I am not very fond of storms; it does scare me a little bit. As summer came to an end in Perth, we do get some thunderstorms at this time of the year and being on the coast, it gets extremely windy.
In the safety of your home a thunderstorm can seems very different to experiencing one when you are out on the water in a small boat. Well the disciples found themselves in that very situation as we read in Mark 4:35-41.
Mark 4:35-41 “That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”
He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”
The seaworthy fishermen were accustomed to storms in the sea of Galilee but this one frightened them indicating that the wind and the waves were quite fierce to instil that fear.
In verse 38 we read that Jesus was sleeping – When we are in the midst of a storm and we feel like we are about to drown, it sometimes feels like God is sleeping and ignoring the struggle that we are going through.
We ask, where is God in the midst of my storm? The reality is that He is right there in that boat with you, just like he was with the disciples. We are so overwhelmed by our circumstances that our perspective of fear is more pronounced that our faith.
Does our current reality impact the way we think about Jesus?
Ideally it should not. It is normal to feel fear. The disciples had a very human and realistic response to that fierce storm. When the storms of life rage havoc and instil fear, we are to take that fear to God, ask Him to help us believe to fear no evil when we are in the middle of that valley of the shadow of death.
Let not that fear take root and corrode our faith and blur our view of who God is.
The time on that boat in that storm was definitely a time that revealed to the disciples more of who Jesus is.
It was also a litmus test of where their faith was at. Just like the storm brought to light that the disciples needed to grow in their faith, challenges we face in life help us do the same.
Challenges test where our anchor lies. If only fear is the overwhelming response, then we need to pray for strengthening of our faith in the constant, solid rock who is Jesus.
Scripture says in Hebrews 11:6 that “Without faith it is impossible to please God.”
Faith and fear cannot occupy the same space in us. One is bound to replace the other. Let Faith in God push out the fear that can so easily take root in us.
It was Jesus’s idea to go on the boat – sometimes we wonder why we end up in a storm when we have been listening and doing everything right. God leads us into moments and times like this to grow closer to Him, reveal more about Himself and for us to grow in our faith. Following Jesus does not mean a life devoid of any challenges. It means we are never alone when we face those storms in our lives.
How did Jesus calm the storm – He spoke – “Quiet, Be still”.
Genesis 1:3 tells us that, “God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.” In the same way, God spoke and everything was created. The Creator of the universe was now in the boat with the disciples. The storm’s obedience to Jesus’ command gave further proof of who He is.
With just a couple of words, it went completely calm. Wow! What obedience, Only mankind dares to disobey God. If you have made the choice to follow Jesus, to put your faith in Him then choose to respond to life’s challenges with Faith instead of fear.
God not only has the power to quiet the chaos of our circumstances, but His word has the power to quiet the chaos in our hearts, still our minds and bless us with peace that passes all understanding.
In the boat they were literally surrounded by the storm. There did not seem to have a way out of it humanly speaking. A reminder that even if we do not see a way, God will make a way. God delivers those who turn to Him for help. Call on His name.
The disciples woke Jesus up, although it does not clearly state how long into the storm they did so, the fact that they cried out to him about the imminent possibility of everyone drowning implies they were in the storm for a bit. As the storm began, did they try to handle it on their own initially and turned to Jesus when they did not know what else to do? It gives me pause to think if we tend to do the same, try on our own strength before calling on God?
I do not think that having more faith meant they would not have woken up Jesus. I do think that they would have probably approached him sooner and would have asked for help without panicking or doubting whether he truly cared or not.
Jesus admonishes them for their lack of faith. By questioning the disciples about their faith, Jesus emphasises the importance of faith in action and not in words alone, of faith in difficult times and not only in good times.
This story is a powerful reminder to not let our lack of faith cause us to miss out on experiencing the presence and power of God as we face our storm.
No matter what today or tomorrow has in store for us, God is in our boat with us. He will carry us through our storm.
In the midst of our storms we can be assured of His presence and His power.
Let those storms be an opportunity for God to be glorified, for God to be revealed and God to be magnified through us.
Let us not face life with a perspective of fear but rather with eyes of Faith.
Let not our perception of Jesus be thrown about by the storms we face but let it be anchored in His truth.