“Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown?”
This is what the disciples were shouting at Jesus as they woke him during a fierce storm on the lake. The story is in Mark 4:35-41. There are several storm stories so I will put it here for you to read so you know which one I’m talking about.
“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 (although other boats followed.) But soon a fierce storm came up. High waves were breaking into the boat, and it began to fill with water.
Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion. 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!”
I don’t know about you but there have been several times in my life when I have uttered the same few words that the disciples said, “Jesus, don’t you care?”
Have you been there before? Have you been in a situation where you feel like God has abandoned you? Maybe you are following what God has told you to do and then get blindsided with an unexpected blow that has left you confused and bewildered. Or maybe you are going along and something happens that causes fear and panic to rise up and you question whether or not you will be able to survive this roadblock in your life.
I’m sure we can all relate to the disciples on some level. But what should we do when we are really struggling with the question, “Does God really care?”
I think there are a few things we can learn from this passage.
God is with us.
Jesus was in the boat with the disciples. Even when God appears to be silent or in this case asleep, the truth is He is still with us.
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10 ESV
And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age. Matthew 28:20 ESV
And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, who the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. John 14:16-17 ESV
Winds and waves are a part of the journey.
Somehow as I was growing up I adopted the mentality that if I did everything right, my life would be perfect. And for the most part my early life actually followed that theory. It wasn’t until adulthood that reality turned this idea of perfection upside down. John 16:33 has helped me reset so that I can approach life with the correct mindset:
“I have told you all this so that you may have peace. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
Jesus never promised that if we did everything right we would live a fairytale life. In fact, he actually forewarned us that we will have trials and sorrows. No matter what we do or don’t do we will have hard times. But He quickly reminds us to not lose heart. Jesus wants us to remember that He has already overcome everything that we will face and we do have the promise of peace no matter what happens!
Side note: I keep going back to John chapters 14-16 these last few months. These chapters talk about Holy Spirit, who is in us, and how He helps us. It is so important that we as believers tap into all that Holy Spirit has to offer us!
God tells us where we are going.
What did Jesus say to the disciples before they got into the boat? “Let’s cross to the other side of the lake.” Jesus told them where they were going to go. He was so confident that they were going to get there that He took a nap. Evidently He wasn’t worried!
Often God tells us where we are going but often doesn’t give us all the inbetween details. I think if He did we would miss out on the little miracles along the way.
Think about it. If Jesus told you, “Hey guys we are going to go to the other side of the lake. And oh by the way, there is going to be a massive storm once we get in the middle. It is going to be crazy and you might think you will die, but don’t worry I’ll save us.” Would you get in the boat? I might argue that we wait until the next day before setting sail. I don’t know about you, but facing death doesn’t seem like an ideal way to spend an evening.
If we did wait, we would be saved from a harrowing experience, but I wonder if what we would be missing out on would be a greater loss? If I were to rewrite my story and take out all the hard, would I know Jesus like I know Him today? Would I have experienced the deep joy and peace that comes from coming out on the other side? Would my trust in Jesus be the same?
If we pay attention, God is so loving and prepares us for the trials ahead. I have lost track of the times that God has given me a word or I have done a Bible study that has prepared me perfectly for the next trial I would face. He has often given me a vision of what my next assignment is before it comes. Then when the trials come, I have something to focus on as I walk with Him through the hard.
Faith over Fear
Jesus gently reminds the disciples that our faith should override our fears. Fear is a natural response that all of us have at certain points in our lives. Fear should not cause us to panic but instead spur us to action.
Jesus wants us to take our fears to Him so that He can turn those fears into faith.
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1
There is so much fear in the unknown. Really there are so many things to be fearful of in this world. But instead of focusing on the fear we can choose to believe that God is who He says He is and will do what He says He will do.
We can choose to believe He has a plan and He will walk with you to the other side.
What do you need to remind yourself of during your specific storm in life?