He Maketh the Storm a Calm
“He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still.”—Psa. 107:29
Condensed from a discourse by Alex Gonczewski
Have you ever stopped to think, Brethren, about the great mission our Savior was on? Would you and I be willing to do what our Lord Jesus did? Our Lord was alone yet he said “I am not alone, but the Father is with me.” He had a remarkable faith. As you know he was with the Father at the beginning of all creation—the only begotten son—the direct creation of God and through him everything created was not only by him, but for him as in Col. 1:16.
But our Lord Jesus began to preach “Repent ye that the Kingdom of God is at hand.”—and as we think about the first advent of our Lord Jesus, it is remarkable that there were disciples there that would follow him. But our Lord Jesus came and he spake in parables and dark sayings so hearing they could not hear and seeing they could not see less they be converted. Now that’s odd isn’t it . . . so he was seeking disciples who were willing to follow the lamb whithersoever he goes.
The characters of the early church are a remarkable illustration of the various temperaments and characteristics typical of the church members. There are the Peters, the Pauls, and the Marthas and the Marys. These early followers had the spark of faith to follow him day by day and wait for the establishment of the kingdom.
Before our Lord ascended, Peter asked when would Jesus establish the kingdom? Peter was thinking about an earthly kingdom, an earthly arrangement, particularly regarding the Jewish nation under Roman bondage. He was hoping for Israel to be reestablished as a nation.
From all the nations of the world God selected Israel as His “chosen people” and not necessarily because they were good people, but because of all people they were the most stubborn and few in number. This is quite illustrative of even ourselves that being called out of this world there is something that our Heavenly Father has seen in us that even though we are fallen, he is able to lift us and lead us step by step. Therefore, our Lord Jesus preached for three and a half years leading the Lord’s people step by step.
On the Sea
In John 6:15-21 we come to an experience involving Jesus and his disciples.
“When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone. And when even was now come, his disciples went down unto the sea, And entered into a ship, and went over the sea toward Capernaum. And it was now dark, and Jesus was not come to them. And the sea arose by reason of a great wind that blew. So when they had rowed about five and twenty or thirty furlongs, they see Jesus walking on the sea, and drawing nigh unto the ship: and they were afraid. But he saith unto them, It is I; be not afraid. Then they willingly received him into the ship: and immediately the ship was at the land whither they went.”
Our Lord had manifested his power by performing a miracle of feeding five thousand people. In observing this miracle the people wanted to make him king, and in perceiving their intentions Jesus went into the mountain top to be alone—and when evening had come, his disciples went down unto the sea and entered into a ship. Darkness had set in and a storm arose by reason of a great wind that blew and when they had gone about two and a half or three miles out into the sea, they were afraid.
Other accounts found in Matt. 14:22-32 and Mark 6:45-51 also describe them as afraid and frightened. Considering that some of these disciples were fishermen and familiar with the sea, this storm must have been out of the ordinary.
Now, Brethren, can you picture the darkness of the hour and the wind blowing? It must have been quite a scene. Our Lord Jesus suddenly appears unto them, walking on the water and drawing nigh unto the ship—and they were afraid. But he said unto them “It is I; be not afraid.” Then they willingly received him into the ship and immediately the ship was at the land whither they went. The suggestion might be that at the end of this age the completion of the church will take place quickly, because immediately the ship was at the land.
The Storm Today
Can we see in this instance something of our day? Here we are at the end of the age. Is there a storm arising? Are the winds blowing? Could we be afraid, too? Even in our day you and I could quake if our faith is not strong enough. And so the illustration with the first advent, our Lord Jesus and the disciples riding that boat in that storm is pointing to something that is going to happen in our day only on a greater scale. Remember, Brethren, Jesus said unto them “It is I; be not afraid”. We should take great comfort in these words and we should fortify ourselves. This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.
The troubles ahead will be severe. We do not like to paint a dark picture, but we recognize in the background of the writings of the Bible the teachings of our Lord Jesus and the apostles. They indicate a very severe trial, if we are not walking by faith. We still must have strong determination to remain faithful.
God has highly exalted Jesus and given him a name above every name that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow of things in heaven and in earth. Jesus was the Logos, the agent through which everything was created and he was willing to come down to this planet earth to sacrifice his life. Ephesians 4:10 says, “Far above all heavens that he might fill all things.”
In other words, he was far above that which he had with the Father before he came to this earth. He was exalted on a higher level according to 1 Peter 3:22. “Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers be made subject to him.” Our Lord Jesus is sitting with the Father doing a mighty work at the second advent. He is at the right hand of God as a mighty general, judging the nations and preparing for the establishment of his kingdom.
We, also, are crossing a sea and the storms and the winds are blowing. During these rough experiences we can remember Jesus’ words, “It is I”—”Lo, I am with you even to the end of the age.”
Let’s refer to the account in Matt. 14:22-33—”And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away. And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone. But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary. And in the forth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of Good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased. Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.”
In this great storm ahead of us we will not be able to walk alone, but only if Jesus is with us. “And when they were come into the ship the wind ceased.” Brethren, as soon as the church is completed the winds of human society will cease. In 2 Peter 3:10 and 13, Peter refers to the great fall of the new heavens and the new earth, seeing that these things shall be dissolved, and further refers to the melting of the heavens and the earth.
The great test upon you and I has never in the history of the church been as severe as it is now. The winds of doctrine, the winds of change, the winds of financial problems in this world are so severe that if we did not have faith in our Lord Jesus as the Great King and Redeemer of the world we would fall with the world.
Now They Knew
The great message of the Bible is that Jesus is the Son of God. The ship had immediately reached the shore, the storm ceased and a calm came over the disciples. This experience convinced them that Jesus was the Son of God. Jesus said to the Jews in John 5:46, “For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me.” Moses said to the children of Israel, “The Lord your God shall raise up unto you a prophet like unto me, him shall ye hear.” All through the old testament the Scriptures testify of Jesus. Brethren, what a wonderful blessing it is to have the truth. We see the wonderful arrangement that God has and man must experience this trouble a part of that great plan. Afflictions have a way of drawing one to the Lord and as in Isaiah 2:3 many people shall say, “Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths. . . .” Our Lord Jesus will establish his kingdom and then the blessings of all the families of the earth will begin.
In the meantime, dear Brethren, the test is upon you and me. Remember what Jesus said, “Because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” and “In your patience, possess ye your souls.” There’s no temptation taketh you, but such is common to man. God is faithful and will not suffer you to be tempted above what ye are able, but will make a way of escape. The escape is by faith for without faith it is impossible to please God.
Brethren, continue to press on despite the clouds that surround us, trusting is His precious promises. He that dwelleth in the secret place shall abide unto the shadow of the Almighty. If we seek to come into harmony with Him, we will abide in the shadow of His wings. Jesus said “I am the bread of life.” If we can feed upon His words, we can be nourished and strengthened so that we can overcome the storms of life.
We too may be fearful, but if we have strong faith and realize that eventually Jesus will be in the ship and immediately come to the shore. Immediately, the last member of the church will be completed and the blessings will begin to flow to all the families of the earth.
So brethren, let us press on, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves, not forsaking the truth, and the Lord, despite the storms of life that may surround us. Let us look unto Jesus having that peace of God in our hearts and minds that will carry us through. Let us continue to look unto Him, who is the author and finisher of our faith, and then we will overcome and the ship will come to the shore.