I've been thinking about the time Jesus calmed the storm in Mark 4:35-41. You can picture the scene, a group of people on the sea, other boats on the water, the sky clouding over, the breeze picking up. And the struggle begins, sails in, oars out, the waves buffeting the boat on all sides, growing in ferocity, getting higher. Suddenly you're in the moment, no time to think, being thrown about in the boat, water lashing through, clinging on, hoping not to get tossed overboard, everyone holding on for dear life. There's no other solution, but to get to Jesus. He's the leader, He will know what to do. Maybe he will say a prayer and we'll survive the night? Someone wakes him with the words "Don't you care???" Is this how we approach Jesus when we discover we're in the middle of a storm and the situation is not improving? Do we ask "Don't you care? What are you doing to help me Jesus??" Of course He is greater than we can ever have imagined. But Jesus responds in an unusual way. I suspect He's not just reacting and giving them a good telling off. No. He's actually highlighting an attitude that needs to change in order to sustain them in the challenges ahead.
Jesus says "Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?"
The disciples' fear meant that they were unable to do what was required without Jesus. Was He expecting them to do something?? Here's the curious thing... Jesus' response indicates an expectation that the disciples could have dealt with this storm in the power/faith He had already given them. He didn't say, "Phew! I'm glad you woke me up to sort out that storm. Woah that thing was dangerous!" He responds by highlighting that they were on the back foot fending off fear rather than on the front foot pushing forward in faith. So what do we do when we struggle in a storm and can see no end in sight and believe that we are going to go under?
When we trust him, we will have faith and then we will also know what to do.
Jesus is with us. He has taught us. Reflecting on what He has said to us already will give us an assurance that He is not taken by surprise, or unable to help. But if He seems to be asleep; think, what is it that He is trying to draw out of you? Is it to see things as He sees them and see who He is for us in our current challenge? I know there are often times when we have no clue what is going on. But even in these times can we not have a sense that God has it covered, even though we don't know how? How do we do that? We can begin to ask the Father who He is for us in what we face? Is He healer? Deliverer? Our shield? Our refuge? Our friend?
Heb 11:1 "Now faith is the confidence in what we hope for and the assurance of what we do not see."
When we have faith we will know what to do. Faith begins with Jesus' "logos" words. What is recorded of the things about God and what He said. How do these relate to our situation? At some point there is a moment where these words we read (or hear) come into contact with His "rhema" words, His inspired words for that moment that resonate in our hearts, where a confidence rises within to step out, to take that risk, assured that God will work His miracle. Is He expecting us to sort it out ourselves? No. Definitely not! What He is drawing out of us is an intentional faith, rather than a passive one. Not an "it'll all be alright in the end" kind of deal, but a trusting in Him, in His ways and in how He uses us in those situations to calm the storm. So when I've faced a storm I have felt Father God reveal Himself to me enabling me to persevere through that troubling situation. "Don't be afraid," He once said to me. So every time I felt panic or anxiety about that situation, I said to my heart "Father God says, don't be afraid." Sometimes I had to repeat it several times a day. To encourage my heart in the middle of the storm, remembering that He reigns, for everything is subject to His authority. The disciples are left asking themselves "Who is this man that the wind and waves obey Him?" They have just observed unquestionable evidence that everything is subject to Jesus. When we know who He is, we will then see things as He sees them and will understand how to take the next step in the middle of the storm. Paul Martin is a youth worker and author. He has written two 40 day devotional books for young people on two key Psalms. His style is interesting an humourous, whilst getting to the core teaching of the Bible text. In addition to the devotions, the books also contain pages called "prayer spaces" on which to reflect with God and journal thoughts that come to mind. Click on the picture below for some samples from the books.
Picture: Samule Sun