we are not to think it strange when trials come upon us. In other words, we are to understand that God has not deserted us just because we are going through difficulties of various kinds. God promised us that He would give us peace beyond understanding. Jesus told His disciples not to let the world get them down because He had overcome the world and was leaving them His peace. All these teachings and many others serve to reveal that Christians should face the storms of life with an attitude of faith and trust in God. We see this dramatically presented in our text today.

I want you to look at three transparent points disclosed in our text for today. Each point applies to each of us.

I. The Trip on the Ship

In our text we note that Jesus told the disciples to board a ship and travel to the other side of the sea. This is very interesting. In the Bible and other literature life is compared to a voyage across a body of water - sometimes referred to as “life’s sea.” We sing, for example, “Jesus, Savior, pilot me, over life’s tempestuous sea.” Paul once wrote saying that we should not make shipwreck of our faith. Even a modern song by a popular country singer stated, “I will sail my boat till the waters all run dry.” The illustration of life as passing over a body of water is a frequent one in literature and song.

Our text tells us that when the disciples were sent out upon the waters in a boat, other little ships were also upon the water. We all live on this sea of life together. Big ships and little ships sail life’s sea, for life is a shared human experience. We are all engaged in the journey of life.

One thing stands out in out study regarding the little ships and the ship the disciples were in on the occasion before us. Jesus was not on the other ships, but He was onboard the ship in question. If Jesus is in your life, this makes all the difference as you sail the troubled seas of life. We can say that Jesus comes onboard when a person accepts Him as Lord and Savior. At that point, we are traversing this life with our heavenly Companion - Jesus - in the boat with us.

Note three things about having Jesus with you as you sail life's seas..

A. Your Life has a Captain when Jesus is Present

A captain is the one in charge on any ship, and he gives direction and instruction to all aboad. Jesus is the Captain of our salvation, and He knows the dangers of the waters we are sailing and can steer us around them, through them, even over them. Remember when he walked on the water in the midst of the storm? With Jesus in the ship of your life, you have a mighty Captain at the wheel.

Once many years ago a ship was tossed in a storm. A man was frightened but he saw a young boy who looked so calm that he was prompted to ask the child, “Son, how can you be so calm in this awful storm?” The little lad replied, “My dad is the captain, and he has never lost a ship at sea.” O friend, Jesus is our Captain, and He has never lost a ship that was under His charge - you can trust Him.

In Acts 2:10 Jesus is called the Captain of Salvation. Indeed, what a mighty Captain He is.

B. Your life has a Course when Jesus is Present

Without Jesus, your life is life is like a ship on the sea tossed about without compass or chart. You drift aimlessly without purpose or direction. In our text today, He told His disciples to go over to the other side. He knew the storm into which they were headed, and He also knew that following His directions would not lead to their demise. Following the directions of the Lord does not mean that he course you follow will always be easy, but it does mean that it is always best.

C. Your Life has a Completion when Jesus is Present

Jesus will bring you to your ultimate destination. In verse 35 Jesus told His disciples that they were going to the other side. Jesus in your life gives you the assurance of landing safely on the other side. In 2 Timothy 1:12 we read, “I am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day.” We are not kept by our power, we are kept by the power of God, and He promises to use that love and power to direct us to His promised destination.

Look at John 14:1-3 ...

1 “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. 2 In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also." (NKJV)
Jesus does not want our hearts to be troubled in life or death. When we serve Him, the way may be stormy at times, but our Lord desires that we trust His power, His Word, and His heart! He loves you and never intends to trouble your heart. How do we avoid caving in to the troubles we face - "...believer in God, believe also ..." in Jesus.

Look at Noah. He was on the water in the Ark, and surely the Ark was tossed about wildly on the waters. No doubt Noah fell down in the Ark a few times, but he never fell out of it. When we are in Christ, we may fall in Him but never out of or away from Him. What a Savior we have.

Look at Hebrews 6:19a:

"19 This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast ..."

Our anchor, the Lord Jesus, always holds. So, we've seen that life is like a trip on the waters, but we are assured the our Lord never leaves us. Now let's consider ...

