“Joy Is Tried By Storm”

 

June 24, 2018 / Text: Mark 4:35-41 Theme: Joy is tried by storm

Introduction

One of the fun things my wife and I like to do when we attend the Northwest Washington Fair in Lynden is to visit the horse barns and look at those huge draft horses, the Belgians, Clydesdales, Shires, and Percheron, some 6-7 feet tall and 2500+ plus lbs.   I have great respect and a healthy fear for these huge horses, in no small part due to a childhood friend’s dad being kicked in the head no less by a working horse he owned and had surprised from the rear.

  1. Don’t you care if we drown?
  2. Fear is something we all identify with, whether its source is outside of us or dwells deep within, or a combination of the two. It can be a burden that asks for help in carrying its weight.
  3. That has to be how the disciples of Jesus felt when they were out on the Sea of Galilee as spoken about in our gospel lesson. Jesus had put in a long day speaking to the crowds gathered on the hillside and shores of the lake. Together with the disciples, most of whom were seasoned sailors, they set a course that would take them to the other side, at most a few land miles distant.  Jesus let the sailing to his friends and he settles down for a nap in the back of the boat.
  4. It wasn’t long but a furious storm hit the lake and even the seasoned fishermen knew they were in trouble.  Fear engulfed them as the wind and waves pounded the boat.  The situation became doubly troubling and irksome by the fact, while they were bailing water from the boat, Jesus kept on sleeping.  Exchanging fearful glances at each other and looking to the back of the boat at Jesus, they said, “This isn’t right.  How can he be sleeping when we are about to capsize and lose our lives.”  With fear and frustration they awakened Jesus with a tug on his shirt and the words, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”
  5. Don’t you care?
  6. We often join these disciples in this fear, for we recognize the signs of a threatening storm of unresolved guilt, or a bad report from our annual checkup, turmoil in relationships, and other personal and private problems.
  7. The fiercer the storm, the harder it becomes to keep our public face from disclosing what’s going on inside us. At times, our fear may be such that we feel like we are being sucked under the raging waters. So, where is he in the midst of all this?  Is he only a fair weather Lord?

 

  1. Don’t you have faith yet?
  2. God is in control
  3. Many years back I traveled as a PR man along with our Concordia Ann Arbor choir as it toured through Florida. On one relaxed day, the host pastor from Ft. Lauderdale asked the choir director and myself if we wanted to go fishing in the ocean.  I assumed the boat would be a 25+ foot power boat with fishing lines at the rear.  In fact it was a 15 foot aluminum boat with a small motor that he called his fishing “Dingy”.  Off we went, feigning confidence as we headed out onto the ocean.  It wasn’t long before the ocean waves began to intensify, and I’m sure I was pale with fear.  Before I had opportunity to make my anxiety obvious, the host pastor said something like, “Hmmm, perhaps a little too choppy today.  I think we should turn back.”  I didn’t object.  Yes, you may be able to say, “O you of little faith.”  And I’m also sure Satan was scoffing in the background.
  4. Hey, I got this!
  5. These fears do spawn questions and cries to God, “Don’t you know the anguish I’m in?” When those occasions arise, and they do for all of us, we need to know who he is.  Creator (see Job reading), Redeemer, Sanctifier.  You belong to him.  He has redeemed you, not with gold or silver, but with his holy precious blood, his innocent suffering and death.
  6. Sure there will be doubts. Welcome to humanity.  Yet Jesus doesn’t walk along side of us like a swim coach shouting down to you, “You need to try harder.  You can this.  Suck it up!”  God doesn’t want you to simply weather the storms of life by yourself.  He puts his life in you, he puts you inside of him, and there you are safe.  It’s not to say there will not be storms in your life, that you will not grieve and cry, but you will never have to go it alone.  Jesus says to you, “Hey, I’ve got this”.  See poem “Footprints in the Sand”.
  7. All your sins have been forgiven. You know, if one sin remained unpaid for on the cross (my sin or yours), Jesus could not have risen.  But he is risen, all sin if forgiven and death is conquered.

Conclusion 

Pastor tells the story of one of his unique members who was near death. Everyone called him Earl the Pearl.  He had been and still was a strong tenor in the church choir, and he decided that he would like to sing at his own funeral.  He told his pastor what Christian hymns he would record and desired to be part of the funeral service.  The day of the funeral came, and Earl the Pearl sang his favorite resurrection hymns.   Everyone who knew Earl were amid tears, smiling and happy at this “craziest funeral” the church had ever experienced.  After the funeral, the family gathered in the Fellowship hall and spoke of the joy of the resurrection, and sang along to their friend’s recorded songs and music.  The family cried tears of joy as they listened and laughed and danced.  For them joy was tried by storm.

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