Now that you have read about the “Perfect Storm” in our lives, let’s talk about the “Perfect Storm “ in the church. What could this topic possibly have to do with the church?? Well, let me explore this event a little more closely!
There are areas or should I say storms that arise in our churches that will shake us to the core. Events like gossip, division, death, and scandal to name a few, come up unexpectedly. Now, let’s clarify something from the start. This topic does not mean it is raging in all churches!! Yet, the attention is so great when events like this happen in the church, it’s almost like our (congregation of believers) lose the direction or focus of their task at hand and allow these random events to flood their minds. The ability to continue the task at hand becomes difficult when our faith wavers. The focus on Jesus changes direction. I certainly call these type of events B.U.G.S. (Being Under The Grip Of Satan).
This is a prime example of “The Perfect Storm”. Satan waits quietly in the background to stir up anything and everything that will cause violent behavior. Yes, I said violent behavior.
You see, when we are focused on the things that are happening around us and not on the cause or enemy behind it, it becomes a violent storm. Everything is in place to create havoc and violent behavior.
Remember, the definition of a “Perfect Storm” is when violent storms arise from rare adverse combinations of storms. Everything is in place to produce the “Perfect Storm”. Attention will rise to the events in that storm. Our senses become more alert to what the storm is doing. We ask ourselves, How is this going to affect me? Will we die? Will we survive? Will I be thrown overboard and drown? Why is there a storm NOW? There was no sign of a storm of this caliber, yet it’s raging! Fear and panic easily become a normal reaction. Questions arise that cause even more of a panic than standing still and realizing how God will still the storm.
Mark 4: 35-41 states…”35 On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” 36 And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. 37 And a great windstorm arose, and the waves…”
Jesus said, “Let us go across to the other side.”And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. 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 of the boat 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?” And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”(ESV)
Here again, is an important factor to consider in this passage of scripture. Doesn’t it seem to raise a question as to why Jesus went to sleep at the stern of the boat? Well, it did to me when I read this passage. The stern of the boat stood out because I’m sure Jesus had His pick of where He wanted to rest. Why the stern and not the bow of the boat. Interesting isn’t it?
This is how I saw this interesting occurrence.
The stern of the boat is typically where the boat is covered and its prime purpose is to not allow water to get in the boat. Hang on there’s more! The stern of the boat also is where the boat is controlled. All the needed attachments to propel the boat are located here (the stern). It is clear that this instance served more than one purpose. Yes, Jesus needed to rest but He chose to rest at the stern. This lets you know that the control of the boat was in His hands even as He slept. There was no way the boat was going to capsize with Jesus at the stern. Yet, the passengers on board didn’t rely on this at all.
It is also clear that Jesus wants us to trust Him in all things whether it be a test or a storm. This is why He asked them the question, “Have you no faith?” Jesus had the control and He knew that the storm was only to test their faith in Him. At any moment, Jesus could have stopped the raging waves and storm but He allowed them the opportunity to trust Him or their own intellect.
You do see the pattern that we as believers follow when there is a crisis? We tend to forget who’s in charge, who’s in control. Certainly not Satan!!! Just another one of those B.U.G.S., that causes us to rely on ourselves instead of God.
It is important that you understand the conversation Jesus had with those on board the boat. In the midst of their panic and fear from the storm, they immediately questioned Jesus as to His faithfulness to them. “Do you not care that we are perishing?”
What an awful and insulting thing to say to the one that has been teaching them all along about walking in faith with God!! You can easily see that the fear and panic overwhelmed them and they only wanted the storm to cease without even thinking about the power they had in their faith.
Let me point out here that many times we tend to look at the present state of a situation and immediately add our own interpretation to it. We don’t consider (as believers) how the event or situation may increase our faith. We immediately look for a solution that appeals to us. This is the perfect line up of events for Satan to do his best work on our minds.
This is why Jesus responded to the indignant effort to question His love with this question, “Have you no Faith?”
This is something you would expect from a new believer in Christ. They are in the midst of learning about God and how to walk in this Christian journey. But those of us that have been in the faith for years tend to have the same reaction to situations that make up the “Perfect Storm”.
So back to the point of this topic. The raging storm is the gossip, lack of interest and direction, gossip, not loving each other, death and scandal. We sometimes as proclaimed believers gravitate to these types of ingredients and question God along the way!
All of these types of events or situations occur for the building of our faith. It’s not a storm to receive instant relief from its violent behavior but it is a storm that is placed perfectly in our lives to validate our faith in God. Do we stand or will we give in to the violence of the subject matter running to and fro just like Satan. His main purpose is to kill, steal, and destroy. What’s yours?
You can now understand how our reaction to gossip, death, and scandal can determine the ground Satan will gain during a storm.
