““Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain came down and the rivers came and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it did not collapse, because its foundation was laid on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain came down and the rivers came and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it collapsed, and its fall was great.””
Whether we are wise or foolish, and whether we like it or not storms are coming. Much like the parable of the 10 virgins (Matt 25), where we see 5 that were prepared with oil for theirs lamps, and 5 that were unprepared and missed out on the entering in, our fate in storms are also determined by our preparation, and proper laying of a foundation of faith upon the rock, the corner stone, Jesus.
“I [wisdom] will also laugh at your calamity; I will mock when panic comes upon you. When your panic comes like a storm, and your calamity arrives like a whirlwind, when distress and anguish come upon you,”
We can have areas of our lives that are warm cozy, beautiful and serene as a tropical getaway, while other areas of our lives can be full of storms, cold wet, with wind and waves. These storms can build up in energy if not properly approached and can eclipse the warm and cozy areas of our lives. At that point we've got a full blown life crisis hurricane. Wind and waves blowing in our face howling in our ears, mist and spray getting in our eyes obscuring our vision. Boats rocking back and forth attempting to toss us around. The storms of life can be very forceful and almost so powerful seeming that they try and demand our attention. They are that aggressively in our face screaming and spitting at us. If we aren't careful the storm can overtake us and we can lose sight of our vision, and lose course of our destination. Our character is determined by how we respond when the storms hit.
“But the boat was already many stadia distant from the land, being beaten by the waves, because the wind was against it. And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. But the disciples, when they saw him walking on the sea, were terrified, saying, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Have courage, I am he! Do not be afraid!” And Peter answered him and said, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water!” So he said, “Come!” And getting out of the boat, Peter walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the strong wind, he was afraid. And beginning to sink, he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” And immediately Jesus extended his hand and caught him and said to him, “You of little faith! Why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind abated.”
We are called to focus our vision through the storm, not at or on the storm. Through it, beyond it, past it, that's where we can spot Jesus in the distance. When our focus becomes Jesus, we can speak with him, and inquire of him direction. We can hear him speak to us his direction and bid us to come follow it. We can step out of the boat, the known comfort and security of man's knowledge, ability, and vehicle of our lives, and take a step of faith towards Jesus. We can walk on top of the water through the storm towards Him. If we look to the wind and the waves and lose focus of Jesus, the storm can intimidate us, rob our faith, and we can begin to be overtaken by it and sink. Even despite our fear Jesus in his mercy and lovingkindness can, if we cry out to Him, reach out his hand and rescue us from sinking, and still the storm.
Before the storm even hits, we must have our foundation set on Jesus. Then when a storm hits we need to:
1.) Find Jesus in the midst of it and focus on Him, the word of God. We need to know and prophesy what is through, past, and beyond the storm. What can we see according to God's word, not according to the current seeing of the eye and hearing of the ear? What is out ahead? Know where we are headed and know what we should be focused on.
2.) We need to communicate with Jesus, and ask Him for his direction. Seek an answer from Him. What does God's word say? What instructions would He give us to do? What wisdom and principals should be applied to walk through this? What attitudes should be adopted?
3.) We need to receive his communication, and listen to His direction. What did God reveal to us through the instruction of His word? What did God show us while in prayer? What actions do we need to take?
4.) We need to and begin doing his direction, and take an action step of faith out of our comfort zone and head towards Jesus. Where ever Jesus was revealed during the storm, we need to continue to focus on Him and now walk towards Him.
5.). Should we lose sight of Jesus and get caught off guard by the storm and begin to sink, we should ask Jesus to help us. How do we recognize if we have lost focus of Jesus? Are the wind and waves affecting our emotions? Are we fearful? Are we worried? Are we unsure? Has our faith wavered? Jesus will save us if we call upon his name. Jesus must then be brought back into focus if he is going to still the storm.
As we stand on the rock Jesus, we can keep our head up and eyes, our vision, looking out towards the horizon, prophesy what is ahead, and speak the word of God over what is coming. Foresight is ahead of us. We can also cast our vision down at what's in front of us and where we need to be taking our next steps toward our destination, asking God for wisdom on where to step, where to leap. Insight is for the present. Our vision can also be cast behind us, above us, or over our shoulder, and in many cases difficult for us to focus on our own. This is where we are called to have each other's backs. To look out for one another in love. Oversight is for ensuring we have the right perspective in view. This accountability, support, and community builds each other up in faith. In all three of these vantage points, all call us to focus on Jesus, and none allows for distractions by the wind and the waves in our peripheral vision.
We pray that if we don't have a foundation laid upon Jesus that we would make the decision to begin establishing that foundation and accept Him. We pray when we are in the midst of a storm in life that we be able to fix our focus upon Jesus. We pray that we will be able to see him and ask of him and listen, receive, and understand his direction. We pray that we have the boldness to take an action step of faith and begin to walk toward Jesus. We pray that we never lose sight of Jesus as we walk towards him upon the water through the storm. We pray that we have faith to stand and not see the wind and the waves and not sink into the water, but rather steadfastly have singular vision upon Jesus. And we pray should we waver in anyway that we be willing to call upon the name of Jesus to be saved, and restore our sight upon him.
Learn where we are headed. Learn how we are going to get there. Learn when we've steered off course and how to get back on course, and we will get through the storms of life.
Jesus is where we are headed. His word is how we are going to get there. Surrounding ourselves with those who can help us navigate and keep us on course will get us through the storms of life.
Ultimately long term a greater depth in understanding Love is where we are headed. Learning of God's divine agape love is how we're going to get there. Love of Jesus, love found in relationships and support within community helps us stay on course through the storms of life.