Trusting God During The Storm
1About that time Herod the king laid violent hands on some who belonged to the church. 2 He killed James the brother of John with the sword, 3 and when he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also. This was during the days of Unleavened Bread. 4 And when he had seized him, he put him in prison, delivering him over to four squads of soldiers to guard him, intending after the Passover to bring him out to the people. 5 So Peter was kept in prison, but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church.6 Now when Herod was about to bring him out, on that very night, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries before the door were guarding the prison. (Acts 12:1-6)
Imagine a storm against you that is completely out of your control, that physical death becomes a stark reality.
In the scriptures above, Peter is experiencing such a storm. A storm that has already resulted in the death of a fellow Christian. Herod the king has gone on the offense against the Body of Christ. Persecution, such as this, has resulted in many martyred Christians since day one of Christianity. Back in the days when the Apostles and disciples were beginning to establish the Church, such persecution was always possible. Such persecution is actually possible today on a daily basis. Look out into the world and you will see that many Christians die each day for being a follower of Jesus Christ.
Let’s take notice of something in the scripture that is important and is the focus for this writing. Let me reemphasize something first. Herod, the king, a man who is in a position to give orders and those orders are followed, has begun to persecute Christians and has even killed a friend of Peter’s. Now Peter has been captured by soldiers under the command of Herod and placed in jail, to await “trial” before the people after the Passover. Compound this with the fact that Herod ensured Peter’s secured imprisonment by assigning four squads of soldiers to guard him. Escape from this situation did not appear possible.
What would be going through your head the night before a “trial,” that most likely would result in your death by sword?
While the scripture does not detail any of Peter’s thoughts, there is a KEY detail that the scriptures do point out. Peter SLEPT! Slept on the eve of the day that he would possibly be put to death! Let’s look at Peter several years prior.
Matthew 8: 23 And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. 24 And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. 25 And they went and woke him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.” 26 And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. 27 And the men marveled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?”
In this scripture we find a situation where the disciples are fearful for their lives. This fear is caused by a “physical” storm that they are all experiencing together. All of those in the boat are fearful. What is Jesus doing as this storm arose? Jesus SLEPT! Remember, most of these disciples are fishermen whose livelihood was to be out on these waters, fishing. Due to this, the severity of the storm is clear, this was a very bad storm. Yet Jesus was sleeping through this storm.
One can say that fear caused the disciples to wake Jesus. Today, this is the same as finding oneself in a situation that is so overwhelming, all one can do is YELL out in prayer, “Jesus WAKE UP, don’t you see what is happening to me, my very life is in jeopardy!” Have you ever felt so fearful, your praying felt like a “wake-up” call to Jesus? Have you ever felt so fearful, you only prayed for yourself, not for others who may be in a life and death situation of their own?
Now imagine, the very first comment Jesus said in response to your prayer was, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Did you notice the question mark…? He was not accusing them of a lack of faith, the question reveals that He is calling out their lack of exercising their faith.
As He will to you, if your only motivation to pray is due to
When you are in the middle of a storm, do not be surprised by Jesus, when you send out a prayer that is effectively a YELL in effort to wake Him up as if He is not aware of your situation. He is fully aware and in love, will also help you despite your lack of exercising the faith you already have.
Once Jesus was awake in the boat and after asking the question that He asked, He turned to the “problem” and rebuked the problem. What happened? The immediate problem went away. The conclusion of His action was, “there was a great calm.”
Have you trusted Jesus in such a way that no matter what the problem is, you can “sleep” through the problem EVEN when it is raging all around you?
Do you see a difference in Peter’s faith and trust in Jesus comparing these two examples of scripture?
Peter was once, one of those in the boat expressing fear and doing a “wake-up” prayer to Jesus. Only to be asked, WHERE IS your faith? Compared to a more mature Peter, where persecution around him has caused the death of a friend and landed Peter in a jail. The very next day he will be put on trial. How do we find Peter dealing with this problem? He slept.
Such “calmness” is experienced by any Christian who FULLY trusts in and is faithful, in Christ Jesus. Trust and faith do not always “exempt” you of the problem. Don’t misconstrue the meaning that I have put forth in this writing. The point is, through Christ you endure the problem (storm) with a calmness that is birthed on trust and by faith, in Christ Jesus.
This leads to another key point in the verses that I am led to illuminate. Prayer! In both the scriptural examples we find prayer. In the example with the disciples out on the water, the prayer was in desperation due to the “fear” they were experiencing. They feared because they knew that the storm was severe enough, they could be killed in any moment. Now let us compare that example to the prayer that was being accomplished by brethren many years later when Peter’s life was also in danger of being cut short.
5 So Peter was kept in prison, but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church.
From this, I have been led to ask this. Right now, are you in the position of crying out to God for help due to the overwhelming problem you find yourself in or are you one in the position of crying out to God FOR any brethren who are in need of God’s help?
I encourage you to lean on Christ in trust and by faith in either of these positions. God will provide a means to endure, give you a security that can only be expressed by a radiant calm that is evident of the peace that only He, can provide. A peace that empowers you to sleep and not stress nor struggle during the onslaught of problems.
Jesus is always with you in the boat and as you mature, you will be able to sleep next to Him in peace even when the problem rages all around you. Or, lead you into prayer for those who are struggling. Faithfully allow the Holy Spirit to guide you, help you, and counsel you. So instead of being asked by Jesus, “where is your faith”, He will find you faithfully trusting in Him.
Even when the problems you face can possibly mean, your death or the death of others.