“And when he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him. And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep. And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish. And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.” – Matthew 8:23-26
“And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away. And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up unto a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone. But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary. And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. But straightway Jesus spoke unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. And Peter answered him and said, Lord, If it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased. Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.” – Matthew 14:22-33
I want to use these two incidents here in the scripture. There is something very significant about both of them. I don’t know whether or not anybody has ever looked at it this way, but these two passages of scripture speak to us as Christians. If you have not been in a storm, you may be headed for a storm. If you’re not headed for a storm, you may have just come out of a storm. But you rest assured, this Christian life is full of storms. No matter what you do or where you may be, some storms are going to come.
When I was looking at the news some time back and saw Storm Marcos that went up the Western Coast, I had just told my wife, you know there has not been a storm, a bad storm, in Florida in quite a while. I said, maybe it’s about time for a storm in Florida. So if your life seems to have been smooth sailing, there may just be a storm headed your way. And you just better get yourself prepared to recognize that when the storm comes, if you’re a child of God, Jesus will be there with you.
JESUS IS THERE
Jesus was there, in the boat, with the disciples, when they found themselves in the storm. Therefore no harm could come to them because He was there with them. Some time ago, I had someone to ask me, “Have you ever tried to sink a basketball?” I said, “You can’t sink a basketball. Every time you push it down it rises back up.” Jesus is the same way. You can’t sink Jesus. His disciples were there and they said, “Lord, save us. We perish.” That’s what they said with Jesus on board. I notice here something else — Jesus is God. Turn in your Bible to Psalm 121 and we will see something here in relationship to this incident. Jesus is God, and I believe with all of my heart that the Bible says that He is God because God calls Him God. He says, “Thy throne O God.” God calls Him God and so He is God. We notice here in Psalm 121 the Bible says: “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth. He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber. Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.”
GOD DOES NOT SLEEP
Back in the text, the Bible says they awakened Him. But, the fact of the matter is, He was not asleep because God does not sleep. The man Jesus may have been asleep, but God was not asleep. He knew that the waves were disturbing the ship. He was not asleep. Therefore He allowed them to go through this testing to see where their faith was. And when He arose He said, “Why are ye fearful?”
When trials come in our lives, when trouble comes in our lives, when problems come in our lives, why do we fear? If Jesus is there with us, if Jesus says, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee,” why do we fear? Why do we worry? Jesus was there in the boat with them and He was not asleep because He is God. The Word of God says, “He never slumbers, neither does He sleep.” So the testing was to see whether or not they were believing Jesus to be the Son of God. These disciples said that He was the Christ, the Son of the living God. Here was a chance to prove they believed what they had been saying. So many times we don’t believe what we say. We say that He is all-sufficient. We say He can supply all our needs. We say that He is everything that we need, but yet and still we don’t go to Him for our needs.
GOD KNOWS EVERYTHING
In the second incident here in Matthew 14, Jesus told them to go to the other side. He said, “Get in the boat. We’re going to the other side.” Why could they not believe Him when He said we are going to the other side? He told them to go to the other side. If He’s God, if He built everything, if He knows everything, why couldn’t these disciples just believe that they all were going to the other side?
It says in chapter 14:22: “And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side.” No matter what storm might have come, no matter what storm comes into your life, it will still be well with your soul if you will just trust Jesus. If you’ll just take Him at His Word and believe what He says, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” If you’ll just stand on the promises of God. He says, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” So here He says, go on to the other side. They got in and went. But the ship was now in the midst of the sea. You may be in the middle of your storm. It makes no difference how bad your storm may be. It makes no difference how rough it may seem; the Bible states infallibly that He will never leave you nor forsake you.
The Bible says that the ship was tossed about with waves and it says that at the fourth watch Jesus came. You know I truly believe that Jesus went up on the mountain to see what was going on. He knew the waves were contrary. He knows what we are going through. The Bible says, “There hath no temptation taken you, but such as is common to man; but God is faithful.” It didn’t say we are faithful. It says God is faithful. “He will not allow you to be tempted above that you are able but will with the temptation make a way for you to escape.”
GOD WILL DELIVER YOU
Why can’t we just trust the Lord? Why can’t we just believe God? Why don’t we just take Him at His Word? I know it’s easy to believe in things that you can see. But you know if you just look through your spiritual eyes you can see Jesus standing there saying, “I’ll never leave you and I’ll never forsake you.” As the Bible says, He came walking on the sea. “And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. But straightway Jesus spoke unto them, saying, Be of good cheer, it is I.” You see, He is the great I AM. I am whatever you need. Whenever you need it – I am. I am still I AM. “It is I; be not afraid. And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come…” You know sometimes we condemn Peter because he took his eyes off Jesus and began to sink. But listen, before you condemn him, let me remind you that Peter did walk on the water. You don’t know of anybody else that walked on the water other than Jesus, do you? Peter wa
lked on the water! And not only that, listen at this, have you ever thought about it — How did Peter get back on the boat? Did Jesus carry him back to the boat, or did Peter walk on the water back to the boat?
