Confidence in the Storm
His Time Radio Homily
August 4, 2014
Author Mark Twain once quipped: “To succeed in this life you need two things: ignorance and confidence.” Anyone who has witnessed a toddler fearlessly leaping into a swimming pool with no clue as to what will happen if there is no one there to catch them understands where Twain is coming from. There is a certain confidence that one might have when he or she is clueless about the consequences. But this confidence pales in comparison to the confidence that fills your soul when you are absolutely certain of the outcome. Scary movies are not as scary the second time around when you already know how they end.
Such is the confidence that Paul had in the midst of a terrible storm at sea. The waves crashed against the boat. The rain fell so violently that hardened sailors were praying for morning. Fearful that they might be crushed against the rocks, the soldiers sought to escape by using the ships lifeboats, desperate for any hope of reaching shore. They were convinced that their ship was a lost cause. In the midst of the panic, there sat the Apostle Paul, urging them to eat something. What gave Paul such tremendous confidence in the face of petrifying conditions?
He knew the outcome. He knew how that story would end.
You see, Paul had been visited by an angel, a messenger sent from God, who told Paul, “Do not be afraid, you must stand before Caesar.” Paul knew that he would survive the storm, for he had been told as much by God. Paul knew that the soldiers, sailors, and other prisoners on the ship, 276 people in all, would survive the storm, for he had been told as much by God. Paul had the confidence not of being oblivious to possible dangers, but the confidence of knowing that no matter what dangers reared their ugly heads, he and his travelling companions would survive the journey, for he had the promise of God.
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, we too have the promise of God. We too have the confidence that comes only from knowing how the story ends. As Paul himself wrote in Romans, the sufferings of this life are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed to us at the end of the journey. So often our lives are laid siege by fear and doubt and uncertainty. A disease threatens our lives or the lives of loved ones. A job loss ushers in the uncertainty as to where we will come up with the money to meet our bills. The loneliness of a broken relationship or a relationship that never materialized fills us with uncertainty about the future.
In such moments we, like Paul, are called to put away our fear and remember the promise of our Lord. No matter what hardship this life throws at us, we have the promise of salvation through the life, death, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. We have the hope of deliverance given to us personally through the cleansing water of baptism, a hope that is strengthened and nourished as we feast on our Lord’s Supper. And while the knowledge of this promise doesn’t take the problems away or make our lives smooth sailing, it does give us the confidence to sit and eat in the midst of the storms.
We, like Paul, know how to handle whatever this life throws at us. We know how to be brought low and we know how to abound. We know the secret of being content in any circumstance, be it good or bad. We know the secret of facing plenty or hunger, abundance or need, sickness or health. We can handle anything through Christ who gives us strength, for we know that we do not handle it alone.
We have the promise of God that he will see us through. He will provide comfort for us in the promises of his word. He will provide for our needs in the fellowship of his church. He will not abandon us to the rocks and waves. So the next time you find yourself terrorized by one of life’s storms looming on the horizon, or by the crashing of the waves as they threaten to overwhelm you, fear not. Take heart. Don’t let Satan drive you to despair. You are a baptized child of God – you will make it safely to your heavenly home.
 Acts 27:24
 Romans 8:18
 Philippians 4:11-13