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Peace in the Storm [Hurricane Irma]

September 9, 2017 Preacher: Pastor Mark Harris

Scripture: Mark 4:35–4:41

Devotion manuscript is available for you below.

Irma Devotion Announcement


Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!  

  • He is with you in this storm! Amen! 


By now, you're almost certainly aware that Hurricane Irma will soon be making landfall in Florida.  

  • This is a serious storm, and because we both trust our local authorities and love our community, Grace Lutheran Church has cancelled all of our worship services for this weekend.  
  • If you have decided to stay in the area, please make the necessary preparations for your home and family. And if you need help, please ask. 


Even though we won't be gathering together in our sanctuary today and tomorrow, we still want to share this brief devotion with you – to remind you that Jesus is with you in this storm. 

  • The theme and sermon I had originally planned to share simply don’t fit our context right now, so I want to share some reflections from one of my devotions this week. 
  • It's based on a story of Jesus that we can read in Mark, chapter 4. 
  • Jesus had been teaching near the shores of a lake, telling several parables to a large crowd that had gathered around Him. 
  • Let me read the story to you: 


Mark 4:35-41 

35 That day when evening came, [Jesus] said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side [of the lake].” 36 Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” 

39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Peace! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. 

40 He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” 

41 They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” 


In all likelihood, you know and believe that God loves you.  

  • You know and believe that God gives you peace through Jesus. 
  • But in a time like this, with a Hurricane seemingly on a crash-course with your life, it can be easy to forget what you know and what you believe. 
  • Peace? How can I have peace in my heart at a time like this?!  
  • Peace? How about apprehension, anxiety, or restlessness? 
  • Those feelings seem more at home in me right now with this colossal hurricane on the way. 


Jesus' disciples had witnessed what Jesus could do.  

  • They saw him heal people, cast out demons, and attract huge crowds. 
  • They heard him speak words of forgiveness, stand up to the Pharisees, and tell stories that could change a person's entire worldview. 


But in that moment of danger on their boat... they seemed to have so easily forgotten who Jesus was and what He could do. 

  • A fierce storm had come upon them: the wind roared and waves began to swamp their boat. 
  • If you've ever been out on the water during a time like that, you know how chaotic and terrifying it can be. 
  • Where was Jesus when His disciples needed Him? 
  • Why hadn't Jesus already come to their rescue? 
  • From the story, we know exactly where Jesus was... 
  • After a long day of ministry, Jesus was sound asleep with His head on a pillow at the back of the boat. 


Since the tossing waves hadn't woken Him up, the disciples did that themselves. 

  • I can almost picture them shaking his shoulder almost as much as their own voices were shaking: "Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” 
  • We are going to die, and as far as we can tell that doesn’t bother you at all! 


When Jesus woke up, His first conversation wasn’t with the people. 

  • He spoke to the wind and to the sea: “Peace! Be still!” 
  • His words have unparalleled power. The wind stopped; the waves calmed. 
  • Jesus did care. Jesus had been there with His disciples on that storm-tossed boat. 
  • And even when they lost sight of who He was and what He was capable of doing,  
  • Jesus was still Lord, and He still acted to save His people 


With this hurricane on the way, we may find ourselves asking, "Where are you now Jesus? Do you care what happens to us?" 

  • The answer to those questions is the same for us as it was for the original disciples. 
  • Jesus is with us. Jesus does care. 
  • Even when we lose sight of who Jesus is and what He is capable of doing... 
  • Jesus is still Lord, and He is still actively working to save His people. 


The disciples frantically searched for Jesus on that boat, and we are also searching for Him right now. 

  • We aren't dashing between the bow and the stern; we call out to Him in prayer. 
  • Jesus hears our prayers for protection and for peace. 
  • Jesus is present with you right now. He will be with you through this storm. 
  • Jesus is Lord over all creation, and He is in command of the wind and the waves that are swirling right now off the coast of our state. 


Even while a disaster is unfolding, we find peace in Jesus. 

  • In that Bible story, the storm happened... water rushed into the boat... people were afraid. 
  • Jesus didn’t undo the storm. He didn’t choose to redirect its course before the disciples felt its effects.  
  • But we don't require results like that to have peace.  
  • The peace Jesus gives doesn’t depend on any circumstances or the right set of events. 


In John 14:27 Jesus said "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. 

  • Jesus gives us a peace that is different from the peace anything else in this world might offer.  
  • Because of what Jesus has done for us through the cross and the empty tomb, we can find peace in knowing that we are forgiven. 
  • We can find peace in knowing that Jesus has power over sin and death. He has power over all things. 
  • We can find peace in knowing that He is present with us – right here, right now – wherever you may be watching this video. He is present with you no matter what is happening outside your window. 

May that peace of God, which transcends all human understanding, guard your heart and you mind in Christ Jesus in the midst of this storm! Amen!