“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation;
but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33
God showed His incredible love and foresight when He gave this word to us. He knew that there would be storms in our lives here on earth, and He did not want us to avoid the reality that they would come. He acknowledged, “Yes, you live in a fallen world. Bad things will happen; storms will come. However, My will is that you have peace in the midst of the storms and that you come through them victoriously!” Jesus overcame this fallen world so that no matter what challenges come our way, we can remain in peace and overcome each and every one.
Storms Have Loud Voices
Have you ever been in the middle of an actual, physical storm? Even from inside of a secure home, it can be a bit nerve-wracking to see the lightning flash, and hear the thunder crash, the wind howl and the rain beat loudly against roof and windows. When we also consider the darkness due to possible power outages, most of us come to a similar conclusion: Severe storms can be frightening!
Now, imagine being in this same storm, but in an open-air boat in the middle of the sea! As you hold on for dear life with one hand, the vessel rocks violently back and forth. While trying to stay balanced, you simultaneously attempt to bail out the water that surges over the sides with every crashing wave.
This is exactly the situation in which Jesus’ disciples found themselves, as they crossed the Sea of Galilee at His instruction (Matt. 8, Mark 4, Luke 8). In the natural, it looked as though their boat was going down, and they were going to die!
Know Your Identity
Even though these twelve men had Jesus as their personal mentor, and had seen Him perform incredible miracles, they still struggled to grasp two things that would have given them peace and victory in their storm.
First, they didn’t truly understand the identity of the Man they followed. Jesus knew exactly Who He was. Therefore, He was in the same storm, experiencing the same cold and frightening conditions they were, yet He slept peacefully. Hadn’t He said they would reach the other side? Although the disciples had seen what He could do, they still didn’t know that God was in the boat, too! In fact, the moment Jesus calmed the storm, the disciples were astounded at His authority!
You Can Overcome the World
Second, they didn’t truly understand their own identities. While Jesus was with them, He gave them very clear instructions regarding their purpose and the authority they were given to use in His name. He “called His twelve disciples together and gave them power and authority over all demons, and to cure diseases. He sent them to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick” (Luke 9:1-2).
Jesus also told them, “And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover” (Mark 16:17-18).
So, the disciples also still hadn’t grasped that He had given them the same authority that He had. The truth is, the disciples didn’t need Jesus’ help that night. There truly was no reason for them to even wake Him from His restful sleep! They had everything within themselves to get across that lake; they just didn’t realize it.
“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.” – Mark 4:35-36
Jesus knew the storm was coming, yet He told the disciples to go anyway. He said clearly, “Let us cross over to the other side.” He had already told them that they were going to make it! Jesus would not have told them to do something that wasn’t going to happen. He wouldn’t have told them to do something that they could not accomplish.
God is never taken off-guard by a storm, an attack, a challenge, or an obstacle that comes your way. He knows they are coming, but He also knows that He has given you a way to overcome! This mind of Christ is what we need to have as we walk through our lives. Storms should not surprise us. Instead, we must simply prepare ourselves to be ready when the storms come.
Overcome the World
Although most of us have probably never experienced this kind of physical storm on the water, we all have gone through storms of other kinds. Sickness and disease, rejection, betrayal, heartache, or financial lack—the list could go on and on. Yet, because Jesus has already overcome the world, we can stay in perfect peace and victoriously overcome any storm. You can say with Him, “I have overcome the world!”
The disciples may have been ignorant of Who was in their boat. They may have taken their eyes off of Jesus and began looking at the circumstances around them. Their senses may have told them, “We’re all gonna die!” However, let’s learn from them and look at the storms in our own lives with new eyes. Learn the promises of God and all of the power and authority we have been given. If we remain ignorant, we will be easily tossed around by the wind and waves. We will be filled with fear, crying out for God to do for us what He has already given us the ability to do: overcome!
Even in the midst of the tribulations that will inevitably come, we can remain in peace! We understand that Jesus has already overcome the world, that He has given us His power and authority to be victorious, and that regardless of what things look like, God is in our boat! We will overcome!
“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” – Romans 8:31
Storm Survival Guide
At some point, everyone will face a storm in this life. The good news is, no matter the size of the storm or how impossible the situation looks, you can use the Word of God to overcome every challenge this life throws at you. Whether you are currently in a storm or making wise preparation to withstand one in the future, this 4-part teaching series will help you emerge an overcomer!