Friday, June 26, 2009

“Why Are You Still Afraid?” (Mark 4:37-40)

S-1126 6/21/09 3SAP/3B Hymns: (O) #649 (S)#410; (C) #47

Texts Job 38:1-11; 2 Corinthians 6:1-13; Mark 4:35-41

Theme: “Why Are You Still Afraid?” (Mark 4:37-40)

Question: “Are There Any Storms Raging in Your Heart?”


Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is Risen! Indeed! Alleluia! The text for our meditation this morning is the Gospel lesson: “And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. But He was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke Him and said to Him, ‘Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?’ And He awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, ‘Peace! Be still!’ And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, ‘Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?’”

Saints in Christ, we who live in the Midwest know all too well about storms. We know about summer storms and winter storms. As it was this past week, almost every night people sat glued to the TV tracing the storms as they are coming from the South, West, North and whatever direction they came. Some followed the storms on the computer with live Doppler radar. As the storm was approaching our town, we were evaluating what we should do to get out of the way of the storm. And so it is also in the winter storms. When there is a total white out, you want to make sure that you are safe and protected.

Thankfully we have Doppler radars. Thankfully we have weather stations. Thankfully we have computers and TV’s that help us know the latest forecast, the warnings of impending storms.

Unlike us though, over 2000 years ago a band of disciples were on the Sea of Galilee. These were experienced fishermen. They lived by the Sea. They had made their living out of the Sea. And yet while they were in the boat, a storm raged. The storm was so big and so fearful, that even these experienced seamen, after attempting everything in their power, couldn’t control the situation. In desperation, they went to the One who was sleeping in the back and said, “Don’t You care that we are perishing? In another place, in Matthew and Luke the disciples cry out to Jesus saying, “Lord, Save us!”

And He gets up and with one simple word He says, “Peace! Be Still!” And the authors of the Gospels tell us that both the wind and waves obeyed Him and became quiet. In astonishment the disciples said, “Who is this that the wave and the wind listen to Him?” In the O.T. reading for today, you heard God the Almighty Father speak with Job, “Where were you when I told the sea this far you could come and no more?” Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Who are you that counsel men with stupidity?” (Job 38:1-11). PAUSE

You and I, only look at the things right before our own eyes. We don’t see that God is in total control of every situation. And many times we are sore afraid. When the storms of life come upon us, we cry out to God, “God aren’t You concerned about me?” “Don’t You care that we are perishing?” All of us have storms raging in our lives. Sometimes they are physical storms. You are driving down the highway and you see the Tornado coming and say, “Now what? Where do I go from here?” Or like the event that happened to me some 30 years ago. I was a student in college. I attended a workshop on Death and Dying by Elizabeth Kubler-Roth in Aberdeen, SD. I had one of those big cars (like a boat about 15 feet long), I along with five other women began the drive home. And it began to snow and the snow never stopped and I no longer could see the emblem on the front of my hood. A total white out. You talk about fear. Holding on to the steering so tightly that your knuckles turned blue, paying attention to every sound, and unsure where you are going or where the stop signs are. You are not sure if there is a car coming or out in front of you stalled. There is FEAR.

Storms rage in our life, that’s physical. But what about the one’s in our hearts? What about the storms that shake us to the core—that big word which we hate to hear from the doctor capital C—CANCER! What about the big letter D, that comes in the mail from the attorney—I want Divorce! Or what about the word from the doctor’s office, “Sorry, there is nothing else we can do!

Liberty sometimes is taken away from us, loss of life, loss of job, pain and heartaches; these are the storms that rage within our hearts, and we cry out to God, “Don’t You care that we are perishing?” The disciples cried out to the Lord. The Psalmist tells us that the Lord neither slumbers nor sleeps (Ps. 121:4). In His human form Jesus was sleeping on the cushion in the back of the boat; but the Divine Author of Life, was awake and in control of the situation. And regardless of what storms are raging in your lives today, be certain of this: Sometimes the Lord calms the storm. Sometimes He lets the storm rage and calms His child. Even though we know this we at times are afraid.

Just like the Disciples, they had spent three years with their Master; they had seen the miracles; they heard His Words “I Am with you always… Come unto Me...I will protect you…I will deliver you...” They had seen the miracle of Lazarus being raised from the dead; they have seen Him multiple the fish and the bread; and yet in the midst of the storm they couldn’t see anything save the storm itself. They didn’t see the Savior. PAUSE.

