Freedom from Panic

Freedom from Panic

Jesus and His disciples got into a boat, and He said to them, “Let us go over to the other side of the lake.”
—Luke 8:22

What are you concerned about today? Now answer this: Do you believe that if God wanted to, He could change that situation? If your answer is yes, then you understand that God is in control of your situation. And that’s what I want you to see today. Trusting in God’s power gives us freedom from panic over our present circumstances.

We see this principle at work in Luke 8:22–23: “Jesus and His disciples got into a boat, and He said to them, ‘Let us go over to the other side of the lake.’ So they launched out. But as they were sailing along He fell asleep; and a fierce gale of wind descended on the lake, and they began to be swamped and to be in danger.” Now this “lake” is the Sea of Galilee. It’s only thirteen miles long and eight miles wide. But even though it is a small lake, the cold air descending from the surrounding mountains often collides with the warm air trapped above the lake and produces a violent storm. Apparently that’s what was happening here. All of a sudden, out of nowhere, a fierce storm erupted.

Jesus was taking a nap at the time. Luke 8:24 says the disciples “came to Jesus and woke Him up, saying, ‘Master, Master, we are perishing!’ And He got up and rebuked the wind and the surging waves, and they stopped, and it became calm.” You almost sense a certain amount of disgust among the disciples as they tried to awaken Jesus. “Wake up, Jesus! What’s wrong with You that You don’t care about the storm we’re in? Why don’t You do something?” Jesus awakens, and He rebukes the wind and the waves. Then He says to them, “Where is your faith?” In other words, “Why didn’t you believe Me?” The Bible says the disciples “were fearful and amazed, saying to one another, ‘Who then is this, that He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey Him?’” (v. 25).

The key to understanding this story is verse 22. Remember what Jesus said to the disciples as they got into the boat? He said, “Let us go over to the other side.” Jesus had already promised they were going to make it to the other side. But the disciples didn’t believe that Jesus had the power to fulfill His promise. In the middle of the storm they began to panic and wondered, What is going to happen to us? They needn’t have worried. Jesus was aware of the storm because, as God, He had created the storm. The storm was a test to see if the disciples really understood who Jesus was. But they flunked the test. They didn’t trust in God’s power to do what He said He would do.

What storm are you in right now that you’re not trusting God for? Are you in a storm in your business, in your family, in your health? Maybe you’re panicking and saying, “God, where are You? Aren’t You aware of what’s happening to me? And if You are, why don’t You do something?” Understand that there is no circumstance in your life over which God is not aware and has the ability to stop if He wanted to. Every storm in your life comes for a purpose, and that is to strengthen your faith. God is aware of the storm you’re in right now because He created that storm for a purpose.

By the way, it’s important to understand that Satan has a purpose for the storm as well. The very same storm God wants to use to strengthen you, Satan wants to use to destroy you. That’s why James wrote, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:2–4). With every storm comes a promise. God says, “I will get you safely to the other side.”

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Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Developing a Trusting Heart” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2008.
Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.