♣ Hopeful Amidst Troubled Seas
“… but the boat by this time was a long way from the land, beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them… And Peter answered Him, ‘Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.’ He said, ‘Come.’ So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” – Matthew 14:24, 28-30
The Sea of Galilee, approximately 696 feet (212 metres) below sea level, about 13 miles (21 km) long, and 8.1 miles (13 km) wide, is susceptible to violent downdrafts and abrupt storms; it is notorious for its erratic shift of calm to tempestuous conditions without due warning. This can be relative to the instability of nations and their constant fluctuation; a period of calm and then acute unrest.
Tumultuous seas, caused by violent winds, bears significance to Satan being the prince of the air and such influence is sometimes evident in how the nations rage; as nations are likened to the sea (Isaiah 17:11-13; 57:20 & Psalm 65:7), so the winds are metaphorical to Satan’s influence, even though he brings a deceptive unity among the nations through false peace. Such ‘peace’ is like a volcano that lies dormant for decades and centuries, but will eventually erupt due to unseen stress and pressure below.
In this world, the Christian is not exempt from trouble but is to expect disquieted seas; that, however, should not sway him or her. It is the waves that overwhelm if Christ is not our focus; we must look at this world through God’s perspective, otherwise go down in the waves.
Only when we are transformed into our new glorified body shall we know a ‘sea’ that is crystal clear and calm (Revelation 5:6; 15:2; 21:1), as John Gill states “…that as the heaven and earth will pass away, not as to their substance, but quality, so in like manner the sea will be no more used for navigation, nor may it be a tumultuous and raging one, or have its flux and reflux, or its waters be salt, as now; the schoolmen say it will no more be a fluid, but will be consolidated into the globe as the sphere; and, in a mystical sense, there will be no more wicked men; tumultuous and turbulent men are like the troubled sea, that cannot rest, (Isaiah 57:20) for in the new heavens and earth only righteous persons will dwell, (2 Peter 3:13).”
We can walk on the waves of a tumultuous sea; this is what being more than a conqueror is. We are in the storm but not overcome by it: “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you…” (Isaiah 43:2). It is our focus; the realisation of Who God is that brings about a healthy and sound mindset: “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You” (Isaiah 26:3). We are kept in this world by the power of God (John 17:15, 1 Peter 3:5), not taken away from it. David encountered much heartache, but through and because of them he declared to God, “You are my Rock, my Strength, my Fortress, my Deliverer, my Refuge, my Shield and my Stronghold” (Psalm 18).
“Let convulsions shake the solid earth, let the skies themselves be rent in twain, yet amid the wreck of worlds the believer shall be as secure as in the calmest hour of rest. If God cannot save His people under heaven, He will save them in heaven. If the world becomes too hot to hold them, then heaven shall be the place of their reception and their safety. Be ye then confident, when ye hear of wars, and rumours of wars. Let no agitation distress you, but be quiet from fear of evil. Whatsoever cometh upon the earth, you, beneath the broad wings of Jehovah, shall be secure. Stay yourself upon His promise; rest in His faithfulness, and bid defiance to the blackest future, for there is nothing in it direful for you. Your sole concern should be to show forth to the world the blessedness of hearkening to the voice of wisdom.” – C.H. Spurgeon
As Christians, we should never look to this world for good fortune. The Christian who is comfortable with this world will expect it, but rather, as Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones once stated, “No Christian should be surprised with the state of the world today; he [she] should expect it. What is surprising is that the world should ever have periods when it is a little better. You will always find that such periods follow in the wake of some great religious revival that has influenced people who actually become Christian; sometimes, too, Acts of Parliament have been passed to improve conditions.”
Paul speaks of setting our minds on the aspects of life that are worthy in Gods sight,“…whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (Philippians 4:8). Do we focus and morbidly dwell upon all the atrocities taking place in the world today? What governs our outlook and perspective? God wants us to be sober-minded, not sombre-minded. That’s not to say that we turn a blind eye to all that goes on in the world; it is important to be aware of what is taking place in the world through an unbiased media (which is not easy to come by these days). Nevertheless, we have to interpret a secular viewpoint from a Biblical stance; we are to stare facts in the face, through the light of God; we are to recognise His sovereignty, that He is in perfect control and that all of His purposes are unfolding as He decreed before the foundation of the world. Neither does it justify indifference to the injustice and corruption in the world. It is not sinful to express anger – an emotion that is righteously governed – so long as we are not being weighed down and consumed by negativity, where we calculate the facts of life without God in the equation.
This is not mere positive thinking, as the new agers are inclined to endorse, because God has not promised exemption from trouble. In fact, as Christians, we are more prone to opposition and tumultuous times, but it is through such circumstances we realise we are more than conquerors through Christ; it is through such grief that we know the God of all comfort; it is through descending to the lowest depths that we find God is there (Psalm 139:7-12) – and it is there we raise our anthem of victory in the presence of our enemies because our Shepherd has promised to be with us in the deepest darkness. It is in such pressing situations (where to the world would seem utterly hopeless) that we find our cup runs over with a joy inexpressible and a peace that garrisons our hearts, a peace that is given only by Christ, Who says, “Let not your heart be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”
Posted on July 25, 2013, in ♣ Devotional and tagged acute unrest, anger, Atrocities, Biblical stance, C.H. Spurgeon, Christ’s peace, deceptive unity, devotional, disquieted seas, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, false peace, fluctuation, God of all comfort, God's faithfulnes, God's perspective, God's sovereignty, healthy mindset, Hopeful amidst Troubled Seas, indifference, injustice, instability of nations, Isaiah 26:3, Isaiah 43:2, John Gil, joy inexpressible, Mark Anthony Williams, Matthew 14:24, Matthew 14:28-30, Matthew 14:30, my Deliverer, my Fortress, my Refuge, my Rock, my Shield, my Strength, my Stronghold, negativity, overwhelm, Parliament, peace, perspective, Philippians 4:8, Psalm 139:7-12, Psalm 18, Satan’s influence, Sea of Galilee, secular viewpoint, sober-minded, sombre-minded, sound mindset, state of the world, storms, trouble, Tumultuous seas, unbiased media, victory, violent winds, world's corruption. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.