How many times are we like the Disciples? We see the storm, we see the pain, the agony, the afflictions as Paul talked about in the Epistle reading from 2 Corinthians 6:1-13), we don’t see the Savior. Yet in the midst of our storms we hear the Savior saying, “Lo, I Am always with you to the very end of the age” (Mt. 28:20).

Today, we observe and celebrate Father’s Day. One of the greatest blessings a man has is to be a father. You know any man can produce a child. But it takes a man who fears God and a heart for the Gospel that is a true father. The greatest event as fathers that you and I can do is not to teach our sons how to cook a good steak on the grill, to mow the lawn, or do the dishes around the house. All of these things are great. But the greatest thing a father can do is to wake up on Sunday morning and lead the way for his children to God’s house.

At times we are afraid not knowing what we need to do. It reminds me of a story I heard sometime back. One summer night during a severe thunderstorm a mother was tucking her small son into bed. She was about to turn the light off when he asked in a trembling voice, Mommy, will you stay with me all night?” Smiling, the mother gave him a warm, reassuring hug and said tenderly, “I can’t dear. I have to sleep in Daddy’s room.” A long silence followed. At last it was broken by a shaky voice saying, “The big sissy!”

How many times do we act like big sissy’s when the storms of life come raging upon us? We see the storm but we don’t see the Savior; we see the pain but we don’t see the Deliverer; we see the agony but we don’t see the Author of Life.

In this we text read of the Disciples coming to Jesus. “Master, don’t You care that we are Perishing?” And what does Jesus do? First and foremost He calms their raging hearts. “Why are you afraid?” He then, turns to the wind and says, “Peace! Be Still!” Actually the Greek word is stronger than that, “Shut UP!” He told the Sea, and immediately the Sea calmed down.

You and today, stand in the presence of God, the One who holds all of life; the One who made the Universe, the One who put the stars in the heaven, is the same God who is among us today. He says to us, “Be still and know that I Am God!” You need not be afraid because He went into the midst of the greatest storm of life ever. He met the devil head-on. The storm of the evil forces raged with its greatest might on that Friday. And the wrath of God was unleashed like no other Tsunami or Tornado or winter storm ever could so long ago on that dark Friday.

Jesus took that storm head on. At Calvary He was nailed, He endured the storms of anger, of hate, God’s wrath; He took all of the storms punishments—all of the sins of mankind upon His shoulders. On Sunday morning that storm was calm. He rose victoriously, so that He says to you and me, I Am the God who stills the storms of life whether it is Divorce, Cancer, loss of life or loss of job; I will take care of you.

What does Jesus say, “Come unto Me!” And how dare we approach the Author of Life? How dare we come to Him and ask Him to help us? How can we go to the One who made heaven and earth and say, “help me, save me Lord?”

Just like the Disciples came to Him, so can we by virtue of who we are—sons and daughters of the Almighty Father, who loved us enough to do the impossible to save us—by sending His Son into the storm of earth.

Today and every day, Jesus still calms the storms of our life, whether external or internal He is still here with His people through His Word. For His Word is the Rock eternal that assures “that I Am with you always.” In the Sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, you hear His voice saying, “This is for the forgiveness of YOUR sins!” We need not be afraid any more for past sins, for Christ has taken care of them and even the ones we commit in the future. But let us not use this as a license to sin, but rather celebrate that He has overcome sin, death, hell, the devil and the grave.

What types of storms are raging in your hearts? Is it financial insecurity? Is it marital problems? Is it physical? Is it spiritual? Some of you, I am aware of the storms in your lives, others I am not. Don’t take my word to it, but take God’s Word to it. The Eternal Father who said in Isaiah 65:24 “Before they call I will answer; while they are yet speaking I will hear.”

Is there any greater promise that a Pastor can share with His saints? Your heavenly Father the Author of Life is here today, to calm the storms in your life. Whatever they may be, He is here to assure you again, and again, and again; that He who made the heavens and the earth; who placed the sea and its boundaries; He who made you and fashioned you as you are knows your need. So come to Him, cry out to Him, “Daddy, Help Me!” And He does. This is the certainty of the Gospel. This is the guarantee that He gave us. He calmed the storms for the Disciples, He calms the storms for us, and He will calm them for us tomorrow.

So why are you still afraid? Maybe because you are looking at the storm rather than Your Savior. By the Spirit’s power open your eyes and see the Savior, who is able to do everything for you. Look to the cross; to the Word; to Baptism; to the Lord’s Supper and take comfort in His voice as He says, “Peace be to you, for I Am with you today and forever.” Amen.

Now the peace…

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