Sword of JoshuaSword of JoshuaSword of Joshua


Copyright © Jules Dervaes

March 26, 1983

Into every life rain, a little rain must fall, a little rain… then what (why) are these torrential downpours, these gullywashers, these rain buckets falling on my head? After weathering–continually, it seems–one storm after another, I feel as if I’ve taken on that “old man and the sea” look: brow deeply furrowed, teeth tightly gritted, shoulders hunched and leaning over, steeling myself for the next onslaught of stormy weather. When the gale warnings fly in our live and the storm clouds gather on our spiritual horizons, how do we react? Do we exhibit the proper responses that God would like to see?

I will relate to you one stormy episode in the lives of Christ’s followers and stir you to learn the life-saving lessons of complete trust in God.

Mark 4:35– It’s the familiar “Calming the Storm” story. As I expand on the outline given, see if you can pick out any comparisons between how they reacted and how we might react to a crisis.

The men in the boat were a hardy lot, some of whom were skilled fishermen, wise in the ways of the Sea of Galilee. Their first instinctive response to this threat of danger was to tackle this storm themselves. Relying on their past experiences and skill learned over the years, these men were self-dependent and confident that they would be able to handle this emergency. So they began the fight; it was “them against the storm” and the storm was winning! They held out as long as they could. They fought on and on, until all seemed lost. In fact, in their eyes it was all over. Now, finally, they realized that they had Jesus on board. So preoccupied with the urgent task at hand, so determined to handle it themselves, so afraid to stop what they were doing, they had not even turned to Jesus for help. Yes, they waited a long time, for it seems they were unwilling to cease their frantic activity–not even for a moment. Without their continuing efforts, surely the ship would be swamped. Who would dare stop bailing when the ship was going down?

In desperation they cried out to Jesus, “Don’t YOU care if we drown?” They hadn’t needed His help earlier; but, now, having reached the end of the line, they begged. “Save us now for we are really going to perish!” Jesus said to the waves, “Quiet–be still!” And turning to His disciples, He asked the piercing question: “Why are you so afraid?”

When problems storm into our lives, we so typically resort to our old ways of handling them. “What are we going to do now?” “How are we going to manage?” “We’ve got to do this, to do that!” We try so hard to manage it our own way and depend on our ability to cope. We hang tenaciously onto what we think we need to do to save ourselves out of the tempest. We work like crazy to prop up our sinking dreams, to make secure our life’s desire, to maintain control over our own ship.

We also tend to hold out until all seems lost. We carry on to the brink of disaster. We don’t want to leave our stations for fear of losing control. We don’t acknowledge the reality and power of God in our lives until we have exhausted all our own efforts to work out a solution. After we’re going down, we turn our thoughts to God and we ask strangely: “Well, don’t You care? Don’t You see us here struggling and struggling to make our plans work to have smooth sailing?” God still turns to us and asks, “Why are we so afraid?”

All of us are in a life-threatening situation. The threat does not come from the storm. The problem is: are we afraid to let go? Do we dare to trust God with everything? Do we dare relinquish control of our lives to Him? Do we dare to turn full authority and complete direction over to Him? All too often we remain at the helm just in case we see things not going our way so we can step in and change course.

Did you know that God will not come to our aid automatically? That’s right. God will not jump in automatically to save us. He does not force Himself on anyone; He is bound to respect our free will and will not take over our lives if we don’t step aside first. Instead, He will be waiting patiently, sleeping quite restfully, until we summon for His help. But we must turn to Him in trust. There is no other way out. It must be done with trust!

From this lesson realize the necessity of trusting God. Use these three steps to develop complete trust. They are practical. They work. They save lives. They are:

S top what we are doing. Stop the fighting, the fretting, the finagling, the figuring out.

O btain God’s help by asking. This is necessary, but is often neglected. You get what you ask for. It’s best to seek Him early and not when you’re going down for the third time. God should not be an afterthought.

S urrender total control to Him. It is a fundamental principle that one person leads, one person is in charge. It is either our life or His life, our way or His way. We cannot have it both ways: sometimes His, sometimes ours; partially His, partially ours. It is high time we take our hands off–all the way off–in an unconditional surrender to the one and only Captain. For us to reserve the right to intervene whenever things don’t go our way, the way we think it should go, is to renege on our baptismal surrender. We surrendered once but we must do it over and over again.

On this signal depends our very survival. Practice trusting God. With the total, absolute relinquishment, there comes a peaceful, inner calm. Such is the might of God that He can take any tempest tossed at us and quickly turn it to calm water. The angry troubles melt away as we Stop fighting, as we Obtain help, as we Surrender control.

There are very visible effects of this trust. Remember the “old man and the sea” look? The old looks will fade away. You will begin to have a sparkle shining in the eyes, a head lifted high in hope, a smile lighting up the face, and a spring in the step. This occurs when, in your heart, you tell God that, no matter what problems and storms may arise, you will trust in Him completely.

There is no other way. At this time in our lives and in God’s plan, having set a new course with the days of Unleavened Bread, we should abandon our old ways and seek a new path, that of turning to God and turning our lives over to Him. Trust is the only way out of the storm–it is a life-saver. When your ship is sinking and all your efforts are futile, remember God is waiting for your S.O.S–Stop/Obtain/Surrender. Send God the signal of TRUST! And you’ll discover that yes, God always will, and forever, calm the storm.

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