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!” Mark 4: 35-41 NIV
Mark tells us in chapters 4 and 5 that Jesus was teaching in a boat on the west side of the Sea of Galilee. On this day, Jesus was tired and falls asleep in the boat while traveling with the disciples to the other side of the lake. A storm suddenly engulfs the boat, the disciples see the large waves, hear and feel the loud and powerful wind, and are afraid for their lives.
We have all had sudden storms, difficulties, and trials come upon us in our lives. Some of these difficult seasons last a short time, some last months or years. The disciples focused on the waves and the wind and on the real danger that they might drown in this storm. I can understand their feelings, their thoughts, their fears. Sometimes we are in actual danger, sometimes our circumstances are overwhelming and in our human view – the problem is insurmountable. I have found myself in this situation many times in my life. When I focus on the difficulties, the waves and the wind, I become afraid, I see no way out, and find myself in despair.
The disciples wake Jesus up from his sleep, asking, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” Mark 4:38b. David, Jeremiah, and Job asked similar questions of God when they were in overwhelming situations. “He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, ‘Quiet! Be still!’ Then the wind died down and it was completely calm,” Mark 4:39. In the midst of their fear, the disciples went to Jesus, expressed their greatest fear, and Jesus spoke calm into the storm.
“Who is this? Even the wind and waves obey him (Mark 4:41).” Who is Jesus? When we are in the midst of the storms of our lives, we have to honestly come face to face with this question. For me, when I focus on the wind and the waves, the danger or the overwhelming circumstances, I cannot see Jesus. I need to pray – bring all my questions, my fears, my despair to Jesus. He has rarely taken me out of the storm, like he does here in Mark 4, but he does speak calm into the storm. When I focus on Jesus, my Lord, my refuge, my Savior and on his word – his unfailing love for me prevails and allows me to go on one more hour, one more day, with him beside me.
By Grace Hunter