II. The Travail In The Gale

In verse 37 of our text today we discover a mighty storm of wind that came upon the sea. This is just like life, isn't it? Suddenly a storm arises in life, seemingly out of nowhere. A Christian often encounters many kinds of storms, and we never like them. We like the south winds of peace and tranquillity, but in every life a little rain must fall, and sometimes a lot of rain will pour down upon us. Look at some facts about the storms the Christian must face  in life.

A. Unexpectedly

The storm the disciples encountered was a sudden storm. Trained sailors would never have gone out sailing, if they had known that a storm was rising in the distance. The Sea of Galilee is located in a low place with mountains all around it. The deep ravines within the valley serve as funnels which bring quick, strong storms out upon the water. The word “storm” in our text speaks of a strong thunder storm with high winds. The winds rose suddenly - unexpectedly.

The passing of one day can change all of life. Proverbs 27:1 states, “Boast not thyself about tomorrow, for you know not what a day may bring forth.” One telephone call can change our sunny skies into a cloudy, dark storm. One visit to the doctor’s office and we can be in the midst of the winds of a major illness. How suddenly the storms of life come as we sail life’s seas. Being a Christian does not make you immune to these storms.

What are some of the causes of the storms we face in life?

1. Disobedience

We cause some of them ourselves, due to our disobedience - consider Jonah - he ran from God and caused his awful storm.

2. Discipline

Some storms come from God in order to discipline us. While Jesus was praying on the mountain a storm arose which was to bring the disciples into a closer relationship with the Savior.

Look at Psalm 83:15

"So pursue them with Your tempest,
And frighten them with Your storm."

Sometimes God is in the storm - using it to drive us to Him for shelter.

A little boy owned a boat and often took it down to the lake to play. One day the water and wind began to take the boat out too far for the little boy to reach it. He panicked and began to cry. A man saw him and said, "Don't worry lad, we can get your boat back to shore." He then began to throw rocks out beyond the boat. The little lad cried all the louder, "You'll sink my boat," he cried. The man continued to throw rocks and soon the waves made by the rocks began to send the boat back to the shore. The little lad dried his eyes and picked up the boat he throught was lost. Sometimes you may feel that God is throwing rocks at your life, when He is actually working in your behalf.

In one survey, nearly nine out of ten respondents reported that they were able to find a more positive meaning in life through a painful experience (divorce, death of a family member, illness, etc.). (from Critique, Issue #8, 1991) For the Christian, this is especially true. We are to trust and wait on God, for He has a plan when your storm arrives.

But, also note that some storms come because of the ....

3. Devil

Some storms come from Satan. We read that Jesus rebuked the storms. The word "rebuked" is the same word used when Jesus rebuked demons. He said, “Peace, be still.” It was like saying, “Hush.” Satan may be blowing a wind against your life, but with Jesus in control you have the One in you that is greater than he that is in the world.

Storms come unexpectedly, but they also come ...

B. Strongly

A blacksmith had trusted Christ as his Savior and was working at his anvil when he was confronted by an unbeliever who asked, "Why is it you have so much trouble? I have watched you since you became a Christian and you have had many problems. I thought when a person gave himself to God his troubles were over." A smile came across the blacksmith's face as he replied, "Do you see this piece of steel? I'm going to use it for the springs of a carriage. But first it needs to be heated. Then I hammer it, bend it, and shape it the way I want it. Sometimes, however, I find that the steel is too brittle to be used, so I have to throw it on the scrap heap. As scrap, the steel is worth just a few pennies, but as a carriage spring, it is very valuable. Ever since I began applying this idea to my life, I have been saying to God, 'Lord, test me in any way You choose, but don't throw me on the scrap heap.'"

God's strong storms are there to develop us into useful servants in His kingdom. Muscles are never developed without work or lifting heavy things. The heavy storm you are in may just be His plan to make you fit for greater service.

In our text we note that the ship the disciples were on appeared to be sinking. These disciples, though well-trained in sailing, were very much afraid. When trained sailors are afraid, you know you have a severe storm. There are storms that can be so strong that even the most able and energetic Christian will wonder if Christ really cares.

Don't panic when trouble comes or you may make decisions - foolish decisions - before the Lord reveals to you what He's up to in your life.

What kind of storms do we as Christians face?