Have you ever thought about that? You think about that. He was walking on the water to go to Jesus and then he began to sink. He said, Lord save me! The Bible says that Jesus stretched forth His hand. And the Bible says He said unto him, “O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?”
That’s what He’s saying to us with our problems. Why do we doubt that God is able to make it come out right? You know, I really believe that so many of us sit on the throne of our lives trying to dictate our lives and trying to control our lives that so many times, we mess it up. We get it all bundled up and all tangled up and all tied up, then who do we go to? Jesus. Why don’t we just go to Him before we get it all tangled up? Why don’t we just trust Him before we get it all bogged down? Why don’t we just put our faith and trust in Him in the first place? The Bible says if he “shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith” (Mark 11:23). I think that verse sort of scares some of us because a lot of times the Charismatics use that verse. But if you see it in your Bible, what’s wrong with your using it? It has nothing to do with whether you’re Charismatic or not. But if you’re reading it out of the Bible why are you afraid to use those verses? It is the Word of God! The Word of God is good for Baptists as well as anyone else. Why are we afraid to use those verses in Mark 11:22: “And Jesus answering saith unto him, have faith in God”? Have faith in God! Why is it that we say we believe in the God that made the universe out of nothing and we can’t trust Him to handle our little problems?
Is there anything too hard for God? Is there any problem too great for God? Is there any husband or any wife too big for God? Why is it that we doubt that God can handle our situation? You may be saying, “Preacher, you just don’t know my situation.”
I sure don’t. And to tell you the truth, I’m not trying to find out your situation either. I have enough problems trying to keep up with my own situation. I just take my own and give it to the Lord. Because you see, I know I can’t handle mine. But if you don’t have enough brain matter up there to know that you can’t handle yours, you can rest assured I’m not going to tackle it. If you don’t believe the same Book that I believe, then I can’t help you anyhow. And the Book says, “Have faith in God.” The Book says, “Without faith it is impossible to please God; he that cometh to God must believe that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” If you don’t believe the same Book that I believe, you got a problem anyway. Just Believe God!
You know, I used to say a long time ago, when I first started out, what I would do with God — I said I would just get out on a limb. I’ll just get up the tree and get out on a limb. You say, well I can do that. Maybe you can, but what I would do is I would take a saw and saw the limb off behind me. Can you do that? You say, later honey. No, I am not going to do that. Listen, if God says He’s not going to leave me and He’s not going to forsake me, He will be there to catch me because I believe He will. I believe that He is there and He will not leave me. He will not forsake me so I’m going to put my faith and my trust in Him. He says He’s going to bring me through. I say, God, here I come. And God says, Look at him.
He’s just so simple. I have to catch him because he’s so simple. If you know of any other way, listen, you keep it to yourself. I don’t want to know it. I just want to keep on trusting God. I just want to keep on believing God. Just believe that God will do it. I could tell you some things that happened, just trusting God, but you wouldn’t believe it anyhow. Even if I told you, you wouldn’t believe it. But I’m going to tell you one anyway.
I was in North Carolina at a Bible conference and my car ran hot. It made a knocking sound and it ran hot. I didn’t know what happened. I went to the service station and filled it up with water. It took an awful long time to fill up with water. It was a little six-cylinder engine. I wondered why in the world is this thing taking so much water. I looked under there and I didn’t see any water anywhere. Where in the world is that water going? I filled it up with water and finally the water came out the radiator. A young man that I led to the Lord, named Grady, and I, took off, going back to Virginia. I said to the people, if God allows me to leave from up here, He’ll get me back. I said, if He allows me to leave He’s going to surely get me back because this is where He wants me to be. So there we were on our way back and I filled it up with water and we started back. We went about 50 miles and it started running hot again. So I stopped and put some more water in it and it just took a lot of water. I wondered why is this thing taking so much water? We just kept on going. We would go about 50 to 60 miles and it would run hot and I would put some more water in it.
It took a very long time to fill up with water again. We got on up to Virginia and the next morning I got up and we started out and that thing ran real hot. I mean it ran awful hot. It took a long time to fill up that time because we were filling it with a little water jug. We finally got it cooled down and we went on to where I was going to preach that morning. We went there and then we started back. That night I couldn’t use it to go to church so I borrowed another fellow’s car to go to church. That night we started back home and we got half way home with no filling station in sight. I think we were about four miles from a filling station. The thing ran hot and it stopped. I mean it just stopped on us. I said, “Brother Grady, I believe the filling station is about a mile down the road. Let’s walk down and get the water.” We started down the road to get some water and then I realized where we were. I said, “Brother Grady, we’re about four miles from the filling station. Let’s go back.” We went back and I bowed my head on the steering wheel and prayed, “Lord we have all our stuff in the car. Please let me get this car home. Let me get it off the road.” And I turned the key and it cranked up.
