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You might remember the phrase from Forrest Gump - that famous

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					                                   Luke 8:22-25
                               Jesus calms the storm

So, yesterday evening was going all very well. I’d had a nice, relaxing day and I was
looking forward to a quiet evening – after having written my sermon, of course! And
there I was, at the breakfast bar in the kitchen when my daughter very casually says
to me, “Dad, should there be water coming out of that light fitting?”
    I looked into the dining room to find water pouring down the light. I switched off
the water, switched off the electricity and, after saying a few choice phrases that you
really wouldn’t want to hear coming out of your Rector’s mouth, I phoned the
emergency plumber. And waited for him…and his bill.
    Anyway, to cut a long story short, someone in our family had, two days ago,
nailed down some loose floorboards in the landing upstairs and had driven a couple
of nails through heating pipes. I don’t want to say who that person was: it was either
me or my wife. I will leave you to work out which one of us it was…But I’ll give you a
clue: it wasn’t Jo…
    2 days ago, we had a new carpet laid. That had to come up. So did the
floorboards and a whole load of pipework had to be cut out and replaced. Not a quick
job – and not a small bill.
    So, later than I had hoped last night, I sat down to write this sermon and I read
the words in verse 23: “And the boat began to fill with water, so that they were all in
great danger…” And I figured God must have a great sense of humour! The last thing
I wanted to think about was the taming of some water. But ours is not to reason why.
    And, I suppose that the disciples had far more to moan about than me. Let’s set
the context…

Setting the scene
Jesus and the disciples were in the boat on Lake Galilee. The Lake of Galilee is
about 13 miles long and 8 miles wide. It is also in a valley area so, when the wind
whips up, the storms arrive even before you know it. It is very easy indeed to get
caught out in a storm on Lake Galilee
    And that, of course, is what happened to the disciples. There they were, sailing
happily across the Lake, when a gale whips up out of nowhere. They are scared for
their lives. They think they are about to sink. And, in the midst of all the problems,
Jesus stays asleep in the back of the boat. He was exhausted! There were so many
demands on Jesus; to teach, to heal, to show compassion and loving-kindness with
every person he met hour after hour, minute after minute. So much was demanded
of Jesus, it is not surprising that, when he eventually did get some rest, he would fall
into a very deep sleep indeed.
    But this, of course, was lost on the disciples. In their fear and anxiety, they shook
Jesus hard and shouted, “Master! Master! We are about to die!” So Jesus gets up
and orders the wind and immediately, it dies down. A great calm comes upon the
waters. This is an incredible miracle that teaches us a great deal about Jesus and a
great deal about our relationship with him.
    The sea is a wonderful metaphor in Scripture. We come up against the sea many
times in the Bible. In Job, God determines the course of the sea. In Revelation, there
is a description of heaven, the new Jerusalem, where the sea will be no more. And
the sea is a wonderful metaphor because in Scripture it represents chaos and
disorder. So, when Jesus calms the storm and the sea is stilled, it is a symbol for us
that God can still the chaos and disorder in our lives. In some versions of the Bible, it
says that “Jesus rebuked the storm…” which is an illustration of the divine power of
God at work in the world.
The storms of life
I wonder if you have seen the film ‘Forrest Gump’? It’s a wonderful film about a
young man with learning difficulties who happens to be a really profound and wise
man. And Forrest Gump has some great catchphrases, the most famous of which, of
course is “Mama always used to say. ‘Life is like a box of chocolates you never know
what you’re gonna get.”
     And there is real truth in that, isn’t there? Life is so unpredictable, we don’t know
what surprises lie in store for us from day to day, even from hour to hour…Good
things in life take us by surprise and we celebrate those moments. But, sadly,
negative and difficult times creep up on us and impact us when we least expect it.
There are times in our lives when we feel at the mercy of the storm, when we feel as
if our lives are as chaotic as the buffeting ocean. Perhaps a financial crisis, an illness
a bereavement, a breakdown of relationship. And we pray and pray and pray but
sometimes it as if Jesus is asleep. He doesn’t hear, no matter how loud we shout…
     Why that might be the case is a question we find so hard to answer and any
attempt to answer it will just sound trite. But what we do know, what our experience
is as Christians, is that, when life seems tough or when we see the suffering of
others, it is right and appropriate to be persistent in prayer. We need to keep calling
on the Lord in our most difficult times. Because, in our persistence, we believe that
the Lord does hear us and will rebuke the storms and the chaos of our lives will be
stilled. The Christian writer, Lavinia Byrne says that when we pray, “Ladders get put
up to heaven”. It’s such a lovely idea about prayer, isn’t it? Prayer as a ladder being
put up to heaven…
     The disciples were desperate, their lives were in danger, they thought they would
perish. Their faith was weak but, in their weakness, they called out to Jesus and he
heard them and rescued them. And so it is with us. In the weakness of our faith, in
the chaos of our lives, in the midst of our anxieties and fear, we too can call out to
Christ in confidence that he will hear us and will meet with us in the storms of our
lives.

The promise of God to us
The words of God to us in Isaiah 43 are so beautiful. His promise is this: “Do not be
afraid, for I have redeemed you. I have called you by name; you are mine.
When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of
difficulty, you will not drown.”
     That is the experience of Christians throughout history. That is the experience of
so many of us here today. For those of us who are currently in the storms and chaos
of life, the promise of God holds good for us today.
     If we are persistent in prayer, Jesus will meet with us and meet our needs. And,
like the disciples in this passage, we will be amazed at his authority in our lives.

				
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Description: "Forrest Gump" is a novel under the same name, American films and novels of Winston Groom temperature, the film won the Best Picture Oscar for 1994, the Oscar for Best Actor, Best Director Oscar awards 6 Awards.