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
There’s a false idea floating around in the world today that can sink your faith in God. It goes something like this: If you really follow God, then your life will be great. And not just average great–but really great! No pain, no stress, no difficult circumstances, no storms. The catch? You just gotta believe (and if you do that well enough, then you achieve a spiritual state of nirvana in your life today).
Yes, we need faith. Yes, we gotta believe. But look at this passage and cut yourself some slack.
The disciples were following Jesus by faith. They had already left their family businesses and careers behind. While they certainly didn’t have everything figured out, they were doing their best to follow Jesus. While they struggled to trust in God’s care for them, they at least took steps of faith where others wouldn’t.
You will face storms in life. And some of these storms will rattle your faith to the core. You’ll wonder if you are really a child of God. You feel as if all is lost and you’re on a hopeless journey. Life will threaten to drown you–and leave no trace of your existence.
But this story reminds us that Jesus will be with us during those moments.
Sure, storms can be needed practice for learning how to trust him more. And yes, we will handle most of these in a clumsy way, looking back with a hindsight that will feel more like a kick in the pants than a pat on the shoulder.
But look again–this story reminds you that Jesus is with you no matter where you go. No matter how high the waves or how much your boat is filling with water, Jesus cares. You can rest, because you can say to your heart and your mind: Jesus is here.
In this story, that one factor made all the difference in the world. And in your story, that one factor will make the same difference too. Will you surrender your life today to Christ? Will you invite him to be the Captain of your ship?
1. Are you in a storm right now? How does this story give you encouragement?
2. Do you think Jesus was sleeping in order to challenge or grow the faith of the disciples? Why or why not?
3. How did this episode increase the faith of the disciples from this point on? How do your trials and difficult circumstances strengthen your faith in God?