Day 107: April 17, 2013

Today's Reading(s)

Matthew 14:24-33 Read Online
Mark 6:47-52 Read Online
John 6:16-21 Read Online

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Today's Reflection

Key Verse(s)

Immediately [Jesus] spoke with them and said, “Have courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

—Mark 6:50b

Peace for Every Storm
by Cliff Duren, Music & Worship Associate Minister, Brentwood Campus

When I was four years old, my parents bought a tent for my 6-year-old brother and me. Needless to say, we were ecstatic.

Shortly after that, we took a camping trip. For the first time, we weren’t going to sleep in the camper. We were going to rough it in the tent like real wilderness men. We arrived at the campground just before sundown, got our tent set up, and prepared for our first night of sleep as real campers.

Thirty years later, I still can’t remember a time when it’s rained harder than it did that night. And, of course, the thunder and lightning were much more real to me without the comfort of being inside a solid structure.

We tried our best to be brave, but soon found ourselves running for our lives to the nearby camper. To say we were afraid would be a huge understatement.

All three passages today involve storms—probably much greater and more horrifying than my tent crisis. But all three instances evoked fear in the hearts of those involved.

We often refer to the trials of this life as “storms.” Likewise, our trials often have the same effect on us that these storms had on the disciples. We’re afraid—even paralyzed—at times.

There’s a great theme of comfort in each of these passages and some great truths to which we can cling:

  1. Don’t be surprised to find Christ right there with you in your storm.
    In every passage, it seemed that Jesus was the last person the disciples expected to see during their crisis. Psalm 23:4 says: “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me.” It doesn’t say, “You are waiting for me once the clouds have parted,” but instead “WITH me.”
  2. Jesus is with you in every storm.
    The common theme of these passages isn’t the storm, but the fact that Jesus was faithful to rescue every time.
  3. There’s no need to be paralyzed by your storm.
    Once Peter recognized Christ (Matthew 14:28-29), he gained enough courage to step out of the boat and right into the storm. We so often focus on the fact that Peter almost drowned in the next verse instead of following his lead to live out your faith—EVEN in your storm.
  4. There is no greater source of comfort than Jesus.
    Take a look at our key verse one more time. When Jesus said, “It is I,” the “I” literally translates “I AM.” The One asking us to not be afraid is the One who laid the foundations of earth, who has no beginning or end, who’s faithful to His every word.
  5. Every storm has the ability to draw you closer to Christ and make you stronger in your faith.
    In the Matthew passage, the disciples drew this conclusion from their storm experience with Jesus: “You are certainly God’s Son!” (Matthew 14:33b). They knew the Savior of the world had rescued them.

In the midst of difficulties, rest in the fact that Jesus is with you—every time. Cling to His Word, pray, and spend every possible moment in fellowship with Him. You don’t have to be afraid. You can have courage. The I AM is with you!

Reflection Questions

  1. Reflect on some of the previous storms in your life. How has Christ comforted you during these times?
  2. What other verses/passages from God’s Word bring you comfort during your storms?
  3. Who has God placed in your life that needs to be reminded of His presence in their storm? Take time today to pray for them and encourage them in some way.

About the Author

Cliff Duren

Originally from Georgia, Cliff graduated from Shorter University with a music education degree and from Lee University with a masters degree in church music. Before he came to Brentwood Baptist in 2012, he served as the Staff Arranger at First Baptist Church in Woodstock, Georgia for six years. During that time, he was nominated for five Dove Awards. In addition to leading worship to Brentwood Baptist on Sundays, he also arranges, orchestrates, and produces music resources for various publishers and produces multiple artist recordings. Cliff is married to April and they have three children: Mac, Sydney, and Emma Kate.