Episode 1. Land Lovers the Lot of Us
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When you’re caught in a small boat on a stormy ocean – what you discover is how much you love good old terra firma. The more firma, the less terra, right? So how do you get some solid ground …
When you’re caught in a small boat on a stormy ocean – what you discover is how much you love good old terra firma. The more firma, the less terra, right? So how do you get some solid ground beneath your feet?
I am really excited to be starting a new series this week on the program that I’ve called, “On Solid Ground”. Now I have to tell you I am definitely a land lover, I like to have terra firma under my feet. In particular, I don’t like being out on the water on the ocean, in fact, the more firmer the less terror if you get my drift. I have this basic theory that, if God had meant us to be out on the ocean he would have given us gills or at the very least, steering wheels and rudders right? And for me, there’s nothing more terrifying than being out on a stormy ocean.
I’d much rather be standing on solid ground looking out at the stormy ocean than being out there on it and yet, it seems that in life we do travel through stormy oceans and we do have to live through those storms. That’s one of the central dilemmas of life, surviving those storms. In fact not just surviving them but learning to ride through them with a peace and a confidence because, well they happen; it’s just the way things are. What we really want is we want solid ground under our feet but it’s not always possible, or is it?
That’s the dilemma, dealing with the storms of life. I remember when I was a young boy; I sailed in a ship from Australia to Europe. It was a four week trip each way through the Suez Canal and it was such a long way. I was only four or five years old and along the way, I remember to this day, we had some HUGE storms and this great ocean liner rolled around like you can’t believe, there were ropes in the corridors to hand on to. I’ve never forgotten those storms, I was so sea sick and I was very, very afraid.
Even though we were such a big ship and you’d go up on the deck and you’d look out the port hole or if you dared, go out onto the deck and these massive waves, they were like, they were like buildings, would come towards the ship and just toss it around, it was pitching around in this fearsome ocean and for me there’s nothing as frightening as that angry sea and the violent storm and the ground, as it were, is moving under your feet.
Now for some people, life seems to be a constant storm, the ground underneath their feet is never solid. There’s always some fear and uncertainty and they never quite figure it out and many of these people even believe in God and yet life seems to be this endless storm. Question is, how do I get some solid ground under my feet? Well that’s what we’re going to be exploring in this series that I’ve called On Solid Ground, starting right here and now.
Now today, we’re just going to head out on the ocean with some fishermen and take a look at what it was like for them. These fishermen were disciples, they were followers of Jesus. Remember, they’re seasoned fishermen, they’d been doing this all their lives, let’s have a look at how they handled the storm. Luke chapter 8, beginning at verse 22:
One day Jesus says to His disciples, “Let’s go over to the other side of the lake.” So they get in the boat and set out. As they sailed Jesus falls asleep and this squall comes down on the lake so that the boat was being swamped and they were in great danger and the disciples went to Him and woke Him and said, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown.” He got up, He rebuked the wind and the raging waters and the storm subsided and all was calm. “Where’s your faith?” He asked the disciples. In fear and amazement they asked one another “Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water and they obey Him.
Now these fishermen, they were afraid because they knew the terrible consequences of the storm swamping their boat. Now it may sound a bit silly but, well they wouldn’t have had to worry about they consequences if they were fish, if they’d had gills and fins because it’s not dangerous for a fish to fall into the ocean or in this case, the lake. The people, they’re fishermen, well it’s a whole different story, we fall into a stormy sea and we end up drowning and that’s what their fear was all about, that’s why they panicked. And when we’re in the middle of a storm, that’s what our fear is all about. It’s the fear of being swamped, it’s the fear of losing our grip, it’s the fear of drowning.
I never cease to be amazed in life, the different circumstances this world, this life on this planet seems to be able to conjure up and hurl at me in the form of a storm. The tensions, the oppositions, the challenges and sometimes they come so rapidly, one after the other that no matter how strong or resilient we are, it feels like we’re being swamped.
And here’s the bottom line for you and me, just as with those fishermen, we’re made to live on solid ground, not in the ocean. We’re not made to live out on that stormy ocean in fear of drowning 24×7, even though that’s sometimes where we find ourselves at in life. We’re not made to be swamped by the ocean, we’re made for terra firma, we’re made to be on solid ground, would you agree?
Whether you’re a fisherman or a land lover like me, whether you’re a thrill seeker or someone who prefers a quieter life, none of us is made for the constant battering by storms out there on angry oceans and yet sometimes we can’t avoid them. Sometimes, like those fishermen, we just have to be out there on that sea and the storm hits and there ain’t a thing that we can do about it.
At the end of the day we’re land lovers, the lot of us but we need to know how to ride that storm. I’ve seen people where storms seem to go on half a lifetime, others have precious few but as resilient as a character I am, I have had to learn how to ride a storm with confidence, are you with me, otherwise you end up drowning? Read that passage again:
One day Jesus says to His disciples, “Let’s go over to the other side of the lake.” So they get in the boat, they sail, He falls asleep, a squall comes down and hits them so that the boat is being swamped and they’re in danger and the disciples went and woke Him and said, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown.” He gets up, He rebukes the wind, the raging waters, the storm subsides, all is calm and He goes, “Well, where’s your faith?” In fear and amazement they ask one another, “Who is this? How can He command even the winds and the water and they obey Him?”
See, to them it was startling and surprising. It’s not a myth, this is historical fact. It’s easy to write this off as some fable but it’s never meant to be that. With all my heart I believe it’s an historical record and these fishermen go, “This is amazing”. It’s something completely new; they’d never seen it before. Now they learned some things about God that day, in fact they learned 3 things.
They discovered that God was in the boat with them. That He had both the will and the means of doing the impossible, of calming the storm and saving them from it. And thirdly almost the most incongruous thing of all, they discovered that safely riding out the storm was a matter of faith.
This week and next week on the program, we’re going to meet some people who learned that in their lives. See, you just can’t memorise those three dot points and go, “I’m ready, bring on the storms, I can do this” because you don’t learn this sipping pina colada’s by the pool. You don’t learn this by memorising three dot points.
You have to learn this only one way; the hard way. By getting in the boat and being hit by the storm and exercising your faith. So that’s why, over these next couple of weeks on the program, we’re going to learn what this means in our lives. It’s riveting stuff so make sure you join me each and every day.