Mark 4:35-41 (NIV)
35That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” 36Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 37A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”
39He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.
40He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
41They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”
The fishing boats of Jesus’ day wouldn’t have been of the sturdiest construction. For day-to-day use, they were definitely dependable, but weathering a furious storm would have been iffy. Even today, smaller boats can be capsized by heavy wind and waves.
So, here they are in this rickety little boat, caught in the middle of Lake Galilee during a huge storm, being beaten about by the waves and taking on water. And Jesus? Oh, he’s napping in the back of the boat.
All they needed was the right combination of the boat tilting and a wave crashing and they would be headed to the bottom of the lake. Remember, several of Jesus’ disciples were fishermen, so they knew when they were in trouble. This was a life or death situation, and they interpreted Jesus’ snoozing as apathy; they thought he didn’t care about what was happening to them.
How do you interpret Jesus’ being at rest here? For me, it’s not a sign that he doesn’t care. It shows me that he doesn’t get all panicked when things are going really bad. And you know what? I’m glad he doesn’t get all panicked when things are going really bad.
Jesus was totally calm, totally in control, and totally able to see them safely through the storm.
It makes me wonder: what took these guys so long to wake him up and ask for help? When they saw the storm clouds gathering on the horizon and they heard the distant thunder, they didn’t wake him up. When they felt the wind picking up and noticed the surf becoming choppy, they didn’t wake him up. When they started being pelted with rain and the boat began listing wildly, they didn’t wake him up.
Finally, when it was almost too late—when the boat was taking on water—they woke him up. But even then, they didn’t ask for help. They accused him of not caring about what was happening to them.
You know, I think a lot of times, we’re in the exact same boat. We can see a troublesome situation as it’s brewing, but we ignore it. We don’t pray about it, hoping it’ll just go away. As it gets worse, we pridefully tell ourselves we can handle it ourselves rather than turning to the One who can handle all things. As it gets worse and worse, we finally call out to God, but we end up blaming Him for just standing by and letting this thing happen to us.
The next time you see trouble on the horizon, take it to God in prayer right away. That may not solve it, but knowing God is close by will give you strength in the midst of the turmoil. If the situation gets harder, you need to pray all the more. Remember that God is not panicked, but totally calm, totally in control, and totally able to see you through.
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