Water was washing over the sides of the boat as the waves rocked it every which way. The people in the boat were scared, panicked really. This storm had come upon them so suddenly, the sea had been calm only moments before. But now they were all afraid for their very lives. Except for the one who was asleep in the stern. The storm didn’t seem to bother him. Had the rocking of the boat rocked him to sleep? No matter, if the storm didn’t wake him, the others in the sinking boat would. And so they cried out to him, “Teacher, don’t You care if we drown?”
His response? “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) The reaction from the other passengers in the boat? “They were terrified and asked each other, ‘Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey Him!’ ” (Mark 4:41)
Seems like they didn’t know their sleeping passenger as well as they thought they did, since they were now questioning His identity. And well they should question who he was. After all, each one of them had just recently left everything to follow Jesus and become His disciple. They had heard Him teach. They had watched Him heal a man with leprosy and a paralytic who got up and walked after Jesus forgave his sins. Then there was the man in the synagogue with a shriveled hand, whom Jesus healed on the Sabbath. This had created quite the controversy among the current religious leaders, really rocked the boat, so to speak.
And now they found themselves in a literally rocking boat with Jesus. Why would the wind and the waves obey this man? Because He created them! “Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made.” (John 1:3)
The disciples did not fully realize who Jesus was at this time or they wouldn’t have asked the “who is this man?” question. But they did and Jesus’s response to His disciples was, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” (Mark 4:40)
Maybe it is easier to have faith when the sea is calm and no one rocks the boat. But when the storms of life come, as they inevitably do, our faith is tested. The disciples had witnessed Jesus doing miraculous things. He had rocked their world and nothing would ever be the same again. But as their boat filled with water, their faith seemed to blow away with the winds of the storm that rocked their boat. Still, they had what mattered most – Jesus presence with them.
Jesus was with them in that storm, He was right there with them in their boat. They were not alone! I need to remember that when times grow dark for me and I know I am in the middle of a storm, tossed about – my boat, my world, rocked every which way. But – I am not alone. I have my Heavenly Father’s promise of His presence which says,
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6)
The disciples were not alone that day in the boat in the storm, but they felt like they were. They felt like Jesus didn’t know about or care about their imminent predicament. He was sleeping through their time of need! Or so it appeared. I confess – I guess I sometimes feel that way, too. In the middle of my storm, when it looks like the waves are winning and my rocking boat will capsize, I call out to Jesus like the disciples did, wondering – don’t You see what’s happening to me, Jesus? don’t You care? I think I know how the disciples felt in those moments of overwhelming terror. Remember, they asked much the same thing of Jesus, saying –
“Teacher, don’t You care if we drown?” (Mark 4:38) The answer is a resounding, reassuring, yes, God cares. He cares about me and about you, dear reader. And He’s on duty twenty-four/seven.
“My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip – He who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, He who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord watches over you – the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all harm – He will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.” (Psalm 121:2-8)
When circumstances cause choppy seas to rock my boat, I can know that Jesus is in the boat with me, just as He was in the boat with the disciples and just as He was in the furnace with Daniel’s three friends. My boat will be rocked often in this life. I thank God for His presence through it all.
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” (Isaiah 43:1-2)
“For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.” (Isaiah 41:13)
“God is our (my) refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1)
sincerely, Grace Day