Moments in the life of a Pastor

Walking with God

8 Fear or Faith – Part 3

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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!”

Not only does His plan come complete with His presence and demonstrate His power but:

  • His plan also has a purpose.

The greater storm that night was not on the Sea of Galilee it was in the souls of the disciples, and it’s here that we discover at least three purposes behind the plans God has for us. First Jesus wants to deal with the fear we have that is replacing our faith and causes us to lose focus. Jesus didn’t just deal with the storm; He also had to deal with the disciples. Just as He rebuked the raging storm and told it to be silent so He also had rebuked His disciples and still their souls. He confronted their fears by asking two pointed and personal questions, first: “Why are you so afraid?” The disciples must have been thinking, “Isn’t it obvious, we were in the midst of the severe storm, about to drown and die, and you were sleeping in the back of the boat, seriously don’t you think we have the right to be worried?” We feel entitled to be afraid because we’ve chosen to focus on the problems and not the provider. Yet Jesus questions reveal that we can have peace even in the midst of problems, because peace is not the absence of problems it’s the presence of God. Peace is not based on your situation it’s based on the Savior. Fear here refers to being timid to the point of wanting to give up, fear caused them to freak out and forget who Jesus was. What are you afraid of today? Are you focusing on your fears or on the Father? Are you going to focus on the obstacles or on obedience?  Not only does Jesus want to deal with our debilitating fear, but He wants to grow our faith. This is where we see Him asking His second question: “Do you still have no faith?” The truth is that fear can fillet our faith, but faith can also force out our fears. The bigger issue was not the fierce storm but the faithless disciples. How ironic that it’s only the wind and the waves that are obedient in this passage and not His disciples. The presence of fear can indicate an absence of faith, for fear and faith can’t coexist. Again this question may at first seem harsh but remember that the disciples had just spent the whole day with Jesus listening to him teach and preach. They had witnesses his power to heal and cast out demons, they had seen and heard all of these wondrous things yet it didn’t translate into trust. After witnessing the wonders of God in your life why would you worry? Jesus plans involve not only removing fear and replacing it with faith but also filling us with awe. The wind and the waves were replaced by wonder. You see even after the storm was silenced the disciples were still afraid. Now they face a different kind of fear as the reality of who Jesus is sinks in. They turn to each other and ask, “Who is this that even the wind obeys him?” When they realize they have been sitting in the boat with the Son of God, the One who possesses the power to command the sea to be calm they are in Awe. They didn’t have a category that would fit Christ. We are all familiar with the term the calm before the storm, but this is the storm after the calm. The sea may be calm but the disciples are all churned up. One would think that they would have calmed down now that the storm is stilled. They were twice as terrified after the storm, stricken with awe and amazement in the presence of one greater than self. While the storm created worry Jesus caused wonder. Here is the Deity on full display, His power so petrifying that they probably felt like Isaiah did in Isaiah 6:5: “Woe to me! I am ruined!” I wonder today if we have become so familiar that we are no longer fearful of the Father. It’s a healthy fear of God, that reverential awe of Him that will keep us from being afraid during adversity. When we start fearing God we will stop fear other things. It is only in the storms that we truly understand who Jesus is, sometimes we need the storms so we can see the Savior. It was in the storm that the disciples learned several valuable life lessons. They learned that not only did Christ care but only Christ can carry you through the crisis. The disciples accused Christ of not caring. They believed that the presence of problems in their life was an indication of a lack of the Lord’s love. But His love is not based on your circumstance it is based on the cross. Not only does Jesus care but only He can calm your heart. When you are going through trials you may be tempted to question His love but instead you need to learn to trust in and lean on His love. What is it that you need to trust Him for today? They also discovered that only Christ is in complete control of everything. We don’t know what’s coming tomorrow but He does. Do you trust Christ with your tomorrows?  Chuck Swindoll once said, “Anything under God’s control is never out of control.” Every crisis is really just an opportunity to get to know Christ better. They learned that in order to get to the other side we have to go through the storm, but we don’t just get there we get there knowing God better. They learned that if you are going through a storm you better have Jesus in your boat. Because the ship that has the Savior will not sink. Jesus said, “let us go over.” He didn’t say, “Let us go under.” We have a God who has promised to protect us no matter how powerful the storm. But it’s not just about being in the boat with Jesus we need to make sure that Jesus is steering the ship. Are you allowing Christ to be the captain of the ship? Verse 38 tells us that Jesus was “sleeping on a cushion” the cushion was reserved for the captain of the ship. Have you given Christ control of your life, or are you still trying to steer your own course? They learned that it was not the storm that needed calmed it was their hearts. Sometimes it’s not our circumstances that need changed it’s us. He may not always change your circumstance but if you surrender to Him, He will change you. If you are going through a storm right now don’t question His love instead ask the question, “Lord what do you want to teach me through this trial.” Today take a few moments and and listen to the lyrics to the song, “Sometimes He Calms the Storm” by Scott Krippayne say:

Sometimes He calms the storm

With a whispered peace be still

He can settle any sea

But it doesn’t mean He will

Sometimes He holds us close

And lets the wind and waves go wild

Sometimes He calms the storm

And other times He calms His child

It’s in the crisis that we learn to not only cling to Christ but to let give have control. Who is controlling your life fear or the Father?

 

 

 

 

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