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Why Didn’t He Stop the Storm
by Dr. Johnny O. Trail, LMFT
Matthew chapter fourteen deals with an event in the ministry of Christ that many people are aware of in religious and secular settings. The fact of Jesus walking on the water has entered our vernacular to mean that one is perfect or has an inflated opinion of themselves if they can “walk on water.” This means that no person is as unique or as perfect as Jesus was and no person ever will be. That being the case, the circumstances surrounding Jesus’ walking upon the water deserve deeper investigation.

Previously in the ministry of Christ, Jesus had been asleep in a vessel that was tossed severely in a storm. The text tells the reader that Jesus was soundly asleep at the stern of the vessel. Upon the alarm of those Apostles in the boat, Jesus stops the storm. Mark 4:35-40 says, “On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, "Let us cross over to the other side." Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, "Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?" Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, "Peace, be still!" And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. But He said to them, "Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?"

From this event, one learns that Jesus had the ability to stop the most powerful forces of nature. Notice the response of the Apostles in Mark 4:41, “And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, "Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!" Since these events fall earlier in the Chronology of Jesus’ life than Him walking on the water, one deep question might come to mind. Why did Jesus not stop the storm in Matthew fourteen?

Theoretically, He could have created a water surface that was calm and smoother than polished glass. Instead of Peter becoming distracted by the storm (Matthew 14.30), he could have easily strolled to where Jesus was on the face of the water some three of four miles from shore (John 6.19). Jesus allowed the storm to continue while Peter began to sink beneath the waves (Matthew 14.30). Why would Jesus allow the storm to continue amidst their fears and anxieties?

There is a blessing that comes from weathering a storm. God can stop the storm in our lives, or He can go with us through the tempest. All Christians will face a storm in their lives—some will face more than their fair share of troubles. Some storms will be in connection with chronic illnesses that have no real end in this life. Some storms might be bereavement or loss—whether it is death or loss of a particular situation in life.

Just as Jesus might have stopped the storm that made Peter and the other Apostles fearful but did not, He allows us to face storms too. What sort of blessings might one enjoy who endures the storm faithfully to the end?

We are blessed by the storm because it makes us stronger in our Christian walk. Paul took pleasure in his infirmities. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 says, “And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness. Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” When a child of God faces a problem and navigates it successfully, he becomes stronger in his Christianity.

We are blessed by the storm because it makes us focus on God. In Matthew fourteen, Peter started to sink because he took his eyes off Christ. Matthew 14:30 says, “But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, "Lord, save me!" When Christians face difficult situations in their lives, they are forced to pay more attention to God. Most faithful saints are driven to their knees in prayer when they deal with tribulations, bereavement, and infirmities.

We are blessed by the storm because it makes us face our fears. While some are critical of Peter, he was the only one who had enough courage to get out of the boat. Jesus was critical of his “little faith,” because the Creator of the universe was right next to him ready, willing, and able to pluck him from the tempestuous waves. Christ is near His people in a very real way (Hebrew 4.14-16; cf. Matthew 28.20).

We are blessed by the storm because we can see God’s providential working in our lives. Joseph had a terrible set of circumstances befall him through no fault of his own. Yet, he understood that the bad things helped him in the deliverance of his entire family. Gene-sis 50:19-20 says, “Joseph said to them, "Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God? But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.” From these passages and others, one might learn that the ability of God to accomplish His purposes in the face of evil is one proof of His power.

We are blessed by the storm because we know that God is near in our times of trial. Paul was aware of this fact when he stood before 2 Timothy 4:17-18 says, “But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that the message might be preached fully through me, and that all the Gentiles might hear. And I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen!”

We are blessed by the storm because our trials help us comfort others. If we lived a life free from problems, we would not be able to relate to others or help them in their times of need. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” When we have already taken the journey of bereavement, pain, temptation, and tribulation, we can guide others as they struggle along the same pathway.

Storms in our lives are not always bad things spiritually speaking. Just as rainstorms cause the foliage in the natural universe to grow, spiritual storms can cause one to grow spiritually too. James 1:2-4 says, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”