Stronger Than Any Storm
There may be tempests all around us but in the depths of your heart, that right relationship with Jesus has produced His perfect peace.
And hello again, radio friend. How in the world are you? Doing all right? Oh, I’m fine, thank you. Full of joy, full of bounce to the ounce; little too much ounce but lots of bounce and lots of joy, happy in the Lord, grateful for the chance to be with you once again for these precious moments which we share together around the Word of God. Aren’t you glad the Lord has made that possible? I am I’ll tell you. We’re in Romans 15 and I’ve been reminding you that the Lord Jesus Christ fulfilled all of the promises that were given to God’s ancient people, the Jews, and then reached across the ethnic and national barrier and extended salvation to those of us who are not part of that choice nation, the Gentiles.
And this book, of course, was written to folk at Rome most of whom were Gentiles. And so he said, “May the God of hope fill you” – you people at Rome – “with all joy and peace in believing”. Now, “believing” is the key word there. It means committing yourself and the situation to God in absolute faith and commitment. And when you do that, first of all, you have hope. You find out for the first time, perhaps, that circumstances are not impossible and that even though you may not see a way out, you know God Himself is the way.
This is a great concept that God Himself is the answer, God Himself is the supplier, God Himself is the source, and so when you turn yourself over to Him you’re immediately in touch. You’re immediately in touch with and immediately under the control of the person who is that supreme source, that supreme answer, that supreme supplier of every need, and you have hope. Now, the connection between you and Almighty God is the person who rose from the dead, the Lord Jesus Christ.
And Simon Peter says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” And because the Lord Jesus rose again and lives to intercede for you, you have a vital connection, then, with the God of hope, the one who injects the element of hope into the impossible situations of life. I think one of the saddest things is to see a talented person who has come to the end of himself or herself and says “Life is a drag. I’ve seen it all. I’ve experienced it all. There’s nothing more for me.”
And they oftentimes then make the sad mistake of blowing themselves away. To commit suicide is to make the one mistake that you can’t go back and rearrange. And so it’s a sad and tragic thing that many people, having tasted all that life itself has to offer, run out of any kind of hope or expectation, they have nothing to look forward to, and so that’s it. Life is a drag. The only answer to that, dear friend, is to get to know the person who is Himself our hope, Jesus Christ, our hope, the Bible says.
And Paul says here in this passage, “He’s the God of hope that fills you with joy and peace in believing.” And so life has a new possibility, somehow or other, it has new potential the moment you commit a situation to God. Have you thought about that? My friend, Mr. Hill writes in one of his books that he had one particular person concerning whom he was quite apprehensive in approaching him because this person was so anti anything religious.
Now, it develops that our brother had given his heart to the Lord and was now a Christian and now there are going to be fireworks, he’s afraid, the next time he comes into this man’s office because is known to be an explosive kind of person and absolute anti everything religious.
All right, there’s the situation and it produced some apprehension, you may be sure. But, says our brother, he turned it over in faith to the blessed Holy Spirit of God. And so when he approaches this man with his explosive temper and his deep antipathy for anything religious, when he approaches this man, having committed the situation to the Holy Spirit, what happens? The man looks at him and he says, “You’re different. What made the difference?” A perfect opening to witness for the Lord Jesus Christ.
God brings hope into a situation that’s impossible. Have you learned that yet? Some of you are just about to give up because you say “I can’t figure this out. Life is a riddle. I can’t understand my feelings; I can’t understand the feelings of others. I don’t know why I’m caught in this particular bind. I don’t know what to do about it,” and you feel so helpless and so hopeless. Dear friend, you don’t have to solve the riddle and you don’t have to come up with the answer. What you do need to do is to turn it all over to the Lord Jesus Christ and just let go of it to Him and say, “Lord, I’m yours. You handle it.”
And you’ll be amazed at how God begins to change, first of all, your perceptions of the fact, and second of all, your relationships with people involved, you’ll be amazed at how God himself becomes the answer to your problem. He’s the God of hope. Somebody needs that today. I don’t know who it is I’m speaking with and these broadcasts are prepared about a month ahead so I can’t have any knowledge, really, of how you feel this minute. But I know in my own heart because the Holy Spirit witnesses with me that somebody has been about to give up and somebody’s been saying, “I don’t understand it and I can’t figure it out and I don’t know what to do, I’m at the end of my tether, I don’t know where to go.”
All right, that’s all true and my heart goes out to you. Beloved, you don’t have to give up except to give up to Jesus and when you do you’ll understand what Paul means when he says “the God of hope will fill you with joy and peace.”
