Faith for the Journey
By Doug Harrell
What is your response when Jesus says, let us go over to the other side? Your first response is probably, what on earth are you talking about Doug! Well, I am talking about the parable of Jesus calming the seas when the storms of the sea were about to swamp the boat. Most folks focus on the all-powerful voice of the master of the seas when Jesus spoke, the winds obeyed, and that is powerful. To me, the underlying power is in the fact that He stated in the very beginning, let us go over to the other side of the sea!
When Jesus says to you, let us go over to the other side of life, do you lose faith in His ability to get you there? Do you fret and complain, give up on God, throw a tantrum, or do you trust and believe? We all face trials and tribulations almost daily, some serious and some kind of mundane, but we face them. Having faith to face the storms of life and knowing that all things work for good to those that love God and are called to His purpose, (Romans 8:28) is the essence of faith. When tossed upon the seas of life, have faith, the shore will appear shortly and the sun (Son) shall shine.
“And the same day, when the even was come, he saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side.” Mark 4:35 KJV
Don’t let the stress and fear cloud your mind but be resolute in your faith and belief, He is the Master of the Seas, He will calm the winds, and as He promised, you will arrive safely on the other side of the challenge!
“And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?” Mark 4:39-40 KJV
When you are facing life’s challenges, and you will face them. Most folks I know are in the middle of a challenge, coming out of one, or getting ready for the next one. The good news is that if you are in God’s hand and a child of His, the results can give glory. When you are entering a challenging season, if you look around you will always see others in a similar or worse situation. When Jesus told His disciples to get in the boat to go to the other side of the sea, many little boats went with them.
“And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships.” Mark 4:36 KJV
Stop and take time to look away from yourself and look around you. Can you minister to a hurting soul that does not know Christ that is in a place alongside of you? Maybe this is a Devine appointment to change the direction of another life that could be reached for the Lord. Jesus looked around and until the very last hour before His death on the cross, He was in the life-saving business.
“And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.” Luke 23:42-43 KJV
We cannot humanly understand all the things that go on around us, there is no way that we can see the future, but God can and does. What may seem to be a total disaster to us can be used to give glory to God in ways that are totally beyond our comprehension. When we are in the deepest depth of despair, God still has the reins. Maybe we, you and I, were born for such a time as this.
“For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father’s house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this? Then Esther bade them return Mordecai this answer, Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish.”
Esther 4:14-16 KJV
Maybe today is your day to shine, your day to touch a life for eternity, your day to be a shining example of what God put you on this earth to do. Maybe a God-ordained meeting with someone that will change you and another person, open your mind and heart to the possibilities rather than the problems you may be facing, all things do work for good to those that love the Lord and are called to His purpose (Romans 8:28), seek out the good and think on that, not the bad.
One day at a time, one life at a time and the willingness to be used as God sees fit is a critical part of being willing to serve. As many of you may know, and some may not, two years ago I was diagnosed with terminal leukemia and told I had months to live. Two weeks ago I went back to Duke to start my 24th round of chemo for three weeks, well past my projected life span. Now I cannot claim that this is a fun trip, but it is amazing how our God orchestrates things. Our first appointment was at 6:50 AM and we arrived at about 6:30 and set down to wait for the labs to open at 6:40 AM. We had just set down and another couple about our ages came in and set down beside us. In a few moments of conversation, we realized that they were in distress, their first trip after a serious diagnosis. To make a long story short, we were able to actually stand there in the lab and pray with them and share the gospel of Christ and His scriptures. Folks were looking at us kind of crazy but that was okay. Tears were streaming down all our faces. I say this to say that God has a purpose for each of us daily, I guess my purpose is to deal with chemo three weeks out of every five so I will be put in a spot to touch a life in some small way. Learning to rejoice in the trial is the greatest challenge, but the reward is so great. I tell you this not to bring glory to myself, but to make you aware of how God uses our situations to further His Kingdom if we are willing to be used. I have made the statement many times in the past two years that leukemia has been a life-changing blessing and I just pray that I am pliable enough to allow me to be molded to His purpose.
Now I am not suggesting that you pray for some critical illness to strike you, just that you be willing to accept His good and perfect will to equip you to better serve His purpose. We do not have to be pastor or Preacher, deacon or Sunday school teacher, just be yourself and be conscious of the hurting folks around you, be willing to unashamedly reach out and touch someone that is struggling in doubt and fear, be the voice of Jesus, be the Bible that they may not have read.
As a side note, for the first time in two years all my blood levels came back in the normal range, some very low normal but normal any way, maybe, just maybe, God is honoring and thanking me for being willing to serve, not that he needs me to accomplish anything because he is all-powerful and can do it all, I sure don’t know the answer to all those questions, and have no idea how long my days may be on this earth. I can only pray that He will say, well done good and faithful servant. Praying that I will have the courage to stand and be faithful in the face of adversity. I am telling you these things not to put me on a pedestal, but to hopefully give you faith that the Holy Spirit will give you the strength to say the right words and do the right things when you are presented with the opportunity, He promises us that he will.
When you are at your lowest point, search your mind, heart, and soul to find ways you can turn your challenges into an opportunity to serve, to make your challenge be a blessing to someone else, to lead another into the fold of everlasting life. Rather than having a pity party, throw a praise party
“And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
Romans 8:27-28 KJV
“Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 KJV
Don’t get angry with God over your challenges, trust His good and perfect will, search for a purpose to bring glory to Him through your struggles, ask the Holy Spirit to lead you and show you the way, the truth and the life that is promised, you and those around you will be blessed!
Who is in your boat? The waves and storms will come, sickness, death, disappointment, and tragedy are a part of life. The comforting thing for us Christians is that when we have Jesus in our boat, then the Master of the seas has control, all you have to do is to call on him, wake him up as the disciples did, all you need to do is trust and turn things over to Him. I know this sounds simplistic, and the amazing thing is that it really is, the challenging part is to have faith rather than fear. There is no way that both faith and fear can dwell together in your mind, one or the other will rule, you decide.
“And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?”
Mark 4:38-40 KJV
The song “You’ll Never Walk Alone” says it this way:
When you walk through a storm
Hold your chin up high
And don’t be afraid of the dark.
At the end of a storm
Is a golden sky
And the sweet, silver song of a lark.
Walk on, through the wind,
Walk on, through the rain,
Though your dreams be tossed and blown.
Walk on, walk on with hope in your heart,
And you’ll never walk alone,
You’ll never walk alone.
Don’t try to walk alone, none of us are strong enough, remember another song, I am weak but Thou art strong, precious Savior lead me on.
To God be the Glory!
Doug Harrell is a life-long resident of Mitchell County, Owner of Harrell Hill Farms, a member of Bear Creek Baptist Church and former publisher of Blue Ridge Christian News. You can find him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/doug.harrell.77
Find more Life Lessons at https://blueridgechristiannews.com/category/lifes-lessons/