Hope of Heaven
Jesus is our anchor in the storm- even when it feels like the ship is going under.
Loss and pain are unavoidable in this world. There are times when the storms of life come up unexpectedly, and your life gets thrown into turmoil. At some point, the fragility of what we put our trust in is revealed. Often the anchor wasn’t as secure as we thought. The secure foundation had cracks, and when the storms came, those cracks were revealed. Things are fine one minute, and then the next, we are in the midst of something life-altering; you get that phone call, diagnosis, or find out your marriage is not what you thought it was.
In Mark chapter 4, the disciples were in a similar situation- one moment, everything was fine, and the next, they were afraid and in turmoil.
As evening came, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s cross to the other side of the lake.” So they took Jesus in the boat and started out, leaving the crowds behind (although other boats followed). But soon a fierce storm came up. High waves were breaking into the boat, and it began to fill with water. Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion. The disciples woke him up, shouting, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown?”
I think this is where many of us find ourselves at times in our lives. “Jesus, don’t you care!?!” We may not be in a boat facing a hurricane, but we do feel like we are drowning in our circumstances.
A lot of us have found ourselves in situations where we are saying, “God, I know you can, but the silence feels like you won’t. And this burden is more than I can carry.” You feel like the disciples. The boat is filling up with water faster than you can bail it out. Water is pouring over the sides of your life, and you keep bailing as fast as you can but can’t keep up, and you are drowning.
So, what can we do when the storms of life do come?
1. Remember, no matter what storms you face, Jesus promised we will go to the other side.
Scripture doesn’t just say a storm came; it said a hurricane-like storm came. These were seasoned fishermen who had seen many storms while fishing on the sea of Galilee, and these guys were in full freak-out mode. They feared they were going to drown. That makes sense…we would too. But there is one thing they forgot as they were trying to bail out the water; Jesus said they were going to the other side. Do you know why the disciples were bailing, and Jesus was sleeping? Because they forgot who was with them and that he promised they were going to the other side!
Here is the point; if you are a follower of Jesus, you are not alone.
"and behold, I am with you to the end of the age."
- Matthew 28
“he will never leave us or forsake us.”
- Hebrews 13
Following Christ doesn’t mean we will not face storms. It doesn’t mean that there won’t be a loss- but it does mean that no matter what comes our way, it is not the end of the story.
2. Remember, our hope is not in the boat.
In essence, we think we can secure our hope through our own means and determination. We think, "if I can have this amount of money in my retirement account, I will have security." If your trust is solely in the things of this world that you can amass and achieve, I’ve got news for you: your security isn’t guaranteed.
What we have learned over the last decade is that control is an illusion. You and I are not in control. We never know when the hurricanes and the rough water are going to start overwhelming our boat. Like the disciples, we may be working to exhaustion today trying to keep up, but the water is filling up faster than we can bail it out.
We are exhausted and realize we can’t keep up because we are trying to secure something that we can’t secure.
And there lies the problem; we are the problem. If we are the problem, we cannot possibly be the solution.
Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.” - Matthew 7:24-27 NLT
It's not what we build; it's what we build it on! Our trust is not in the house; our trust is in the foundation it is built on.
We can’t save or secure our lives by our own means… we can’t save or secure the lives of those we love the most by our own means!
But soon a fierce storm came up. High waves were breaking into the boat, and it began to fill with water. Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion.
The disciples are in full freak-out mode, and Jesus is taking a nap! Jesus wasn’t overwhelmed by the circumstances. He wasn’t worried the storm would sink the boat. He was peacefully taking a nap.
One of my mentors gave me the greatest piece of advice; when things get chaotic, and uncertainty sets in, take a NAP...
The true, tested sign of a leader is a “non-anxious presence.” No matter what chaos is going on around you, the greatest gift you give people at that moment is a “non-anxious presence.”
When you know who is in control, you can take a N.A.P. in the storm.
When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Silence! Be still!” Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm. Then he asked them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
Literally, the way the text reads, Jesus spoke to the storm as you would speak to a child. When Jesus SPOKE, the winds and the waves became calm… Why? Because Jesus is the creator of all things, and all things are subject to his authority. Colossians and Hebrews state All things are created by Him and through him… He is the sustainer and giver of life. Sovereign Lord.
Look at this… I find this ironic.
The disciples were absolutely terrified. “Who is this man?” they asked each other. “Even the wind and waves obey him!”
The disciples were fearful of the storm, and their fear didn’t go away when Jesus calmed the storm; It was just redirected! Their fear moved from their circumstances to the power of the one who was in the boat.
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight. - Proverbs 9:10 ESV
When we understand the power of Jesus, our fear is redirected! A reverent fear or awe that we acknowledge we are not in control, but HE IS!
Prodromos, which in the Greek language means forerunner, was the word used to describe the smaller boats that were sent into the harbor by larger ships that were unable to enter due to stormy conditions. These smaller boats carried the anchor through the breakers inside the harbor and dropped it there, securing the larger ship. Once it was secured, the larger vessel could be slowly winched in.
Our anchor (our hope) is Jesus! He ascended to heaven to bring our anchor behind the veil, where it is firmly secured. He did what we could not do. He entered where we could not, and slowly, as we make our way through life, here is the hope! That we are being winched in, inch by inch.
That means Jesus has already gone to the other side! No matter what storms we face, in Jesus, we are going to the other side because of Him!