“Faith in the Midst of Calamities”
Then Jesus got into the boat and his disciples followed him. 24 Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. 25 The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” 26 He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. 27 The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!” (Matthew 8:23-27)
About mid-morning last Friday at my work place, I got a text message from one of our young adult Korean members asking for prayer for Japanese people who at the time just experienced a very strong earthquake and gigantic tsunami. I immediately went to our break-room to see the TV news. I was struck to see images of horrible devastation in Japan caused by an 8.9 magnitude earthquake that triggered a 23-foot (7 meter) tsunami that washed away cars and tore away buildings along the coast near the epicenter.
In the evening, while on my way to our church, images of tsunami and earthquake images remain flashing back and forth at the back of my mind; even until now. I had a silent prayer in my heart asking God as to how we as followers of Jesus Christ should respond to such a horrible catastrophe to his creatures that he really loves and cares for. Somehow I got a conviction to change the message I was preparing from a title “God is a Missionary God” into “Faith in the Midst of Calamities.”
In just less than 2 years, we had seen all over the News unspeakable calamities came upon Filipinos in Manila, Philippines where Great Flood covered many cities in Manila; afterwards, shocking news of earthquake in Haiti took place. Recently natural calamity also struck Australia, New Zealand and now 2 days ago Japan also been struck. Even though Japan is very wealthy nation and has a super advance technology, this country still reveals its vulnerability when the fury of mother nature strikes. I’m thinking right now which place could be the next target hit by mother nature?
This very recent one strike of natural calamity in Japan made me realized that everything we gain from this world is nothing without gaining the understanding and faith in God who is Lord of the universe and supreme over all his creation – the mother nature.
Today, we need to answer 2 questions: how are we going to respond when calamity strikes? How prepared are we?
a. Natural Calamity.
b. Man-made/self-caused calamity.
c. Divine judgment calamity.
Calamity is like a thief in the night.
God is always aware and in control of our calamity even before it strikes. Though sometimes He seems to be unconcerned, unaware and sleeping.
How the disciples responded to calamity?
– It was a “furious” storm; not a small storm. The verse shows that his disciples (followers of Jesus) were all scared to death as they experienced “furious” storm – natural calamity.
The disciples were not prepared even though Jesus is with them and had given them what they need – faith.
The disciples responded in doubt and afraid.
Jesus was very unhappy to his disciples spiritual attitude when calamity strikes.
Jesus’ examples in the midst of calamity.
Jesus’ response and attitude toward calamity is he is always confidently assured, calm and trusting spirit in His father’s love.
Calamity cannot shake Jesus. He could sleep in the midst of it. Even at the time of his death he never been afraid.
Faith is a gift of God and works well in times of calamity.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God… (Eph 2:8-9)
The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” (Lk 17:5)
Our part is to surrender our life and our will to God. And God will put seed of faith in our heart to grow.
Spiritual calamities that destroy people are everywhere (e.g. desperation, hopelessness, depression, broken relationships).
Jesus is Lord of lords and King of kings over spiritual and natural calamities in human life.
a. Jesus displayed His power over the furious wind/storm. They obeyed His words. (read vs 26-27).
How are we to respond to calamities? We need to understand:
Calamity is not always the end of the world. This possibly could be the start of life.
Through spoken word God created the whole universe and is the Lord of it.
God expects us to be in faith and confident in Him at all times especially during tough times and calamities of life.
CLOSING WORDS and INVITATION
God expects us to be always confident, calm, trusting in His great love and power in times of calamity for He is with us.
How do you usually respond when a calamity strike out in your life – in your job, family, relationship?