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This is my Jesus story which I hope will help you as you go through the storms of life.

The scripture I would like to reference today is Luke 8 vs 22 to 25.

We are going to look at events before, during and after the storm in the disciple’s lives.

I would then like to read you my Jesus story and handle any questions and comments

Luke 8 vs 22: One day Jesus said to his disciples, let’s go over to the other side of the lake. So they got into the boat and set out. As they sailed, Jesus fell asleep. A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger. The disciples went and woke him, saying, Master, Master, we’re going to drown!”…..

The setting:
* Jesus and the disciples were in a boat in the middle of the lake
* A squall (storm – hurricane) came
* The disciples panicked
* Jesus was in the boat sleeping
* They woke Jesus up and He calmed the storm

Let’s take a closer look at the lives of the disciples in the chapters leading up to this scenario, starting in chapter 5 of Luke:

Before the storm:
* They disciples spent a lot of time with Jesus
* They saw sick people being healed, raising of the dead
* They learnt tolerance of people with different back grounds e.g. Levi the tax collector
* Witnessed defiance of cultural norms e.g. the woman with the alabaster jar of perfume

During storm:
* They were in a boat in the middle of the lake – means the disciples only had 3 choices – stay in the boat, go into the water or relax because Jesus was on board
* There was a storm – something beyond the disciples’ control
* Jesus was sleeping – Dictionary definition: “a natural condition of rest with unconsciousness and relaxation of muscles”
* Ask: where the disciples in a “a natural condition of rest with unconsciousness and relaxation of muscles” – they were wide awake and very worried

After the storm:
Jesus asked in vs 25 “Where is your faith?” “In fear and amazement they asked one another, ‘Who is this? He commands even the winds and water, and they obey him.’”

The question we are here to ponder today is: Why is it that some people trust and others don’t in the midst of a storm?

We have all been through one storm or another. Some storms last a short time whilst others last years. I feel that my personal storm lasted 4 years. It started in:
2008 –Our fist child, left home for university in SA. I remember going through a time of great anger at our government for messing up things in our country so much that our kids had to go to foreign lands for tertiary education.

2009 – The Lord broke off an 8 year business partnership where I was unevenly yoked (The reason I know he did it was because for at least 2 years I knew I had to end it but just could not and it was only when I wept before the Lord and asked him to end it did it end) – My husband’s job came to an end.

2010:
Feb: Our second child, left home for university in SA
April: My husband was killed whilst out riding his bicycle at 5:30 am
May: A very good friend, was killed whilst riding his motorbike
Aug: My dad left for UK– sold our family car, gave away my pet bird, gave away my husbands new puppy

2011:
Jan: Sold our family home of 15 years
March: My Brother was killed in Oz in a car accident in. He was the innocent party – May: A friend died of heart attack and on the same day a very dear Aunt died after a very short illness. I had just spent 10 days with her.
June: Our daughter friend) since nursery school died in shortly after being diagnosed with a brain tumour – she was 19 years old.

Then the storm ended.

I believe, purely based on my own personal experience, the reason I was able to not only survive the storm but come through stronger was:
1. For years I had been building relationship with the Lord – I believe this act of building relationship moves one from sensory knowledge which is from the head into a realm of revelation knowledge which is from the spirit. This results in trust – because “I knew Him”

2. I developed a habit of acknowledging signs and wonders – these are there all the time – remember the signs and wonders the disciples saw – healings, people being raised from the dead, cultural divides being defied.

The problem then and now is that we are just not in the habit of acknowledging them and that they are from the Lord – many things that happened and happen in our lives I know are straight from the Lord. In our particular lives .These are some of the earthly wonders that happened in our lives:

* 2007 – Went to UK to visit family – a dream come true

* 2008 – Went to Vic Falls – Last family holiday in Zim before both kids left home

* 2009 – Started new business – I founded two organisations, a non-profit called BOAZ and a for-profit one called JAKIN. Both these organisations have their own WOW Jesus story.

* 2009 – Whilst earlier I said my husbands job came to an end, for financial reasons this was a huge storm but because of loosing his job we were able to go on our planned holiday to Mozambique for the full 3 weeks and had the best family holiday ever in. We were able to take our daughter to Rhodes and stay in SA for 4 weeks visiting family we had not seen in years. We were also able to bring my 88 year old mother-in-law back to Zim with us for 6 weeks. In that time my husband was able to spend quality time with his mom. In hindsight, I can only say “but God” I am convinced that the Lord gave my husband quality time with family and friends to really say goodbye before his home going. This was truly amazing,

* October 2010 – Bought a new car

* January 2011 – Bought a new house

The reason I am sharing about all these new things is that you may or may not know that the 3 biggest stresses are Death, Divorce = meaning an unnatural separation and moving house. Whilst for many new things are a time of rejoicing, my new things were a result of many endings – I found it very difficult to rejoice. In fact, when I bought the car, I would not drive it and would not bring it home; my sister drove it to her house and parked it in her garage until such time I ready. My struggle then was that I felt that the only reason I was able to afford a new car was because of My husband’s death! I would have far rather had my husband back than all the new things.

 

Now these were the earthly things which were happening, there were also spiritual things taking place at the same time.

Let’s first look at what was happening in the disciple’s lives from a spiritual angle.
Luke reports, angel appearance to Zachariah regarding John’s birth – to Mary regarding Jesus’ birth. Revival broke out amongst the Jews, water baptism started and later we see Jesus being baptised in the Holy Spirit …. And so on.

