God gets us through the storms of life in many ways
Calming the Storm:
On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, "let us go across to the other side". And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boats, just as he was. And other boats were with him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filing. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, "teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?" And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, "Peace! Be still!"
And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, "why are you so afraid? Have you no faith?" And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, "who is this, that even the wind and sea obey him?"
Mark 4v35-41 (NKJV)
A great storm billows up. Not a straightforward gale or a moderate wind, but a storm of such ferocity that professional fishermen and sailors are frightened. One that progresses to such a state the boat is swamping and the disciples are bailing out.
Note that Jesus is present, but asleep. He is there, but he doesn’t intervene until the disciples ask him too. Imagine how bad things could have got if they hadn’t woken him at all?
The disciples were exhausting themselves trying to bail out – how many times have you done that? I know I have tried to fix circumstances by myself and not called out to God until I’m floundering. Wouldn’t it have been so much easier for the disciples, if they had spoken to Jesus as soon as the waves started getting rough? Why, if they had been talking to him all along, he wouldn’t have fallen asleep in the first place! That sounds far too much like my personal life for comfort – gradually talking less and less to Jesus, until the wind picks up and I need a helping hand.
But Mark then goes on to write ‘and they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “who is this, that even wind and sea obey him?”’ (v41)
The disciples were filled with great fear. Why? The storm’s over! They are safe, the wind and waves have died down.
I’m not sure what the disciples expected Jesus to do; perhaps they thought he would beseech God to have mercy on them, or perhaps he would offer some words of comfort before they all drowned.
Judging by their reactions, they did not expect him to miraculously calm the storm. Be careful what you pray for, God might just answer it.
This ‘man’ the disciples had left sleeping in the boat has the power and authority to calm the storm. One rebuke and the elements themselves rush to obey him. This is someone who needs to be taken seriously. Not someone to leave quietly sleeping in the background of our lives. Jesus is someone we need to put up front and listen to.
Did you notice ‘and other boats were with him,’ (v36)? These other boats, most likely filled with a combination of professional seamen and ‘tourists’ there to hear Jesus, would have been caught in the storm too. By waking Jesus when they did, the disciples would have been responsible for saving the lives of all these other boaters. Again, imagine if they had waited any longer! It is important to remember that God can use our prayers (even our most selfish, egocentric prayers - as some prayers are) to reach out and help others. And sometimes God will use the storms in our lives to display His awesome power to non-believing bystanders. How many people in those other boats do you think went away not believing Jesus was the Messiah?
Oh, and one last thing to remember, is the first verse of Mark 5; they came to the other side of the sea. In order words, after the storm, they made it to the shore, safe and sound. The storm might have been horrific, but Jesus got them through it. Albeit in a way none of them expected.
Sometimes God eases us through the storm, He guides us and gives us the strength we ask for; and sometimes He stops the storm altogether.
But one thing is certain, whenever we ask for help, God will grant it - only it may not be the way we expect!
Word Count: 745 (inc scripture passage)