Job 38:1,8-11, 2 Corinthians 5:14-17, Mark 4:35-41.
There are two most powerful forces in the world. These Two Most Powerful Forces in the World play a vital role in every aspect of our lives.
During a crisis, these two forces play a powerful role that can either make or mar us. When we encounter the storm, when we encounter different types of challenges, these two great forces govern us knowingly and unknowingly.
Both forces work in almost every aspect of our lives both spiritual and temporal. In the scriptures, one is encouraged while one is discouraged. These two great forces played a powerful role in today’s readings.
During storms, in the midst of problems, we also encounter these forces. Anyone we accept can either make or mar us. One is negative, while one is positive.
In today’s reading, the apostles allowed the negative force to overcome them, and they were plunged into more problems, wailing, worrying, complaining and shouting and yet nothing happened.
Jesus takes up the positive force, without wailing, worrying, nor complaining, but commanding, assuring and calming the storm and there was a victory.
A Storm is a disturbance of the atmosphere that is marked by wind and usually accompanied by rain, snow, hail, sleet, thunder and lightning.
Sometimes the storm is accompanied by a heavy fall of rain, snow, or hail. Therefore storms are weather conditions that disturb the atmosphere. Many storms come with lightning and thunder.
In essence, the storm can be those catastrophic conditions that disturb our peaceful states in life. They can be seen as those critical conditions of life. They can come in the form of sickness, loss of job opportunities, problems, challenges and difficulties.
In today’s gospel, Jesus and His disciples were moving on a boat. It happened that there was a storm that even the waves were breaking into the boat so that it was almost swamped. But Jesus was in the stern, with His head on the cushion, and deeply asleep.
While this was going on, They woke Him and said to him, ‘Master, do you not care? We are perishing. Jesus woke up and rebuked the wind.
In the midst of the storm today, these two great powerful forces played a great role. The apostles chose the negative while Jesus chose the positive and warned them against choosing the negative.
The Two Most Powerful Forces in the World.
Like the apostles encounter the storm is the way we also encounter storms daily. In the midst of these storms, we choose to exhibit two important attitudes which can either make us or break us. Each one that we choose has a powerful influence and implication in our lives.
Faith and fear are the two of the great forces that play a very powerful role whenever we encounter challenges. When we encounter turbulent situations, it is either we choose to thread in fear or stay in faith.
When you stay in faith when problems come, victory may be sure. If you stay in fear, like the apostles you will always cry and worry. You will complain and shout the name of God though He is near to us.
Fear clogs our reasoning and prevents us from acting in the presence of a storm but faith makes us remain strong knowing truly well that we will one day become victorious.
In the presence of the great Goliath of 1 Samuel 17, the Israelites and their great king Saul were limited and held in a dungeon by fear that they couldn’t defend themselves until little David came to the scene.
The Israelites chose the negative but David chose the positive force; faith that God will deliver Him. These two great forces are powerful in the spiritual and physical. Faith is in the positive while fear is in the negative.
Beloved, when next you face any challenges, when you want to face your future, when you commit to changing your life, choose wisely.
Choose faith and remain in it, no matter what comes against you than choosing fear, knowing full well the outcome.
This is what Jesus is trying to tell the disciples today when He was asking them why they are frightening instead of remaining strong in faith.
Storms are Part of Life.
Many times, people ask me what they can do to avoid troubles in life. One person asks me, “Father, whenever I read your posts, I feel so inspired but I used to ask,” Does it mean you are perfect and free from trouble”.
Though I took my time to respond to Him. The truth is that No one is immune from the troubles of life, and no one is perfect. But despite these, God can always bless you with wisdom to engage the challenges of life or lead you to challenge them to victory as they come.
In the gospel of today, Jesus left the crowd to cross to the other side. Jesus knows that with the crowd, He will not have a single rest, so He decided to cross to the other side. But yet, while entering the boat, they even faced more trouble than the one they wanted to evade.
Therefore, we cannot run away from trouble. Just as the disciples were in the boat moving to a particular destination and encountered a storm, is the way we must encounter storms in life whenever we are moving in life. You can never run away from it. So be careful not to choose the negative force when we encounter storms in life.
What Happens When we Choose Fear during Storm.
The negative force is the force of fear. Fear is so powerful that it can impede you from making any progress in life.
In Fact, what is keeping many of us today is not that they cannot be able to achieve anything or because things are hard as we say but because they fear what may happen to them if they eventually make a move.
Many of us are filled with the fear of the uncertainties of life, fear of challenging the problem at hand, fear of what people will do or say and fear of what people may think of them if they eventually fail.
The problem with fear is that it always comes first. It takes a very strong heart to subdue its powerful influence because once you give it a little space, it will subdue you.
Immediately the apostles encountered the storm, they allowed this negative powerful force to cage them to the extent that they forget that Jesus is more powerful than the storm.
These are what the apostles did when they encountered the storm and of course what will happen to us if we are subdued by fear: They are:
1. They shouted and began to wail.
2. They forgot that Jesus was present with them and the storm can not swallow Him.
3. They did not trust their power to control the storm.
4. They began to complain to Jesus and saying “Master, do you not care? We are going down”!
5. They feared the wind more than they trusted God’s presence, otherwise they would not have shouted.
6. They were unable to be calm, rather they plunged into depression, worrying about their fate during a storm.
7. They began to shout the name of Jesus, asking Him if He is keeping quiet and they are perishing like we shout the name of God asking if God is alive and yet allowing us to suffer.
These attitudes and many more exhibited by the apostles are exactly what we do when we allow ourselves to be swallowed by the negative powerful force; the force of fear.
