They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”
Yesterday morning I left my parents’ home in Florida to fly to San Francisco through Dallas. I awoke to an ominous downpour. Already, the prospects looked dim for easy travel. Then a TV meteorologist predicted rainstorms across the South, including Texas. I braced myself for a long day of delays, missed connections, and high anxiety.
Our family doesn’t travel before asking for God’s protection and mercy. After my father prayed, he said ever so calmly, “Don’t worry. The weather will be fine.” It was. En route, I thought about how silly I was to fear what I saw and how wise my father was to trust what he didn’t see. I wasted time worrying about things I couldn’t fix. It took him a minute to release the problem to God’s control.
In Mark 4, we find a similar situation. After preaching to a huge gathering beside a lake, Jesus and His disciples sailed to the other side. A squall erupted, endangering their lives. The disciples panicked and rushed to awaken Jesus, Who, no doubt exhausted from teaching the crowd, slept through the storm. He commanded the storm to be still. It immediately lifted. Then He asked the disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” (Mark 4.40)
Here was His point: with Christ, our security is guaranteed. There’s nothing to fear. We’ll land safely, alive, and intact no matter how turbulent our situation becomes. It’s not wrong to read slight annoyance with the disciples into Jesus's question. Waking Him to intervene was unnecessary. He was right there with them in the storm. That was all the assurance they needed.
The Unnatural Response
It’s natural to fear uncontrollable conditions and look for signs of looming danger. When troubles rise, it’s natural to ask God to correct our situation. And He will, just as Jesus did. As people of faith, though, we should choose the unnatural response. We should reject fear and ignore circumstances, being confident we’re safe and secure because God travels beside us.
Jesus never promised us smooth sailing. We’ll be tossed and battered by criticism, hostility, rejection, and threats of every kind. Following the disciples’ pitiful example, we can run to Christ for help. But before we do, we should note how their story ended. They failed the test and were still terrified. On the other hand, we can exhibit courage and know God is there to ensure we will survive any turmoil. He doesn’t need our storms to prove His power. But we most definitely need them to prove our faith.
Don't look at the storm; know God is with you in the middle of it.
My travels over the past couple weeks have seriously infringed on my ability to keep up with the daily posts here. I apologize for falling behind and am attempting to catch up by backdating the entries I’ve drafted for each day, yet haven’t had sufficient time to edit, etc. Please be patient with me as I do my best to get Straight-Friendly back up to speed.