MATTHEW 8:23-27: “As he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. Suddenly, a violent storm arose on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves — but Jesus kept sleeping. So the disciples came and woke him up, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to die!” He said to them, “Why are you afraid, you of little faith?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the sea obey him!” CSB

OBSERVATION: Who is in control? So much of the struggles we face in life revolve around this simple question. This is the heart of the account of Jesus and His disciples in the boat as they faced a great storm.

There was a marked difference in the way the disciples faced the storm, and in the way Jesus faced it. The disciples were frightened, they felt powerless, and they began to panic. Jesus, on the other hand, was sound asleep in the boat. What was the difference between Jesus’ attitude and his disciples? How could someone sleep in the midst of impending doom?

I have had many a sleepless night as I have tossed and turned worrying about what lies ahead. I was not facing a physical storm. The storm that raged was in my heart and my mind. I have read this story many times. However, when you are in the boat (so to speak), it seems a little unrealistic to say – “Just have faith!” In fact, it can seem downright insensitive and cruel. Yet, this is exactly what Jesus asked His disciples. He said, “Why are you afraid, you of little faith?”

I love what happens next. Jesus did not wait for His disciples to muster up their faith. Jesus answered their cry for mercy. He spoke to the winds and the sea and immediately there was a great calm. Was this just a miracle, or was is something much more? I believe it was a lesson to His disciples about the sovereignty and power of God. Jesus, fully man, and fully God, knew His Father intimately. He knew His Father’s call, and He rested in His Father’s promises.

Jesus knew who was in control.

The reason Jesus slept in the midst of the storm is He knew that nothing could hinder Him from fulfilling His calling from the Father. The Father was in control. Jesus knew that He could fully trust the Father in all situations, even in a raging storm at sea. When Jesus rebuked the winds and waves, it was at the Father’s command. It was a living lesson to His disciples. Jesus, through his example, was saying – “Remember Who is in control!”

Paul echoes this in his epistle to the Romans. Paul says, “If God is for us, who can be against us.” And then, one of the most well known verses from this book states,

  • “We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. For those he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, so that he would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; and those he called, he also justified; and those he justified, he also glorified.” Romans 8:28-30 CSB

Paul was reminding the church in Rome – “Remember Who is in control!” We don’t have to panic at the storms of life. Why? We have a calling, we have a mission, and we have a destiny. There is nothing in life that is outside of the Father’s sovereign control. He will not let our ship sink. We will reach our final destination as we place our faith and trust in Him. God is in control! When I realize this, when I place everything in His care, I am able to walk in victory and peace. This works in the big things of life. It also works in the small things.

God cares about them all!

We just completed a huge moving sale. We had many large items that we needed to sell, and that we did not want to move to our new home in Florida. The first day we had most of the big items left. I have to admit, like the disciples, I cried out to God. It was not a big storm, but I started to panic, much like the disciples. When we started at 8AM, no one showed up. As the morning went on, just a trickle of people. Then, one by one, just the right people arrived and we sold all of the key big items that we did not want to move. And we sold them to families and friends who really needed them. We shared the love of Jesus with many of them, and were blessed in the process.

You would think that after a lifetime of walking with Jesus I would have this down pat. However, too often I find myself in the boat with the other disciples crying, “Lord save us, we are going to die!” I trust the Lord with all my heart, but many times I forget who is in control. I begin to think I am in control. However, He lovingly reminds me that He is the one who holds all the concerns of my life in His hands. If he can help me sell some furniture, isn’t He able to help me with the real storms of life?

Lord, forgive me for the times when I find myself bailing water, when all I need to do is rest in Your promises and presence. Help me to direct my faith toward You. You are in control of my life. You love me and are concerned about every detail. Help me rest in the wonderful assurance of Your sovereignty. Give me Your peace as I place my entire life in Your hands!

In Jesus Name!

About Kirk's Devotional Journal

Kirk L. Zehnder is the Founder of Resurrection Christian Outreach. RCO is a ministry that promotes the growth and vitality of the local church through speaking engagements, seminars, various media tools, and written curriculum and books. This ministry was started over 35 years ago by Kirk as a means to strengthen the church that he was pastoring. It grew as Kirk began to share these tools with other churches. Today many of the materials are being used by local churches both nationally and internationally. Kirk's Devotional Journal is a result of struggling with Bible reading programs that never seemed to work. Kirk feels the Lord helped him discover an easy-to-follow program to Read, Reflect, Pray, and Journal through the Bible in one year. This program is called L.I.F.E. Unlike other programs there are no dates to follow. You can miss a day and still complete your reading. You never feel like the dates and verses you missed are chasing you. You are free to enjoy your daily Biblical journey and listen to the voice of The Lord. For more information on the L.I.F.E. plan, send an email to rcoutreach@aol.com. Kirk is also available for speaking engagements, seminars, and retreats. With over 40 years of professional business and pastoral ministry experience, Kirk brings a unique combination of practical wisdom, humor, and Biblical insight. If you would like Kirk to speak at your church, school, or ministry, please send an email to rcoutreach@aol.com and we will get back to you as soon as possible to discuss your opportunity.
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