The Baptist Testimony
Volume 57 Number 3 May/June 2011
The Word Has It
“Strengthen me according to Your word,” Psalm 119:28
MARBC Executive Director
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:28-29)
It is Monday morning as I pen this particular column. I am reflecting upon another Lord’s Day of worship and ministry. I have reviewed my calendar for the week and prayerfully considered what lies ahead. I am also anticipating the week ahead with its promise of yet-to-be realized joys, opportunities, and challenges. While I am in this mode, would you permit me to do a little “Monday morning quarterbacking” from a pastoral perspective?
This past year I have had the opportunity to talk with several pastors, church leaders, and ministry servants who are facing extreme challenges in their personal lives and/or ministries. Praying for them and you is a regular and important part of our ministry on your behalf. This endeavor over the past twelve months has often been accompanied by an aching heart and teary eyes.
All of us face challenges as a part of our walk with God in a pagan world and because of our unique calling to be servants of God. It is easy to let the “fog” of our Monday morning spiritual hangover skew our view of life and ministry.
I am not sure where I first read the following illustration and have searched without success to discover the author who penned it. I came across it a few years ago in my reading and have used it in my preaching. In seeking to find a proper citation for it, I have found that it has been quoted frequently by others. I would like to share it with you today as an encouragement. I have added a few scriptural references and my own application.
I Can Sleep When the Wind Blows
Years ago a farmer owned land along the Atlantic seacoast. He constantly advertised for hired hands. Most people were reluctant to work on farms along the Atlantic. They dreaded the awful storms that raged across the Atlantic that would wreak havoc on the buildings and crops. As the farmer interviewed applicants for the job, he received a steady stream of refusals once the applicants would learn of the working conditions. Finally, a short, thin man, well past middle age, approached the farmer. “Are you a good farmhand?” the farmer asked him. “Well, I can sleep when the wind blows,” answered the little man. Although puzzled by this answer, the farmer, desperate for help, hired him. The little man worked well around the farm, busy from dawn to dusk, and the farmer felt satisfied with the man’s work.
Then one night the wind howled loudly in from offshore. Jumping out of bed, the farmer grabbed a lantern and rushed next door to the hand’s sleeping quarters. He shook the little man and yelled, “Get up! A storm is coming! Tie things down before they blow away!” The little man rolled over in bed and said firmly, “No sir. I told you, I can sleep when the wind blows.” Enraged by the old man’s response, the farmer wanted to fire him on the spot but didn’t because he was too concerned about caring for his property before the main storm struck. So, the farmer hurried outside to prepare for the storm. To his amazement, he discovered that all of the haystacks had been covered with tarpaulins. The cows were in the barn, the chickens were in the coops, and the doors were barred. The shutters were tightly secured. Everything was tied down, therefore nothing could blow away. The farmer then understood what his hired hand meant, and he returned to bed to also sleep while the wind blew.
There are several applications that could be gleaned from this tale. One might be that when you are prepared, you have nothing to fear. The hired hand slept soundly because he had secured the farm against the storm. We secure ourselves against the storms of life by grounding ourselves firmly in the Word of God before they hit and weather their buffeting while they rage around us.
What about you, my windblown friend? Are you prepared to face the winds of opposition that will inevitably blow? Monday morning may be a good time for you to resolve the following:
I will determine to let God order my steps (Proverbs 16:9.
I will seek guidance from God to give proper focus to my life (Psalm 119:105).
I will let God give me His supernatural peace that is not explainable by human standards (Philippians 4:7).
I will remember that God is as near to me in the storms of life as He is when life seems bright and sunny. (Matthew 8:24-27)
The Old Testament character Job faced more than his share of crisis situations in life. He found great solace in God’s promises to him. As a result, those who demonstrate extreme patience in difficult situations are said to have “the patience of Job.” The secret of Job’s patience was his confidence in God’s provisions for enduring the storms of life. God promised him, and each of us who trust him, “And you would be secure, because there is hope; yes, you would dig around you, and take your rest in safety.” (Job 11:18)
Determine today to be amazed, just like the disciples in Matthew 8, as you watch the Lord take control of the angry waves that toss you about in your present situation. “And suddenly a great tempest arose on the sea, so that the boat was covered with the waves. But He was asleep. Then His disciples came to Him and awoke Him, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!” But He said to them, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. So the men marveled, saying, “Who can this be, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?” (Matthew 8:24-27)
Be at rest in God’s care today. Trust Him to help you sleep when the wind blows. Remember to pray for your brothers and sisters in the family of God who are also riding out the storms keeping their eyes fixed on Jesus. Be confident and comforted by the promise that He will give you rest as you come to Him.
You have His Word on it! (KEF)