You know that whole “Is the glass half-full or half-empty?” scenario, right? The outcome of the question depends solely on the answer we give it. We choose the answer. We may have to fight for that answer, but it’s all in how we see it. I’m confident that the same applies to any life situations, especially the storms. You have the ability to choose how you respond to the most torrential downpours in your life. You may say “Katie, that’s quote a bold statement for you to say because you don’t know half of the danger in my storms.” You’re right, I don’t. But I know God is bigger, and that’s a fact. This topic feels quite serious for me to write because I’ve had to wrestle with this same idea in some humbling and gut-wrenching ways. I’ve had to look at contentment with a whole new viewpoint. One that was formed only in what God’s Word so clearly tells me. And my favorite screw-up disciple, Peter, gave us a great example of what it truly means to be content in the storm in Matthew 14:22-33.
Don’t Be Afraid
The disciples were in a predicament. Being expert fisherman, they suddenly found themselves in heavy waves and against the wind. Jesus was walking to them, but they didn’t recognize Him out of fear for their situation. Their first reaction was that of terror causing them to misread who was in control of the situation, even to the point of blaming it on a ghost. I wish I could say that I would never do anything THAT dumb. But let’s be real, we’ve all allowed fear to misguide our ideas of the circumstances we’re in. There’s a book by Robert J. Morgan called The Red Sea Rules referring back to the time in Exodus when the Israelites were caught between the Red Sea and Pharaoh. It outlines ten rules for when you find yourself caught in overwhelming life situations. The very first rule is to “realize that God means for you to be where you are.” In other words, He knows you’re there because He allowed you to be there in the first place! That can change our whole perspective. We may not always understand why and that’s ok because God does, and that should drive out our fear.
I’m about to give a weird illustration, so just go with my brain here. When I think about driving out fear, I think of Space Jam. That’s right, the 1996 movie classic that everyone around my age watched approximately 73 times in their childhood. There’s a scene in the movie where all the “tunes” drink “Michael’s secret stuff.” When they drink it, they automatically begin to play better than their giant, oversized opponent, eventually winning the game in classic Looney Tune fashion. What they thought was the magical powers of the “secret stuff” really just turned out to be water. They had what they needed all along. We have what we need all along too. Jesus is our “secret stuff!” When we put God in the equation, it can totally change our outlook on fear.
Ask for Guidance and Obey
Verses 23, 28-29
We have to give credit to Peter. He had such good intentions. He was bold enough to ask Jesus to tell him what to do. Here he is in the middle of a storm, and he looks to Jesus to ask for guidance. How many times do we get stuck in the middle of a hot mess and try to fix it on our own, and it ends up even more of a hot mess because we didn’t listen to Jesus’ directions? I can’t even count how many times I’ve been guilty of that. I’m a fixer. I see a problem, and I immediately want to fix it. I try to do that on my own creating an even bigger problem. If I would just pause and ask God first, I could miss the whole hot mess!
Jesus gave us the best example in verse 23 when He dismissed everyone around Him just to spend time to pray. When was the last time you dismissed everyone and everything around you for intentional prayer? There’s no better time to make that a habit than in the middle of a storm. Paul even gives a strong warning in Ephesians 6 to “pray at all times.” This is after he explains the seriousness of spiritual warfare and fighting with spiritual armor. The battle is real, and prayer is the key. Don’t shrug off one of your most important weapons during the most intense storms of your life.
Keep Your Eyes on Jesus
All it took for Peter to sink was one moment of taking his eyes off of Jesus. He let the idea of the waves being a bigger threat take the place of the idea that Jesus is greater than any storm. Have you ever seen horses with the big blinders next to their eyes? This prevents them from seeing anything but what’s in front of them. This keeps them from going wild because something spooked them out of the corner of their eye. Sometimes I think we need to guard ourselves with spiritual blinders. We can train ourselves to see straight ahead to Jesus only and ultimately give Him glory. The second rule of The Red Sea Rules is to “be more concerned for God’s glory than for your relief.” I don’t know about you, but that hits me hard. How do I become more concerned with giving God glory in ALL situations, even when I literally can’t find ground to walk on? Morgan proposes, “next time instead of asking God ‘How can I get out of this mess?’ try asking, ‘How can God be glorified in this situation?’” I have a feeling this might even change how “bad” you think your situation even is. Keep your eyes on Jesus, and it will change your whole perspective.
Our world is increasingly more unstable every single day. The days ahead for our country are uncertain. The voice of the true Church is being weakened by harsh social media perspectives. The attack on the Word of God is stronger than ever. There’s a reason Paul warns us to stand firm with the full armor of God. We have every ability to stand firm even under these circumstances. For some of you, this hits home because you feel like you’re in personal situations that you literally have no control over. But sister, let me remind you that with God in control you can be content. Don’t let the enemy win with fear. Fight with prayer. Keep your eyes fixed on the only One who can help you through. Remember, He holds the victory already. This is my prayer for you:
“I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:16-19
The Red Sea Rules by Robert J Morgan