We made it to the filling station and they were closed, so I begged them to let me fill it up with water. I filled it up and went home. The next day I figured I had blown a head gasket. I pulled the hood up and I looked down in the motor and in the side of the wall of the block was a hole about as big as your fist. I was filling the whole block up with water. Every time I filled it up I filled the whole block — the alternator and the spark plugs — everything. Now if you’re a mechanic, you tell me how that car ran from Winston-Salem, North Carolina to Crawford, Virginia. I know you don’t believe that. But that is the gospel truth. The Bible says, “For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith” (Mark 11:23). The thing that God asks is that we must just get busy believing God. We need to just stop talking about we believe God and just believe God!
GOD IS ABLE
God is able to do whatever He says He will do. The Bible says His eyes go to and fro over the earth. He is looking for somebody that He can show Himself mighty to and through. He’s looking for somebody that He can show His power through. He says He’s the same God yesterday, today and forever. He does not change. God is not a changing God. He will not change. God doesn’t change. And if He did it in the yesteryear, He can do it now. He can still perform. Some of you may not believe in miracles. I do. You say, hold on now, preacher. You believe in laying on of hands and so on? I believe in a DIVINE HEALER. But I don’t believe in divine healers as we see today on television. If there was such, why are there so many people in the hospital now? Listen, I believe that God heals. I believe that God healed my wife. Why is it that she just had gall bladder operation and she is up here singing already? The retina tore in my eye and the doctor told me, “You need to get in the hospital right now.” I said, “I can’t go.” He said, “You’re going to lose your eye, man. You have to go right now. I’ll call and make a reservation right now.” I said, “Doc, I can’t go. My brother is coming up to do a revival, my mother is coming with him, God’s going to do something and I want to be there to see it.” He said, ” You aren’t going to see anything. You’re going to lose your eye if you don’t go to the hospital.” I said, “Wait a minute. Did you say the retina tore in one eye or both eyes?” He said, “One eye.” “Well, God gave me two eyes. If I lose one eye I can still see out of the other one.” I went to the whole revival. My mother told those people, “You all make that preacher go to the hospital.” I said, “I’m not going to any hospital. The doctor even said there’s no guarantee we can save the eye.” I said, “Listen Doc, God gave me two eyes and if I lose one I’m going to still serve God with the other one.” I said, “Furthermore, if I lose both, I’ll learn to read Braille and still serve God.”
Later, God gave me my eyesight back. Sometimes I use my glasses so I can make sure I don’t do anything wrong. But I can see very well. Many times I don’t preach with my glasses because God gave me my eyesight back. Not only did God give me my eyesight back, when I surrendered myself totally to God, I also had heart trouble and I had ulcers and God healed me completely. I went home and put my ulcer medicine and my heart medicine down the toilet. I don’t take any more ulcer medicine. I haven’t taken any heart medicine from that day to this one. My heartbeat was 40 to 45 beats per minute and the doctor said they didn’t know why I hadn’t had a stroke. He healed me completely and the Bible says what God does He does it forever and nothing can be added to it nor taken away. I have been running for the Lord. I have been on the battlefield for my Lord. If God can heal me and call me into the ministry, why can’t I just believe God? Why can’t I just trust God for whatever I need?
Sometimes, the members at Grace Baptist Church used to look at my car, and they would say they wouldn’t cross the street in that thing. My wife said, “Aren’t you so glad we have a Pontiac out there now that just loves the highway? All you have to do is just put it on the highway and it just goes. It just takes control.” She said, “Aren’t you so glad you don’t have to go out there and build yourself a car before you get on the highway?” She is used to seeing me have to build a car before I go anywhere. I would normally go out there and get some parts and put them together. All I would have to do is point that thing in the direction of the wind and we would be gone. I did not test it out around town. I immediately took it out on I-95 because my faith is in God. I believe God will allow me to leave out of Madison, Virginia and put me out there on I-95. He’s going to get me down where I need to go and He’s going to get me back home. I just believe that.
In closing, I remember once, my lights went out while I was driving in North Carolina. My alternator had gone out again. There I was. I said, “I don’t have an alternator, Lord, but I want to get back.” After that a Greyhound bus came by just flying. I said there’s my ticket to Fredricksburg, Virginia. I got right behind that big bus and laid right on the bumper of that bus and it carried me right back to Virginia. I just believe God. You say, weren’t you afraid of the highway patrol? No. Because the highway patrol should have been concerned about the bus as fast as it was going. They didn’t need to be concerned about me. Have faith in God! And believe that God is able.
What about you? If you’re not in a storm, you’re headed for a storm. If you’re not headed for a storm, you just came out of a storm. You rest assured that Christianity has a lot of storms. But you rest assured also Jesus says, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”
Rev. Andrew Hamilton is an evangelist and church planter. He has founded several churches in the Southeast. He is presently the founding pastor of the Berean Baptist Church in Thomasville, Georgia.