Now the last time we got together, we stopped momentarily as we talked about joy. Joy is more than happiness, isn’t it? Happiness depends upon the circumstances. I gave you the illustration of the little child. You take that little boy or girl to the amusement park, let us say, and the ticket is bought for the merry-go-round and the child is delirious with joy and happiness as the merry-go-round, with its music, is swirling around and around and you’re sitting beside the child holding him or her on the horse that goes up and down and happiness is the order of the day. I’m happy because I’m riding the merry-go-round.
Now the music stops and the wheels slow down to a stop and the ride is over and there is no more money to buy any more rides, and what happens to the little child? Unhappy. Why? Because the circumstances have changed. Happiness depends on circumstances. There’s a little British chorus that has now gone out of vogue but the words of it are these “I’m happy when everything happens to please but happiness comes and goes, while the heart that is stayed on Jesus the Savior ever with joy or’flows. Happiness happens but joy abides in the heart that is stayed on Jesus.” There you have it.
God gives you joy, my friend and that’s that vast, and deep, and ineffable and indescribable sense of well-being that you have because you’re rightly related with the one who is in control of the universe. Stop and think of how wonderful the Christian faith is. You actually can plug your little life and I can plug my little life into the power and the personality and the love and the compassion and the concern and the divine plan of the one who is running the whole universe. Isn’t that great? You say, “Can God have a plan for me?” Of course, He can.
If God could build every single cell with its own separate genetic code, don’t you think He has time enough to take care of you? Of course, He does. Oh, bless God for the hope that comes out of an impossible situation when you turn it over to God. “Now,” he says, “The God of hope will fill you with joy and peace in committing the situation to him.” Obviously, this follows logically, doesn’t it? Most of us would like to turn things around. We’d like to get peace and then we would think we might get a little hope and then we think we might get joy.
God puts it the other way. He says, “I’ll give you hope and then I’ll let you experience my joy,” and as a result he says, “Then you’re going to have peace in your heart.” Peace is a result. It’s not something you seek for. It’s an end in itself. Peace and joy are results of a relationship. People come to me and they say, “Brother Cook, I’ve been seeking for peace all these years and I haven’t found it.” And I have to tell them, peace is not something you seek for unless it’s peace between people.
The Bible tells us to seek peace and pursue it, and that means peace between people. A right relationship with people is something you and I need to work on. But “the peace of God that passes all understanding” is a result. You’ll find that described in Philippians 4:6 and 4:7 “Don’t worry about anything,” says he, “be care filled for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And as a result, the peace of God, which passeth all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
So God’s peace, as you experienced it, is a byproduct of committing the situation to God, experiencing His hope because you know things are going to work out now that God is in control, experiencing the joy that comes through being rightly related to a person, your blessed Lord Jesus Christ, and as a result, your heart is quiet, the turmoil is gone, the striving is gone, the tempest is stilled, and you have peace. Oh, how wonderful. How delicious. How satisfying that is. Do you know anything about God’s peace in your life, today, friend?
Some of you need to start by receiving Christ as Savior and the way you do it is just to stop wherever you are and bow your head and say, “Lord Jesus, I want You to be my Lord and my Savior. I ask you to forgive my sins and come and dwell in my life by your Holy Spirit. And I trust You now to do it. Amen.” That’s the way you do it. And when you trust Him that way and when you commit yourself to Him that way, then beloved, you begin this life relationship that makes possible a turning of situations over to God, and it makes possible the hope that goes beyond the devastating situations you may face, and it makes possible the joy of God flooding out of your soul because you’re rightly related to Him, and it makes possible that that wonderful peace that passes all understanding, the unruffled, quiet, calm assurance that’s in the depths of your soul.
People tell me that a comparatively few feet below the surface of the ocean, the water’s absolutely still. There may be a tempest raging on the surface with waves out in the Atlantic or the Pacific waves that may be as high as, say, 50 feet or more. Mountainous waves of the ocean billows and tossing one upon another and battering against any ship that happens to be in their path. But go down, 2, 3, 400 feet and you’ll find that the water is still. There’re no waves there. There’s peace.
And so it is that you and I have God’s peace. There may be tempests all around us but in the depths of your heart, that right relationship with Jesus has produced His perfect, unruffled, unflappable, unhurried, unafraid, peace that passes understanding. That’s what I want for you dear friends; oh may you experience that today. The God of hope will fill you with joy and peace when you commit the situation and yourself with it to Him. That’s what that word “believing” really means.
Dear Lord Jesus, today, may we experience Thy peace, Thy hope, and Thy joy, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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