1. Storms of Suffering

2. Storms of Sorrow

3. Storms of Separation

4. Storms of sin

All of them are no match for the love, peace, and power of Jesus. That leads us to this ...

III. The Friend In The Wind

When the storms come up on the sea of life for a Christian, it is time for the One who tames the wind to appear.

Look at Psalm 89:9

"You rule the raging of the sea;
When its waves rise, You still them."

Note Psalm 107:29:

"He calms the storm,
So that its waves are still."

Jesus has control over the storms in our lives, though at first this was not apparent. The disciples looked for Jesus in the ship but He was asleep on a pillow at the back of the boat. In His humanity Jesus was sleeping. Yet, when they woke Him, in His divinity, He stilled the storm!

When the disciples saw Jesus sleeping, they actually rebuked the Lord. “Lord, don’t you care that we are going down in the storm?” Have you ever done that with the Lord? All of us have at one time or another I suppose. We must remember that our Lord has our best interest at heart and He does so at all times. He cares for us. In 1 Peter 5:7 we read, “Casting all your care upon Him for He cares for you.”

Jesus was their Friend in the wind, but at first they did not know it. It is possible to be in a storm so severe that we are not aware of how close Christ really is? We must always keep the faith. Do not let circumstances control your attitude or actions. Trust Jesus in your storm.

When the disciples roused Jesus, He asked them why they had allowed fear to reign rather than depending on faith. Jesus was pointing out that there is no room in your heart for fear and faith at the same time. You must have one or the other filling the space. Whatever the storm, Jesus is bigger and stronger. All we need is faith large enough to replace the fear.

What is faith? Faith is taking God at His word. You will note that Jesus had already told the disciples  that they were going to pass over to the other side. They could not drown after Jesus had given His word to them. But they looked at the winds and waves, and this caused them to forget what Jesus had promised. The danger for the child of God is to allow fear in the midst of a storm to block out our faith in the Savior. He has given His Word to us, a promise that He will never leave us nor forsake us. Take God at His Word!

What Jesus did was sufficient. In verse 37 we read that the storm arose. In verse 39, it says that Jesus arose. Praise God, when the storm arises, Jesus will arise in your life. When you come into the storm, remember as a Christian that Jesus is in the ship of life with you.

It is frightening to be in a deadly storm when you have no Friend in midst of the Wind. Remember this -safety in the storm is not the absence of the storm, but rather safety in the storm is found in the presence of Jesus. Nothing sinks when Jesus is on board.

Not only was Jesus Present in the Storm, He was Powerful over the Storm. If Jesus doesn't deliver you out of the storm, He will deliver you through the storm. If He does not make it calm around you, He will make it calm within you. Whichever He does, He never fails those who have taken Him onboard and fully trust in Him.

The disciples declare, “What manner of man is this, that the winds and waves obey His voice?” Receive Jesus into your life today. Sail the seas of life to the other side, and you will land safely on heaven's shore.


Patrick Kelly was a poet with rare insight that reached far beyond his 15 years. You've probably never heard of him and the poem you are about to hear is probably the only one he ever wrote... but when he wrote this one, he wrote with the soul of a young man who was troubled like so many other teens. He was searching but no one was there to help him with a word of hope.

Here is what wrote ...

"The sky is blue and way too high

I wish I could get beyond the sky

There's things up there better than dope.

Is there some chance, is there some hope?

Stoned crazy, I'm out of my mind

I know there's something I cannot find

A home and love, is that what I've lost?

I've got to get there, whatever the cost

Is there a ticket I need to buy

To get off this earth and into the sky?

I hear there's a god in that ocean of blue

And he's calling and crying for me and you.

Is there a ticket I need to buy

To get off this earth and into the sky?"

Pat Kelly wrote this masterpiece, carefully pinned it to his shirt, walked to a tree 40 feet from his house, and hung himself.

Pat faced a terrible storm of depression, and was searching for meaning, person and a path to victory. Sadly, he saw no answer and took his own life. Dear friend, if you have never trusted in Christ as Lord and Savior, today is the day to open your heart to Him. Turn from you way, you sins, and place your faith in Christ.

And, some who are Christians need to recommit your life to the Lord. Renew your faith in Him, no matter what you are facing. He never fails!