"'You of little faith why are you so afraid?'" Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm."

Matthew 8:26

Great men of God have been forged in the fiery tests of difficult times. What would you do if you were at sea in a small boat rocked by massive waves and strong winds? Despite fighting with all your might it soon becomes apparent that everything was in vain. This was the situation that the disciples found themselves in, according to the account in Matthew 8:23-27. Jesus was in the same boat with them, but he was neither troubled nor afraid. On the contrary, He slept soundly, testing their reaction to adversity.

The experience that the Apostles went through in that difficult time has become a great lesson for each of us. It is necessary for us all to face adverse circumstances so that our character acquires the strength that is required to faithfully fulfill God’s divine purpose. In desperation, the men turned to their skills as experts with oars, but after several hours of fruitless effort, they felt like they were loosing a handle on the situation. Despite knowing a lot about fishing and how to handle difficult circumstances of the sea, such as this time, they reached a point where they felt like there was no more hope.

That situation was confusing and alarming for the Apostles. It is the same every morning in the news today, where discouraging messages are brought to our attention through the various media outlets. I remember once seeing an advertisement for a television newscast that sold its show this way. “The good news is for you, leave the bad news to us.” It is as if there is a morbid fascination with broadcasting a negative message, the effect of which tends to be depressing.

However, the Lord allowed this adversity in order to develop character in his servants. He does the same for us. Do difficulties bring you closer to God or isolate you from Him? The Lord always takes care in getting the most out of every misfortune that comes our way. “After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before” (Job 42:10). God supernaturally rewarded his faithfulness. Now, He longs to do the same to you.

The strategy to relax while the enemy exhausts himself is based on the principle that what seems soft and flexible can also be strong and firm. It seems weak; but it is invincible. In nature there are countless examples. The flexible bamboo can bend with the wind and yet remain standing, while the sturdy oak is uprooted by the same wind. Water adapts to every kind of terrain, yet it can shape the hardest rock. In any strategy, the key is patience. Most parents know that you cannot reason with a child having a tantrum. In fact, trying to talk at that time just gets him or her even angrier. But once he calms down, one can find a submissive child who is surprisingly willing to recognize the error of what they have done.

"God is pleased with me, He keeps me safe and calms every storm."

Today's post is an excerpt from Pastor Cesar Castellanos' book, Declarations of Power for 365 Days of the Year: Volume Four.

Our Bible Reading Plan gives 25 daily readings per month. There is no scheduled reading for today. You can use this time to catch up on any readings you may have missed, or read through previous passages again.