When we first received Jesus as our Saviour, we rejoiced in the joy of the new birth and the change Jesus made in our lives. On our ongoing journey we eventually meet problems to be solved, but these are just opportunities to prove God. Consider the record in Mark 4: 35-41. Jesus was wanting to take a boat trip with His disciples to cross the water. In verse 35 He said, “Let us pass over to the other side“. They all went aboard the little ship and began to sail across. During the crossing, a great storm blew up and the waves beat against the ship, filling it with water, but also filling the disciples with fear of shipwreck. In the midst of all this danger, Jesus was fast asleep at the back of the ship. The disciples awoke Him with the words, “Master, do you not care that we perish?“, (Mark 4: 38). Jesus arose and rebuked the wind and said to the sea “Peace, be still. The wind ceased and there was a great calm. Jesus said to them: Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” Let us see our salvation as getting into the boat with Jesus. At the beginning of the journey all was calm and bright, but then the storm arose. The storms of life are just part of the journey, but the boat will never sink with the Master of the storms aboard. It is in the storms where we learn to trust Him because the “Anchor” holds. Jesus rebukes the elements, peace returns and eventually we reach “the other side”. This was always the plan. At the start of the journey Jesus said, (verse 35), “Let us pass over to the other side”. Shipwreck was not His plan. God gives each of us individual gifts and callings on our lives. As we read the accounts of some of the patriarchs, such as Joseph, David and Peter, we can clearly see, identify and learn from their struggles and “storms” of life. God clearly called them to fulfil His divine purpose, but they had to prove God in the trials of life and mature before they could fully enter into His final purpose and bear the call to God’s glory. The school of life for us is the school of the Spirit, where the Holy Spirit teaches and equips us to fulfil the call of God on our lives. We have so much to unlearn of independence and wrong believing, and so much to learn of dependence on Jesus and right believing. Consider how Joseph, as a young man, received the vision that his older brothers would bow down to him. In his immaturity, he shared his vision with his brothers who became incensed with him, and they sold him into slavery. He ended up in Egypt where he was wrongfully accused by Potiphar’s wife, and thrown into prison for years. There “……his feet were held in irons until the time of His word came….” Psalm 105:17-19. Eventually, God brought about Joseph’s release and gave him favour with Pharaoh. He was eventually elevated into a position of great responsibility and authority in the land. God gave him immense wisdom and power. He held the keys to the granaries of Egypt, but Joseph had to learn and come to maturity before he was able to bear this position and fulfil God’s call and purpose on his life. His brothers finally went down to Egypt to buy corn from the granary storehouses there, fulfilling Joseph’s vision as a young man. God’s divine love plan brought restoration to the family. (Genesis 37-45 records Joseph’s trials and blessings). Let us not be discouraged by trials or failure. These are as much a part of our journey to maturity in the Lord as are the positives. They can all be seen as learning curves and stepping stones on the King’s high way, if we embrace them with humility, not shame. In the words of John the Baptist: “He must increase, but I must decrease”, John 3:30. Jesus said that unless we become as little children, we cannot enter the kingdom of God. Remember, it’s not how we start, but how we finish. Be encouraged!……Jesus never left the boat in the storm! He is ever present with us.