When we encounter the storm and accept to be in fear rather than to be faithful, we shout and wail, cry and have sleepless nights. It will be as if the problem has swallowed us already.
Like the apostles, we forget that Jesus is still with us despite the trouble at hand, and hence we sometimes forget to trust and confess His power to save us from them.
Then we begin to complain, accuse and blame God, Christianity, for our problems. We seem then to fear the wind more than we trust the power of God to save us from the storm etc. This negative force is so powerful that it can plunge us into depression.
Why We Need Faith.
During a storm, God expects us to walk in faith and not in fear. This is why when Jesus calms the storm He blasts them for allowing themselves to be swallowed in fear.
Jesus says “‘Why are you so frightened? How is it that you have no faith? In the sense that what Jesus expects of them at the moment is not to exercise their fear but to show how strong their faith is.
So, in the midst of problems and challenges, we exhibit how strong our faith is and not how strong our fear is. It is in the midst of the problems, tests and trials that we show God how we truly trust Him. So we need faith in the time of storms as a sign of our true fidelity to God.
Faith is a sign that we truly trust in the power of God over every affliction that we face in life. Thirdly we need faith because that is the only powerful force that can lead us to victory.
Fear can never conquer challenges, only faith can. It is faith that will make us command the storm to be calm. It is faith that will help us go through the storm, it is faith that will make us believe that God is still with us even when it looks as if He is silent.
Just like Jesus today was as if He was sleeping. Without faith, we may fear more than the fear itself.
It is faith that led to many scientific discoveries, many great businesses and many innovations. These are done by people who believe in themselves and not by people caged in fear.
It is faith that makes prayer powerful. Faith is like an oil to prayer. it is faith that led to many conquests in the bible.
Faith leads David to face Goliath without fear. It is faith that led the Israelites through the desert believing that one day they will reach the promised land.
Only faith is the key whenever we encounter problems and difficulties. We need faith to walk through the valley of the shadow of darkness and not fear.
Beyond the Storm.
The first reading tells us how God responds from the heart of the tempest. Tempest also means a violent wind.
Therefore from the heart of the deep trouble that Job was undergoing, God reminds him of His power to pent up the sea even when it is tumultuous. Therefore to let us know that despite how mighty the storm could be, He has the omnipotent power to calm the storm.
In the gospel, the storm was so powerful that waves were pushing water into the boat and possibly the boat could be shaking. Imagine the scenario.
The apostles of Jesus may think that the storm may not stop, this is why they were left in wonder when Jesus calmed the storm.
Hence, a storm may be so mighty that we begin to think it is beyond our power to control but that does not mean that the storm is also beyond the power of God.
Therefore, beyond the storm is a power that is Almighty and omnipotent and only those who can walk through the storm in faith can be assured and believe that He can put things under His control.
1. Do you know that sometimes our problem is not that we do not believe in God or that God does not work but our problem is that we are caged in fear to move higher? Many people are okay with the level they are.
Do you know that sometimes it is not that we do not have the power to fight and conquer our challenges but that we fear that the challenges at hand are more difficult than we can handle?
The truth is that if we do not come out and challenge them, we may not know the type of strength and power God has blessed us with.
What fear does to us is to make us faithless and complain. it makes us lose concentration. Fear puts us into depression.
Sometimes we tend to forget the continued abiding presence of God. It is good to live in faith and not in fear.
2. There must be times in life when God seems to be silent. In today’s gospel, Jesus was sleeping when the storm rages. This is a way to teach us that there may be times we think that God is asleep when we are suffering.
During these moments we sometimes lose faith in God and lose trust that He is still controlling the situation. But that does not mean that He is truly asleep.
During the time of the storm today, Jesus was there but very calm. This tells us that during the time of our challenges, God is still there. Whether they called Jesus or not, the storm is not going to swallow them.
Despite this, the apostles teach us through this experience to always call on God and bring Him into our situation.
So, the time of challenges, and that time when God seems to be silent is supposed to be the time to pray and work harder. It is not a time to fall into depression and lose faith.
3. Jesus was in the boat and yet the storm came. Jesus was with the apostles but yet they encountered the storm.
Therefore, this points to the fact, that despite how holy, close to God or prayerful we are, is not an immunity to difficulties and challenges.
If you like, you can fast twenty times a day, if you like, you can pray from morning until night, or go to mass every day, etc, you must always encounter different types of challenges and problems.
If you like also, do not do these, you must encounter challenges in life. Life cannot stay without its daily troubles.
4. Just as the apostles had a stormy encounter, we also have our daily troubles in life. This trouble can come in your marriages, businesses and promotions. There are many people whose problems seem like it is not ending and not going to end.
Some people have already lost hope in life. During the storm, we are either subdued by the power of fear or the power of faith.
But through today’s encounter, Jesus teaches that despite how mighty the storm could be, it can never subdue the power of God.
Only the voice of Jesus is enough to calm the storm. When He speaks into our lives, great things must surely happen. In the storm, always allow Him to speak to you.
Spend some quiet moments with Him and read His word too. You will feel lighter after every encounter with Him. Let us always trust the power of God more than we trust the power of the storm.
5. What else did we observe today? Did we observe that the storm came for a moment and after some moments it stopped? Every condition in life has its duration.Your own condition is not everlasting. Therefore, quit tagging everlasting to it.
Just as they came in a moment, they will also go in a moment. Thereby instead of allowing ourselves to be subdued by the power of fear, put on the shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one (Ephesians 6:16).
May God give us the grace to stay in faith when a problem comes. May He also inspire us through every challenge in life. Amen.
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