“Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping.”
Matthew 8:24 NIV
Since living in Southern Florida, I have a healthy respect for storms that come on quickly and are ferocious. Every afternoon in the summer, the fluffy white clouds that fill the blue expanse of the sky in the morning turn into dark thunderclouds by the afternoon.
Some afternoon storms are gentle showers and over quickly.
Some of them rip the sky open with the crack of lightning, heart-pounding thunderclaps, and vicious wind.
The verse above describes a storm on the Sea of Galilee that came on so suddenly and was so ferocious that seasoned fishermen feared for their lives.
And what was Jesus doing?
He was sleeping.
The storm did not disturb him.
Jesus knew three things:
That God, His Father determined His time on earth, not a storm- even the most ferocious of ones.
Who and whose He was: the Son of God, on a mission from God, filled with the power of God.
He knew that His mission was not over yet.
The best thing for you to do in a storm is to trust God and rest.
Rest in God’s sovereignty: He knows the moment you will cross into eternity. This storm will not be the end of your story and God does not have half a plan.
Rest in knowing who and whose you are: a cherished child of God, redeemed by the cross of Christ to live life loved and drenched in God’s grace.
Rest in the knowledge that as long as you are here, God’s mission for you is not done yet.
Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”
John 11:43 NIV
Lazarus was dead.
His body wrapped tightly in grave clothes and laid to rest.
The world had already moved on and the story of Lazarus was over.
But his story was not over for God.
Lazarus was dead and Jesus told them to open the tomb anyway.
Lazarus was gone and Jesus called his name anyway.
Then Lazarus walked out alive.
You may think that your story has already been written.
That it is over.
That where you are right now is where you will always be.
That your usefulness, your marriage, your ministry, your job, your purpose, your hopes lay dead and lifeless at your feet.
Jesus defied death.
“Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15: 55 -57 NIV)
If you are breathing, God is not done with you.
You may think your story is over but God doesn’t.
He calls life from death and unbinds the grave clothes that cling.
He calls your name, reminds you who you are and whose you are.
He changes the ending of your story.
He will resurrect relationships, restore callings, redefine life as you know it and move you from darkness into the light.
The story of Lazarus is more than an example of a miracle, it is a proclamation of the power of Jesus to raise the dead things in us and a reminder to us today that all death means nothing in the light of His love.
He defeated death itself and because of Jesus, you have nothing to fear here or when your time on earth is done.
When fear rises up to tell you that your story is over, know that in Christ your story has only just begun.
Just when you think it’s over, it’s absolutely not.
“For He, God, Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. I will not, I will not, I will not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let you down or relax My hold on you! Assuredly not!” HEBREWS 13:5 AMPLIFIED VERSION
God will not leave you without support.
Jesus is bigger than your situation.
He will not leave you helpless.
He will not relax His hold on you.
He will make a way where there seems to be no way.
As you face the challenges before you, know that God is beside you.
“He trains my hands for battle; my arms can bend a bow of bronze. You make your saving help my shield, and your right hand sustains me; your help has made me great.” Psalm 18:34-35 NIV
God will give you what you need right now to fight the battle before you.
You are stronger than you know because your strength comes from Jesus and His right hand sustains you.
Don’t give up, you are sustained and trained through the power of His love.
My prayer for you today is that you would know His love as He pours His strength into you. That you would know His peace as you lean on Him. That you would rest in God’s grace as you walk by His guidance. That you would trust Him with the future and focus simply on the task before you. That you would be released from the restlessness within you as you receive a new determination to go forward in faith.