The Perfect Storm
Have you ever felt like everything that could go wrong in your life was going wrong? You feel like things are working against you and it's as if a dark cloud is following you around. The expression we have for this is "the perfect storm." The perfect storm is defined as "an especially bad situation caused by a combination of unfavourable circumstances." The saying almost carries a hint of irony. The idea of perfection being applied to trouble is an oxymoron. But what if there was an element of perfection that goes beyond what we can understand?
That Wasn't In the Forecast
The Bible records a moment when Jesus and his disciples set sail. While they were on the ship, a storm came:
Mark 4:37-38 And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat
into the ship, so that it was now full. And he was in the hinder part of the
ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master,
carest thou not that we perish?
The disciples are literally in a life or death situation and on the verge of sinking. Meanwhile, Jesus, who is God in the flesh, is literally knocked out sleep. Everything about this situation seems unfavorable. Surely, this took them by surprise. Some of the disciples were fishermen and they would not have went to sea if they expected a storm. However, this perfect storm appeared when they least expected it.
Oftentimes, that's how it is in our lives. We are simply trying to navigate life and make progress. Suddenly, things that are beyond our control begin to brew. It could be a death in the family, unexpected bills, being laid off from the job, a painful breakup, or any number of things. It throws off our plans, our mood, and rattles us to the core. They happen back-to-back and you ask yourself, "What are the odds?...What are the odds of all of these factors happening at once?" It brings us to despair. But is despair really a bad place to be?
What this text shows us is just how hopeless we are without Christ. The disciples had a brief stint where they were able to navigate on their own, but eventually, a circumstance came that they couldn't handle on their own. When the storm arose, they had to call on the Lord. Once they woke Jesus up, he responded and they got a greater revelation of Him:
Mark 4:39-41 And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea,
Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And he
said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith? And
they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is
this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?
When they called on Jesus, He answered. He rebuked the storm, and the disciples learned that even the wind and the sea have to obey him. This gave them a revelation of who Jesus is. Without the storm coming, they would have never been able to realize that He was almighty. Without the storm, they would not have been able to take their faith to the next level. Without the storm, they wouldn't have a testimony to tell others what they had been through. So it could be that the storms we sarcastically refer to as perfect storms, are in fact perfect storms that work for our good.
Most of us are like the disciples at sea. God is right there with us, but it takes trouble and despair for us to call on Him. Was Jesus really that knocked out that He slept through all of the chaos and commotion? I know that storms can be relaxing to sleep too, but come on! Jesus was sleep because He wanted them to open up their mouths and call on him. When we are desperate, God wants us to open up our mouths and call out to Him.
Despair is painful to watch and even more painful to experience. We refer to it as rock bottom. As painful of a place as rock bottom is, it's a beautiful place to be. Rock bottom is the place of brokenness, weakness, and despair. To most people, nothing about that seems appealing. Why would anyone want to be there? And, is there any benefit that can come from rock bottom?
The silver lining is that this is where God does His best work. Here's a newsflash for you: Only broken people get healed. Only weak people are made strong. And only desperate people are saved. God tells us this clearly in his word:
Psalm 51:17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a
contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.
2 Corinthians 12:9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee:
for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will
I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
Mark 2:17 When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole
have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call
the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
The blessing of circumstances is that they bring us low, which produces humility. God can work with a humble heart. This means that it's very important that we don't let pride get in the way. Imagine if those disciples were prideful and decided that they could take on the storm themselves. It would have been a different outcome. God is clear that He resists the prideful and gives grace to the humble.
Be encouraged that many of the storms you are face in life are designed to bring your closer to God. Salvation is about being reconciled to God and moving from a state of independence (pride) to a state of dependence on God (humility). Oftentimes, it takes the circumstances of a perfect storm for us to gain this revelation. If God really wants you, He will get your attention and the sooner you call on His name, the sooner He will tell the storm "Peace, be still."