On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”
(Mark 4:35–41 ESV)
Storms are inevitable.
They’re part of our ecosystem, they rewater our ground, but sometimes, they come with disasters that just seem unnecessary.
When the disciples were on the boat, they were probably not thinking, “I mean, rain is a necessary part of our lives.” Oh no. They were clearly asking Jesus to get them the heck out of there.
Why did the storm have to hit right where they were? Right in the middle of the sea. Why did it have to come when they had nowhere to anchor their boat?
And why did Jesus seem to not care that it was all crashing down at once?
I mean, they had this man who had just come off of a spree of healing people from terminal illnesses. He did what medicine couldn’t, what kings couldn’t. And yet He stayed sound asleep, seemingly unmoved by their impending death.
They called on Him, and He awoke. Finally, He did something about the problem. He rebuked the storm. They had never seen anything like this.
And still, He called out their lack of faith. Lack of faith? They must have thought. We just called you to calm a storm! But in their minds, they were completely astonished that it had even worked.
Of course, I have no idea what was going on in the disciples’ minds and hearts in moments like these; however, I do know how my heart reacts in the midst of storms. It is scared. It doesn’t see the point. It just wants Jesus to do His thing and go back to sleep. And just when I get the courage to call on Him, I am the one being rebuked for my lack of faith.
This past summer, Austin and I went through our first ever storm that really hit us together. After losing our first pregnancy, we wondered why He might allow us to go through a storm of this velocity. We lived in fear of the storm returning.
In its midst, we begged for God to stop it in its tracks.
And He seemed to do so in the coming month. He has allowed me to keep this pregnancy so far. The storm seems to have calmed.
The problem was that I assumed He didn’t see the first one.
In my mind, he was asleep under the deck. He forgot about us and our baby. Oh me, of little faith. Why am I so afraid?
I know His promises. I know that He sees my pain. I know that even when I can’t see Him, He is there.
Yet I chose to live in a world where I wondered where He was. I convinced myself He didn’t care enough to wake up.
Then I look into the Scriptures at this story and think, silly disciples. Jesus could have calmed the storm in His sleep. And even if He hadn’t, he had much bigger plans than for you all to die in a storm. It would have been fine. His plan wasn’t over yet. But His plan did involve them enduring a storm that they might see His power. That their faith might be grown.
He calmed that storm, but He did not promise that it would be the last storm they endured. These men would go on to watch their leader die a horrible death. Then they would watch Him come back to life and leave earth once again to go be with His Father. They would leave their homes to go start the church. They would watch their friends murdered by stone or fire. They themselves would be beheaded or crucified upside down or left for dead.
And the whole time, Jesus would be there. He would be working out His plan in the midst of their storms and waiting on the other side of eternity to say, “well done, my good and faithful servant”. He would be pleased with their abundance of faith–faith He built with that first storm.
So whatever your storm, whatever your battle, whatever your pain, allow yourself to endure it. Know that Jesus is there, even when it seems He is not.
It is probably just our feeble minds tricking us into thinking that He doesn’t care.
We cannot see the bigger plan. We cannot see the whole picture He has already painted.
Rest in the middle of the storm. There is no promise that it won’t hurt. There is no promise it won’t kill our flesh. But children of God, Jesus sees that storm and He is standing with you in the midst of it.
Have no fear.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Thank you so much for coming back for day 4 of our Advent Celebration! If you haven’t already, go check out the previous days we have prepared for you guys.
Watch the video below to see us talk through the implications of this Scripture.
Cover Photo taken by Carrie at Sur la Lune Photography.