Thursday, May 23, 2013

Lord over storms

Wind, waves and a legion of demons...what do they have in common?  We have been reading through the gospel of Luke lately.  This week we paused to chew on two of the stories in chapter 8.

The first has to do with Jesus and His disciples in a boat.  Jesus fell asleep and a windstorm kicked up enough steam to frighten His disciples.  They woke Him up in a panic (after all, the boat was taking on water and it didn't look or feel very safe).  Jesus woke up, rebuked the wind and the raging waters... all was calm. 

The second has to do with a demon possessed man...a naked man who lived among the tombs and was too tough to keep chained up, though attempts were made to keep him under guard.  This was a scary guy!  When Jesus stepped out of the boat, THIS man met him. "When he saw Jesus, he cried out, fell down before Him, and with a loud voice said, 'What have I to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg You, do not torment me!' For He had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man."  Jesus granted permission to Legion, the host of demons that had entered the man, to enter swine which promptly ran violently down into a lake a drowned.  Not long after, the townspeople gathered to find him sitting, clothed and in his right mind. Pretty cool.

But what do these two stories have in common?  The disciples' response to Jesus calming the storm was this: "And they were afraid, and marveled, saying to one another, 'Who can this be? For He commands even the winds and water, and they obey Him!'"  In the story of casting out Legion, we see this response: "Then the whole multitude of the surrounding region of the Gadarenes asked Him to depart from them, for they were seized with great fear."

Storms can be scary. And though I personally have never been around a naked demon-possessed dude when visiting a cemetery, I can easily imagine that such a thing would be enough to freak me out. BUT Jesus has authority over it all.  The demons begged Jesus not to torment them...Jesus gave them permission to enter the swine...He is Lord.  As scary as storms and demons are, we need to fear Jesus.  Do we believe that?  Do we believe Jesus is the Lord over storms?  Jesus asked His disciples in the boat: "Where is your faith?" Indeed, where is OUR faith?  Whatever circumstances we are in, the Lord is sovereign over it and He is working it all for the good of those who call upon His name.  Tis His promise to us in Romans 8. 

I'm reminded of Jacob in Gen 42:36 who said: "You have bereaved me: Joseph is no more, Simeon is no more, and you want to take Benjamin. All these things are against me." Just like the disciples who depended upon their sight and feelings, Jacob thought "all these things are against me."  But we know the rest of the story...those things were NOT against Jacob (it only felt and looked like it)...God was working it all together to rescue not just Jacob, but his whole line.  And we know Jesus, the Lord over the storms.  So as we're tempted to rely on our sight and feelings in our present circumstances, let us be reminded to have faith in the ONE who is sovereign over every detail.  He is our ever present Help in time of trouble.  He is the Lord.  Let us marvel, and walk by faith.

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