* Aug 2007 – Whilst in the UK my sister gave me a book called “If you want to walk on water, you’ve got to get out of the boat” by John Ortberg. In this book there is a story about a new Christian who was challenged by his pastor to pray every day for 6 months and expect God to do great things. He did and some of the results were country changing. He then challenges us to do the same. I had a number of breakthroughs which I needed so I rose to the challenge and prayed every day for six months –I believe that I benefited hugely from this exercise and my faith grew enormously.

* Dec 2009 –Mozambique – the best family holiday ever. A friend brought the book: The power of a praying parent for adult children by Stormie Omartian every afternoon we would sit on the beach and read a chapter together and pray for our children. When I came back home I got a copy and would pray one of the prayers a day for our children and my husband. Once again, my faith grew.

* Another area I grew was in believing the fact that our days are numbered and that the Lord is sovereign.

The morning my husband was killed the pray on that day was for protection for him and the kids no matter if they were in a car, which our son does a lot of being a IT consultant is travels around in the Eastern Cape, on a bicycle which My husband was, walking, which our daughter did a lot of in Grahamstown as everyone walks everywhere.

I remember distinctly saying just after he was killed – our days are numbered and the Lord is sovereign and I truly believed it. We never did find out who or what killed him, but my spirit was and still is at peace in that if the Lord wanted me/us to know he would have revealed it. This peace is the type that surpasses understanding. I don’t understand it and it certainly is not something I conjure up.

3. I have invested in relationships with people of different backgrounds, both believers and non-believers. During the stormy years of my life, people from both these groups were sent to minister to us in our moments of need.

Some examples:
* When we took our daughter down to Rhodes – Our son came with – My cousin organised 2 interviews for our son who had just finished studying – one we were too late for and the second, the man created a position for Our son –2 weeks later this good Samaritan was killed whilst out jogging

* The morning my husband was killed at approximately 5:45am; a woman was the first to arrive on the scene. He had not taken any form of id with him – this lady later told me that he died 10 min after her arrival and that she would not allow the police to take his body away until someone had identified him. 8:45am later she agreed, minutes before I arrived at the accident sight. – In the early days of our lives together, I could set my watch to my husband’s time keeping. He would arrive home 4:30pm on the dot, the only times he was late, were when he was helping some damsel in distress. I believe that all those years of investing in relationships, none discriminately paid back, this woman was there for him in his biggest moment of need.

* The sale and purchase of our home was another time when I saw the Lord move heaven and earth. You have to know that no human being was capable of mobilising so many people of so many backgrounds to make it happen. When I look back, I see that for many years the Lord was busy linking me to specific people whom he intended to use for this particular purpose. Everyone that comes to visit declares in wonder how perfect it is for me and that they see the hand of the Lord in it all

4. Remember that Jesus was sleeping during the storm? I have allowed that same “sleep”/peace to be the umpire of my troubled soul during the storms in my life – and believe you me; my soul was troubled for many months and still is at times and will continue to experience times of trouble for as long as I am here on this earth.

Trusting the Lord and choosing to love Him during difficult times is not any easy thing to do because He uses the things that seem to be closest to us to bring us to the fullness of this love. (Take a look at Abraham and Isaac)

The ability to trust needs to be based on who we believe God is and not on what he does or gives. Tragically, for most of us the only trust we know is the one that results in gaining something earthly or receiving healing or having problems solved. Few know about the trust that is born out of love for Him. Trust born out of love for Him is the one that carries us through the storm.

Let’s go back to our passage in Luke 8 but we are going to pick up the story from vs 24b
“He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. Where is your faith?” he asked his disciples.

In fear and amazement they asked one another, “Who is this?

I looked up the synonyms for these words and found that other words for fear: terror, dread, horror, fright, panic, anxiety, worry, and amazement: astonishment, wonder, admiration, shock, surprise.

I believe that during the storms in our lives we will have moments of fear and amazement. What determines which state we continue in is the foundation of our trust? If our trust is based on earthly gain, it is likely that fear will continue. However, if our trust is born out of love for Him we can only but stand in awe at how he came through for us in our storm.

Although the odds have gone against me, I feel secure in victory just knowing that I made the right choice to trust the Father. Does this mean that I don’t still struggle with “empty nest” syndrome or grieve for my husband, brother, aunt or my father who left the country and whom I may never see again this side of heaven? Of course I do. Trusting for me does not mean that we become superhuman; it just means that His strength is made perfect in my weakness.

2012 – At this point in my life, I believe the Lord is saying to me:
Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away. For, behold, the winter is past; the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land….. Arise, my love, my
fair one, and come away. So I went with him”. Song of Songs 2 vs 10 -14

I would encourage you to spend time in the word really getting to know him first hand. Don’t settle for second hand knowledge – someone else’s love of the Lord will only result in them being used to minister to you in your storm but will never give you the peace that passes understanding which is what you need when you have just been through a mother of a storm.

Today, I encourage you to desire to know Him and the Holy Spirit will only be too delighted to teach you.

In closing:
We all face three crises.
The first is when we realise that we cannot save ourselves.
The second is when we realise that we cannot live this Christian life and be effective whilst still holding onto the wheel.
The third is our coming union with the Christ in us. Once we know that Christ is in us, our relationship changes to a love affair with the person in us who is our life, our love and our hope.