Matthew and Mark in the New Testament tell the story of a great storm. The Bible says that crowds surrounded Jesus. In the midst of this crowd, Jesus gives the command that He and His disciples are to cross to the other side of the sea. Right after Jesus speaks, He has a short conversation with a scribe and a disciple who came to him. After some words to both of them, Jesus then gets into the boat and His disciples follow Him. It is important to note that it was Jesus who gave the command to cross over to the other side of the sea (Matthew 8:18-19). After their departure on the sea, the Bible goes on to say that “after they had set out to the other side of the sea a great storm arose and Jesus was asleep.”
Has God ever spoken to you, you begin to do as He has spoken, and immediately you encounter a storm? If this has happened to you and you have questioned why or were afraid you didn’t hear God correctly, you are in good company. The disciples were afraid in the midst of the storm even though it was Jesus who has given them the command to cross over. These were avid fishermen who had made their living on the water. They understood how to navigate storms.
This storm, however, was different. It was such as great storm they were afraid. Often times, even if it is for a brief moment, we underestimate the power of God when we encounter great storms. We make the storm about us, in reality, it is about what God has said.
Here are 3 things I learned or observed about the word of the Lord from Matthew Chapter 8:
1/ The word of the Lord demands a response.
When Jesus gave the command to cross over to the other side of the sea, the disciples followed willingly. They chose to follow Jesus. Following Jesus has to be a result of a heart decision. Jesus wants followers who act of faith and allow faith to be demonstrated through obedience to His direction, leading, and guiding. Even when a storm appears, stay true to what God has spoken. If you are in the midst of the storm due to what God has spoken, allow Him to calm the storm.
2/ The word of the Lord encounters reluctance.
Jesus gave the command to cross over, and immediately has a conversation with a scribe and one of the disciples that had been following the crowd. Based on the conversation the disciple wanted to follow Jesus, but wanted to do something first. He was reluctant to just follow and obey. Hesitation and reluctance can cause us to miss something amazing and spectacular. Two things we learn from this encounter with the scribe and the disciple is that following Christ required immediacy and will cost something.
3/ The word of the Lord encounters resistance.
Jesus commanded to cross over to the other side of the sea. He got into the boat and His disciples followed. The Bible says that “suddenly a furious storm came on the lake…” Matthew 8:24. It is important to note that resistance almost immediately came upon the word of the Lord. A storm arose to stop what Jesus had commanded to happen. When God speaks to you and tells you to do something, you too will encounter resistance. The resistance is there to hinder your faith. The storm will challenge the word of the Lord in your heart and want to create doubt. Did God really say that? Where is God in the midst of the storm? When this happens, remember, He is in the boat and storm with you!
A storm comes to challenge your faith and stop you from going where God wants you to go. Your faith will increase or decrease with a storm. Allow it to increase! Respond to the Lord, act without reluctance, and stay strong during the resistance and rely on God and His word to get you through the storm.