Have you ever been on a boat in a stormy sea? Have you ever seen waves so big they can swallow your boat? Have you ever felt the panic of beginning to sink?
I haven’t, and I must say, I’m quite grateful. I love living through an adventure to get to the other side with a good story, but that’s one I prefer to just read about.
The disciples had this real life experience, and Mark tells us in great detail of the desperation he felt while thinking this was the storm they wouldn’t survive. And what’s crazy is, this is the storm Jesus led them into. It was Jesus’ idea to get in the boat and head in this direction!
Mark 4: 35-37 “As evening came, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s cross to the other side of the lake.” So they took Jesus in the boat and started out, leaving the crowds behind. But soon a fierce storm came up. High waves were breaking into the boat, and it began to fill with water.”
Fierce storms, high waves breaking into your boat, and water filling the only thing that’s keeping you afloat, is NOT a favorable situation. And maybe that’s the way life feels right now. You’re struggling to make ends meet, and now another thing breaks needing repairs. How will you pay for that? Your marriage has been on the rocks, now you’re dealing with sickness too. You’ve been battling feelings of depression and anxiety, now there are more messes and stresses coming your way, just when you feel you’re already at your breaking point. How much more can you take?
These are the storms of life. These are the waves that come crashing into our boat. These are the winds that blow and the waters that threaten. And we ALL go through them. We all deal with our crossing to the other side that goes all wrong.
Why does Jesus allow this? Heck, not only allow it, but actually lead us into it? Jesus knew of the storm the disciples would encounter on the boat that night, and he knew of the storms you would encounter too. Yet, he still allowed you to be right here in this boat to meet the waves.
Where is Jesus when life grows out of control? Where is Jesus when you feel like you’re sinking? Where is Jesus when it’s all just too much and you don’t know how to save yourself?
Verse 38, “Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion.”
As the waves are breaking over the boat and water is filling the hull, Jesus is peacefully asleep. There wasn’t an ounce of freak out going on for Jesus. There was no worry, no stress. He was resting in complete assurance.
And, Sis, Jesus is here going through this with you, and he’s absolutely NOT flipping out. He’s not worried how this is going to work out. He’s not upset over these hard times. He’s not stressed over what just happened, or anxious about what will happen next. It’s not because he doesn’t know. Oh, he knows. And it’s not because he doesn’t care. Oh, he cares. It’s because of this one thing, through it all, he’s in total and complete control.
Verse 38-41, “The disciples woke him up, shouting, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown?”
When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Silence! Be still!” Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm. Then he asked them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
The disciples were absolutely terrified. “Who is this man?” they asked each other. “Even the wind and waves obey him!”
Jesus questions why we’re freaking out in the storms of life. After all he has brought us through before, do we still have no faith? After all he has done, do we still question his power? Do we still dismiss ourselves from his love and care? Do we still doubt his control over every detail of our lives?
If the winds obey Jesus, so does the housing market, the job market, and the dating market. If the waves obey Jesus, so do the doctor’s reports, the pregnancy results, and the recession. He holds the control, and just like the TV can be turned off or on with one button, Jesus can control everything, turning it on or turning it off with minimal effort.
How did Jesus stop the wild storm? He simply said, “Silence! Be still!”, and boom, the wind suddenly stopped and there was a great calm. Looking back, has God ever suddenly stopped the very thing that was threatening you? He has, hasn’t he? It was awful one moment, then it was completely gone the next. It was overwhelming, then it was over. It was way too much, then it was suddenly nothing at all. Recognize who did that. That was Jesus!
Jesus calms storms. Jesus changes circumstances in an instant. Jesus brings peace where chaos has threatened. He holds that power.
This isn’t too hard for him. Everything is possible in the hands of our God. But sometimes those storms you don’t want and the waves that scare you silly are part of the ride in learning to trust him.
How would you know that baby is a miracle if you didn’t wait so long for her? How would you know that job was aligned in the realms of heaven just for you, if you wouldn’t have first had a series of jobs that were totally out of alignment? How would you know God is the ultimate provider if you wouldn’t have hit rock bottom first?
You see there’s only one way the disciples came to know that the wind and waves obey him, they had to be in the middle of the uncontrollable storms with a sinking boat. Jesus allowed it to prove his power and strengthen their faith. Jesus could sleep through the storm because he was in charge of it.
Jesus is in charge of what you’re going through too, Sis. As big and scary as it may be, Jesus is in charge. As hard and uncertain as it may feel, Jesus has control. You do not.
You’re not in charge. You don’t have control. You’re going to wear yourself out trying to act like you do. Here’s the one thing you can do in this storm … choose where you look.
You can look at those waves crashing over you, or you can look at Jesus. You can look at the water filling the boat, or you can look at Jesus. I’m not saying to be oblivious to the mess and ignore the problem. Sometimes you gotta pick up an oar and row. Sometimes you gotta grab a bucket and start bailing out some water. Sometimes you gotta cut out the extras and log yourself out of the Amazon. Sometimes you gotta update your resume and go door to door. Sometimes you gotta be honest, take responsibility, and make some necessary changes.
But always, always, always, keep looking at Jesus. Keep looking to him for peace. Keep finding assurance in his control over your circumstances. Keep seeking his guidance through your storm. He’s here, and he’s not freaking out. Yes he’s near and yes he cares. He’s taking a little nap in this hot mess of yours because he knows everything obeys his command, and this serves a greater purpose in the process.
Remember how God has gotten you through before, and know he will do it again. Again and again and again, he will be in your boat, riding the waves, with complete authority over everything that comes your way.
And there’s nothing wrong with waking up Jesus and asking if he could help you with these waves. Go ahead and wake him up, but tell him first you have faith in him no matter what!
Hey Jesus, would you wake up and be near me in this storm? I would really like for it to go away. Would you stop the wind? Would you calm the waves? And if now isn’t the time to calm this storm, will you help calm your girl, because I really don’t want to freak out. I know you’re in control. I trust you.