Thankfully, the Bible has a lot to say to us about how to get through difficult times! Even though none of us has ever experienced a “storm” quite like the one currently rocking our world, God sure wasn’t taken by surprise, and His Word has all we need to help us navigate through it!
In the Book of Acts, chapter 27, we read about the Apostle Paul’s voyage to Rome. While at sea, suddenly a dangerous tempest arose that beat on the ship for fourteen days. They had to lighten the vessel, throwing overboard everything “non essential.” Not only were they “cooped up” on the ship unable to land anywhere, they didn’t even see the sun, the moon or the stars for many days. Verse 20 says all hope of being rescued was lost. But there was an unseen shipmate with Paul – an angel of God that told him not to be afraid. Paul was able to encourage everyone else on the ship to take heart and be of good cheer, declaring, “I believe God! It will be just as it was told me”(verse 25).
Some of the 276 people aboard were considering “jumping ship,” but Paul warned them to “stay with the ship.” It is not wise to make hasty decisions in fear or leave your spiritual company during a storm. God gave Paul “direction for protection” for everyone on the ship, and when they did what he said, they all made it safely to shore. Paul wasn’t the captain of the ship; in fact, he was a prisoner on the ship for preaching the Gospel. But he was God’s servant and chosen leader, and God used him to lead them safely through the storm.
As Christians, we are never alone! God says in Hebrews 13:5-6, “I will never leave you, nor forsake you, so we may boldly say: ‘The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?’” Interestingly, the next verse says, “Remember your leaders who first taught you the word of God. Think of all the good that has come from their lives, and trust the Lord as they do”(verse 7 NLT). It is important to be led by the Holy Spirit, and like those on the ship with Paul, we also need to “stay with the ship” and listen to those over us in the Lord during times of crisis. In Hebrews 6:12 we are admonished to follow those “who through faith and patience inherit the promises.”
Our spiritual father, Kenneth E. Hagin, whom we affectionately called “Dad Hagin,” used to say, “The storms of life come to all of us.” Another favorite saying of his was, “In every situation ask yourself, What does the Word say?” By “storms of life” of course he meant tests and trials. What does the Word say for us to do during a trial? James 1:2 says, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials.” In the context, James was writing to Jewish believers who had been “scattered abroad” throughout the known world because of persecution (verse 1); no doubt they were facing uncertainty and feeling isolated. We may not always feel joyful, but by faith we can rejoice and count it all joy. Before Jesus left the earth He said, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) Jesus said to cheer up even when experiencing trouble, knowing He has already overcome. Remember: “the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
We read about another “great storm” arising suddenly on the Sea of Galilee in chapter four of Mark’s Gospel. The disciples in the boat were fearful, while Jesus was sleeping in the stern. Jesus had already said, “Let us go over to the other side” (verse 35). The disciples woke him up saying, “Master, don’t you care that we’re perishing?” Jesus arose and rebuked the wind and spoke to the sea, “Peace be still!” and there was a great calm (verse 39). Just as quickly as the storm began, it stopped. Jesus asked them, “Why are you so fearful? Why is it that you have no faith?”(verse 40) Jesus expects us to trust Him! There is nothing to fear when He is in the boat with us.
Faith in God’s Word will get you through any storm. Just like a Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) that is built tuff for all weather and all terrain, faith is made to get us through any kind of storm. Jesus made it through a 40 day test, being tempted by the devil. With each temptation, He said, “It is written…” The Word of God was written so that it could be spoken. 2 Corinthians 4:13 says, “And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed and therefore I spoke,” we also believe and therefore speak.” Maintain a spirit of faith! Keep saying what God’s Word says and count it all joy. We are going “to the other side,” just like He said!
Pastor David Shearin