Philippians 4:6-7 states…”6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
This addresses what to do in the midst of a raging storm (Perfect Storm). Without a doubt, God can calm the storm around us in any situation. But it is important to remember that we must also be in a calm and prayerful state in order to get through any storm.
So what am I saying? Storms come and go. We can’t be frightened by the violence of a storm. We must remain calm and prayerful so that the storm doesn’t actually destroy what’s in its path. This is where our faith grows and reacts to the situation. God is the same God you say you knew before the storm. It is only God that will give you peace in the midst of a raging storm.
Scandal is destined to occur in today’s church. You must remember that we have the ability to sin because we are in the flesh and don’t depend on God. It is not our job to be the spearhead of scandal in our churches. Shouldn’t we be concentrating on the spreading of the Gospel? This is one of those B.U.G.S. (Being Under The Grip Of Satan) that I am speaking of at the beginning of this topic.
When things seemly go haywire in our church environment as far as gossip and scandal, we shouldn’t run the other way and become the carrier of that gossip and scandal. Where or when will our faith kick in to remind us that Jesus will never leave us in the midst of a storm to drown. He promised to give us that peace we long for when faced with difficult situations.
We must as true believers trust God and know that He will take care of us just as He did in Mark 4. The violence of the storm was only temporary. Yet, we (believers), tend to believe that we are not supposed to experience any storms in our lives or churches. The key is that we how to handle the storm and do it correctly. First, never question God’s love and promise to protect you!! Secondly, know that any storm will eventually have to cease. How much damage it does depends on how long we allow the storm to linger in our midst. Where is your God given authority and power? Better yet, where is your faith?
Trying to get off the boat will not solve the presence of a storm. The need to retreat is the opposite of standing in the middle of the storm on God’s Word. This is a prime example of why our churches experience such a decline in attendance. Please note, when there is scandal, gossip, division within a congregation, many will run somewhere else instead of standing long enough to face the enemy. Running the other way tells you that your trust in God is suffering.
Now understand this !! I can’t say it enough! God can calm any situation (storm). But sometimes maybe the storm needs to keep raging so that our faith will increase in God. As mentioned before, you won’t grow and know how to fight the enemy if you always want God to bail you out. Sometimes God wants you to go through that storm to prepare you for the next one. Instead of calming the storm, God helps you by sending peace and calmness to your soul. Yes, I said it!!! Peace and calm in the midst of a raging storm.
I certainly call this the “Perfect Storm”!!!
The “Perfect Storm” in the church reminds me of present times when there seems to be many issues or situations that arise at the same time. The surprise is to watch the various reactions to this “Perfect Storm”. Will they see things as the attack of the enemy? Will they trust God through the storm? Will, they began complaining and point out the negative? Will they hear the violence in the storm and abandon the ship? Will they point fingers instead of praying?
These are very real questions that arise when faced with that “Perfect Storm”. A storm that has all the ingredients of total destruction and harm. The storm that brings with it fear and anxiety. Our choices as believers become crucial to getting through the storm and to safe land. But, as I said, many tend to make bad choices. They will turn to God and blame Him for the violence they see. Why is that? Just as the disciples questioned Jesus as to whether He cared about them in the midst of the storm, they immediately allowed their fear and loss of control to cause bad reactions.
Of course, Jesus cared. Of course, He loved them. Panic and fear will overshadow clear thinking and trust in God. They want relief from the storm. Satan uses this as his playground to deceive in us that which we know to be true. Another one of those B.U.G.S., wouldn’t you say??
If we think clearly enough about the storm Jesus calmed, you would see that the underlying purpose of the storm was to see if those on the boat would trust Him. Would they rely on what they already know? Or would they react just as they did in Mark 4?
This sounds a lot like present-day believers. We love the walk with God as long as there are no bumps in the road or storms in our path. Our walk with Christ was never meant to be smooth. Remember we enter into a war against the rulers, authorities, and powers of darkness when we follow Christ.
Ephesians 6:12 states, “12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”
We must trust God and His promises that He will get us through whatever storm may arise. Sure victory is much better than no victory at all. We must stay in the battle in order to enjoy the victory at the end.
A scattered congregation only shows that there is no togetherness or unified belief that God will prevail. What exactly does that say to the world? Think about it!!
Where is our faith? Do we pick and chose when we allow God to have control? Satan loves to scatter the sheep (believers). Every type of event that promotes confusion and discontent is part of small storms that lead to one giant and violent “Perfect Storm”.
Where is our faith? You decide before its too late.
Thank you for listening…
Prayerfully Submitted (An Unfinished Story)
Evang. Debbie Watkins
Disclaimer* These posts are no in any way posted based on expert input. My expertise comes from LIVING LIFE in the CHURCH. Please read with an open mind, attitude, and heart. Thank you.