With all that is going on in the world, there is much to be fearful about. Peace is in short supply between governments, races, and political parties. Some pundits even refer these days to “the Divided States of America” because political and social orientation run so deeply along party lines. When it comes to having peace in this world, it’s not so much mastery over circumstances, but mastery over uncertainty, hate and fear.
The Book of Mark records a time when the disciples faced uncertainty and fear. Alone with Jesus on the Sea of Galilee, a fierce storm threatened them enough to make them frantic. Their lack of peace drove them to disturb Jesus, who was sleeping in the back of the boat.
He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” (Mark 4:38-40, NIV) Jesus and his disciples were crossing the Sea of Galilee when a sudden storm blew up. Apparently exhausted, Jesus was asleep in the back of the boat. He had been surrounded by needy crowds all day and had entered the boat to get away. But Mark says “a furious squall came up.” Perhaps that’s happened to YOU: finding yourself in a storm just when you were hoping for peace…
Cause for Concern?
Even though several of them were seasoned fishermen, they were so concerned for their safety that they woke Jesus up in alarm. “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” He calmed the sea and the wind, and asked them a couple of questions of his own: “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” Perhaps it surprises us that the disciples, who had a relationship with Jesus, did not feel secure in Him. They still didn’t have a clear understanding of who He was. It surprises us that the disciples, who had seen Jesus perform miracles, were still afraid. Let’s try to make a couple of observations about this passage.
Who’s In Charge?
1) It’s easier to have faith when there is no need for it. When we have plenty of evidence, lots of assurance, and a measure of comfort and ease, then everybody has faith. But what about when the storms of life break upon us, and the dangers of this world surround us? What about when our eyes are blinded by the driving rain, and our hearts quake with uncertain fear? What happens when we realize suddenly that we are not in control?
That’s when faith takes center stage and becomes real to us. That’s when it makes sense to turn to our sense of control over to our Creator. People said in World War II, “There are no atheists in a foxhole.” I think most veterans of combat would agree. Faith matters most amidst uncertainty.
2) Like the disciples, all of us will encounter situations where the demands of life are greater than our resources or experience. There are moments when our faith wavers, and we panic and lose heart. Faith matters then, too. (Maybe Peter was thinking of this moment when he wrote 1 Peter 5:7: “Cast all your cares upon Him, because he cares for you.”)
When you are anxious and worried, do you carry your burden alone? When the problems of this world seem insurmountable, remember the one who said, “In this world you shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer. I have overcome the world.” (John 16:31)
3) The disciples did not find assurance in psychology, technology, or theology. They found comfort in the presence of Jesus. They took heart in his words, and their faith was recalibrated as a result. If you have a relationship with Jesus, take back your faith, and find comfort in his presence. Take heart in his words. Perhaps when Jesus said, “Peace, be still”, he was talking to more than just the wind and the waves.
Master of The Storm
The night was stormy, dark and cold;
And we were fishermen, tough and bold,
But we grew discouraged & hopes were dimmed
By towering waves and threatening wind.
So all of my mates all began to quake
From the boisterous wind on the stormy lake.
But Jesus slept in the back of the boat,
So tossed by the waves it could hardly float,
And some of the guys woke him up in alarm,
Concerned that we would all come to harm…
Jesus said, “Why are you so afraid?
Where is your faith? Believe!” He said,
And he looked at the waves and said, “Peace, be still”.
It gave our fearful hearts a thrill
When the waves grew calm, and the wind lost its chill:
It amazed me then; it amazes me still.I guess you had to have been there, then,
But try to picture it if you can:
A bunch of tough old fishermen
Now asking ourselves, “Who IS this man?”
But here’s the question I had that night,
When Jesus spoke and made things right,
(Said, “Peace, be still”, and we all could see,
That the waves grew as calm as they could be):
Was he talking to THEM, or was he talking to ME?
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