When the storm comes, God makes three promises


Storms in life come and go, such as the storm that came through in San Diego in the third week of January 2024. The winter storm left devastating effects around the South Bay and beyond. The historic deluge damaged properties. Many lost their personal businesses and houses. Sadly, some people died.   

When the storm comes, God promises, His Presence, His Peace, and His Peace. God is the only One who can truly fulfill any promise that He makes.

The gospel of Mark tells a story when Jesus calms the storm. Here’s the gospel narrative:

35 As evening came, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s cross to the other side of the lake.” 36 So they took Jesus in the boat and started out, leaving the crowds behind (although other boats followed). 37 But soon, a fierce storm came up. High waves were breaking into the boat, and it began to fill with water. 38 Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion. The disciples woke him up, shouting, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown?” 39 When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Silence! Be still!” Suddenly, the wind stopped, and there was a great calm. 40 Then he asked them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?” 41 The disciples were absolutely terrified. “Who is this man?” they asked each other. “Even the wind and waves obey him!”

It was around 30 AD when Jesus Christ decided to take the “red eye boat ride” from the west side to the east side of the Sea of Galilee. Jesus told his disciples, “Let’s cross to the other side of the lake.” During the journey, “a fierce storm came up. High waves were breaking into the boat, and it began to fill with water.” Peter’s fishing boat was not strong enough to withstand the onslaught of the powerful storm.  Many other boats that followed Peter’s boat were in distress, too. There was no 911 or Coast Guard to call for help from the distraught disciples. So, the disciples send an emergency message, an “SOS” (Save Our Souls) per se, by shouting, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown?”

Most of the time, when experiencing difficulties in life’s journey, we call on God for help. Worst yet, sometimes we blame God when bad things happen to us. For instance, some people complained about the unusual flood during the recent storm in Southern California. Many of their valuables were lost forever. Some tried to claim from their insurance companies. Unfortunately, they were told the insurance companies did not cover this type of claim because it was “The Acts of God!” It is human nature to blame God.  This made people very unhappy.      

The disciples accuse Jesus of not caring at all! “Teacher, don’t you care that we’ll drown?” Does Jesus really care when we go through extreme hardships? Of course He does! The wind and the waves did not wake up Jesus from His sleep. The shouting and serious accusations from His disciples did!

Upon hearing the disciples’ urgent plea and seeing the violent storm, Jesus said, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. In an instant, the wind and waves stopped. “Suddenly, the wind stopped, and there was a great calm.”

We can learn three invaluable lessons when the storm comes in our life’s journey.

First, when the storm comes, God promises His Presence. When troubles come, we can always go to God for help. He will never abandon nor forsake us. He is always near and will answer our prayers. God is omnipresent. God cares.

One time in the life of Jacob (later renamed “Israel”), he needed assurance of the presence of God. Jacob was scared. So, the LORD told him, “Be strong and courageous; do not be afraid or tremble in dread before them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not fail you or abandon you.” Deu 31:6 AMP.

King David was reassured by God when he needed to feel His presence. David testified, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.”  Psalm 23:4 NKJV.

There was a crucial time when the prophet Isaiah needed the touch of God. God told him, ‘Do not fear [anything], for I am with you; Do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; be assured I will help you; I will certainly take hold of you with My righteous right hand [a hand of justice, of power, of victory, of salvation].’ Isaiah 41:10 AMP.  

Likewise, all our veterans and their families need a fresh reminder from God and the power of His presence. When troubles come, let us never forget that God will always be with us every moment of our life.

This verse in Isaiah 41:10 gives us two commands to obey: (1) Do not fear! (2) Do not be dismayed!

And two reasons to obey: (1) For I am with you! (2) For I am your God

We also see three promises God will keep: (1) I will strengthen you. (2) I will help you. (3) I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Secondly, when the storm comes, God promises not only His Presence but His Protection too.

When David was running away from King Saul, he needed the protection of God. David sang a song about God’s protection.

2 He sang: “The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; 3 my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety. He is my refuge, my savior, the one who saves me from violence. 4 I called on the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and he saved me from my enemies. 5 “The waves of death overwhelmed me; floods of destruction swept over me. 6 The grave[a] wrapped its ropes around me; death laid a trap in my path. 7 But in my distress, I cried out to the Lord; yes, I cried to my God for help. He heard me from his sanctuary; my cry reached his ears. 2 Samuel 22:2-7 New Living Translation.

Likewise, the psalmist cried out to God for His protection: “God is our refuge and strength,

always ready to help in times of trouble.” Ps 46:1 NLT. Semper Paratus, which means “always ready,” is the U.S. Coast Guard motto. God is Always Ready to help anybody, anytime and anywhere.  

The Apostle Paul reminded the young pastor Timothy of the power of God’s protection in our lives.  “Yes, and the Lord will deliver me from every evil attack and will bring me safely into his heavenly Kingdom. All glory to God forever and ever! Amen.” 2 Timothy 4:18 NLT.

Thirdly, when the storm comes, God promises His Presence, His Protection, and most of all His Peace!

Around 680-670 BCE, Isaiah recorded an encouraging message about peace from God,

3 “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! 4 Trust in the Lord always, for the Lord God is the eternal Rock.” Isaiah 26:3-4 NLT

During one of the teachable moments the disciples needed to hear, Jesus reassured them of His gift of peace. “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. John 14:27 NLT

Peace with God is one of Paul's most encouraging Bible messages while he was in prison in Rome. “In the spring of A.D. 60, Paul, apostle and prisoner of Jesus Christ, entered Rome (Acts 28:16) and was welcomed by the Christian community there.”  Later, Paul wrote them, “Therefore since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.” Romans 5:1 NLT

God wants us to live in peace among our neighbors near and far. Nevertheless, we live in a troubled world. We can see this daily in our local community, county, Country, and Countries around the globe. According to one recent report, “As of 22 January, over 26,000 people (25,105 Palestinian and 1,410 Israeli have been killed in the Israel–Hamas war, including 83 journalists (76 Palestinian, 4 Israeli and 3 Lebanese) and over 136 UNRWA aid workers. As people of faith, we are encouraged to pray for peace. The Judeo-Christian Scripture decrees, “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem” Psalm 122:6a NKJV.

God wants us as catalysts of peacemaking. We can only do this if we truly experience peace with God (vertical relationship). Then, the true peace experience with our neighbors (horizontal relationship) and among Nations around the world will rationally follow. Shalom!