Moments in the life of a Pastor

Walking with God

7 Fear or Faith – Part 2

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Mark 4:35-41

“As evening came, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s cross to the other side of the lake.” 36 So they took Jesus in the boat and started out, leaving the crowds behind (although other boats followed). 37 But soon a fierce storm came up. High waves were breaking into the boat, and it began to fill with water. 38 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?” 39 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. 40 Then he asked them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?” 41 The disciples were absolutely terrified. “Who is this man?” they asked each other. “Even the wind and waves obey him!”

Sometimes God’s plans can seem perplexing, and often they include problems but:

  • His plan also comes complete with His presence.

So where is Jesus when the storm hits, right there in the back of the boat sleeping comfortably on a cushion. It’s here that we see a picture not only of His humanity, being tired from teaching and ministering to the masses all day so he’s sleeping, but also of His deity.  It’s here in the crisis that we see Christ fully in control. He is peaceful while they panic, He sleeps while they sweat, He is resting while they are rowing. How like us today frantically trying instead of just trusting. Jesus didn’t keep them from the storm, He went through it with them. Sometimes we want God to prevent the storms so that we can feel safe, but the truth is we are safer in the storm with Him than in the calm without Christ. Humanly he may have been sleeping comfortably on a cushion but as God He was seated in control on the throne. While the sea surges and the disciples get stressed Jesus sleeps. He is calm because He is in control. What a contrast between the surging storm and the still Savior. Now this had to be a severe storm because at least four of the disciples were fisherman and they were freaking out. John MacArthur once said “it’s a dark day when sailors call on a carpenter to get them out of the storm.” In their distress we find the disciples shouting at the Savior, demanding an answer, they don’t just question the Almighty they accuse Him: “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown?” It’s easy to be critical of the disciples but how often do we ask God in anger? In the chaos we often chose to attack His character, and spend our time criticizing His care. Instead of believing we spend our time blaming. So instead of being amazed by God we are angry with God. Just as Jesus was a sleeping in the storm sometimes God seems like He is asleep at the helm while we are fearful of taking on water and sinking under the waves of worry. It’s the same criticizing cry we here in Psalm 44:23: “Wake up, O Lord! Why do you sleep? Get up! Do not reject us forever” So often we confuse God’s silence for a lack of care and compassion. Jesus wasn’t sleeping because of a lack of care but because He was in control. Sometimes we criticize God’s character and call Him uncaring, when really what may appear to be callousness on the part of our Creator is really control. What if Jesus had been jumping around in a panic too, would the disciples have wanted that? No we want God to be in control, so we need let Him be and stop demanding that He do it your way, and blame Him when it’s not. When you are tossed about in the tempest keep trusting, don’t give in to the temptation to accuse God and get angry. The question we need to ask is are we going to whine about God or wait on God? Wait! but what about the wind and the waves? It’s simple, the ship that has the Savior cannot sink. No matter the crisis with Christ you will not capsize.  Don’t despair and bail, dare to believe that God will never fail. We see the storm of life as loss, but sometimes problems can be very profitable. You can study about the Savior but sometimes it takes the storm to see who He really is. We learn more about Christ in the crisis than in the calm. Look storms are not sent by God to destroy you, but to develop you. Sometimes it takes groaning to grow, and it’s only in the trials that we discover what we are really trusting in. If Jesus is who He says He is then we have nothing to fear. Yes sometimes His plans can be puzzling and they often include problems but they always come with His presence and not only His presence but:

  • His plan also demonstrates His power.

Jesus slept through the storm but the moment His children cried out He woke up and spoke to the storm. I find it fascinating that Jesus didn’t address the disciple’s specific question about His care for them but instead gave a command consisting of only three words, “Silence! Be still!” Immediately the wind and the waves obeyed, and the storm was replaced by silence. Their demanding protests were met with a demonstration of His power.  All He had to do was utter a command and that which He created instantly obeyed and became calm. This was not a gradual dying out of the storm, but a sudden ceasing, as quickly as it began it was over. You see what Christ created, He controls, when Jesus rebuked the wind and the waves they bowed in silence before Him. Psalm 89:9 says: “You rule over the surging sea; when its waves mount up, you still them.” The phrase, “silence! Be still” means to be muzzled and remain mute. It’s the same thing that Jesus said in Mark 1:25 when He demanded that the demon be quiet. Mark shows us our Saviors power over sickness, Satan and the storms of life. With only words, Jesus muzzled a major storm, don’t miss the miracle; He stopped millions of gallons of water from moving, instantly. What’s worth noting is that the same word that is used to describe the “mega” storm is also used to describe the “mega” calm that came upon the sea. The disciples didn’t just experience a little peace; they experienced the Lord of peace. It was in the midst of the panic that Jesus’ power brought peace. Peace is not the absence of problems it’s the presence of His power.  We need to remember that when the storms show up, so does the Savior. But the question that we need to be asking is if creation obeys Him then why don’t His children? This story about the Savior calming the storm is a powerful picture about life in the hands of God. The calming of creation reminds us that God is in control. The question is do we hear his words, “Peace be still?” and not only hear them but believe them and let them effect our behavior? Is your faith flailing in the waves of worry? Are your situational seas swamping your boat? Then start listen to the Lord, stop focusing on the power of the storm and start focusing on the power of the Savior.

 

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