Trusting Him in the Midst of Our Storm (Part 2)

Jesus and the storm.

In the last post, we focused on one of the two scenarios at sea that the disciples had faced when Jesus was training them in their faith (Mark 6:45-56). This time, I’ll use the other scenario found a couple of chapters back in Mark 4:35-41 that takes peace to a whole new level and is fundamental in tying back to the other story.

These two events are part of a new sermon series by Dr. Tony Evans called “Believe.” This series of posts include some of the things I’ve taken away from listening to that sermon.

When we find ourselves stuck in a difficult circumstance or “storm,” our first instinct is to call upon God to get us out. But sometimes, God has us right where He wants us—directly in the middle of it. And usually, He wants to join us there too.

Lessons From an Earlier Storm

Mark 4:35-37
That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped.

So in this incident, Jesus had joined the disciples right the beginning in their trek across the sea. But another storm hit and the disciples’ boat quickly filled up with water. A death trap. What was Jesus doing in this situation? Was He praying? Nope. He was SLEEPING!!!! Verse 38 of Mark 4 reads…

Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”

Not only was Jesus snoring away, He was snoring away on a cushion. A pillow, in essence. This implies that He had been planning to go to sleep right from the beginning. When one sleeps on a pillow, it is purposeful sleeping. And here Jesus was doing just that, right in the middle of a storm. A storm that had been filling the boat up with water and sinking it. So what did the disciples do? What any of us would do. They panicked…

Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”

Isn’t that how we feel sometimes? Especially when we are caught in a “catch-22?” It can feel like sometimes God is just snoring away and ignoring us. Dr. Evans brings up another similar situation when Israel approached the Red Sea (Exodus 14:10-12). The Israelites questioned why did God had brought them out of Egypt to die. For them, it also looked like all hope was lost and that they had been led to their doom.

god, do you really care?

We tend to think that if God allows us to be caught in the waves of our own storm then He must be ignoring us to allow that to happen. Dr. Evans says that it’s like we dial up Heaven and keep getting a busy signal. It’s like God is napping on us, while our own boat is filling up quickly. For the disciples in this case, they shook Jesus until He awoke…

Mark 4:39
He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.

In the King James version of the passage it reads, “Peace, be still!” So let’s think about that for a moment. If you tell peace to be still, that must mean that peace is moving. So, you can be in a storm and be at peace at the same time. Ah, now it makes sense why Jesus was sleeping. His response after calming the storm…

Mark 4:40
He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

Now that doesn’t sound like an informed question, according to Dr. Evans. He imagines that Peter probably thought, “Oh I don’t know, Jesus. Why are we so afraid? Why do we still have no faith? Hmmm…probably because we are about to…DIE!!!!”

Listening to His Word, but hearing his voice

Let’s be honest, sometimes it seems like God isn’t in tune with our feelings. It may even feel like God is a little “off” in perceiving our situation. But again, that’s how we FEEL. And feelings alone do not necessarily make something true. In this passage, Jesus is essentially telling the disciples they were weak and that they didn’t have any faith in Him. Why would Jesus say something that sounds so harsh?

A few lines back is a clue in verse 35

That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.”

Now Jesus said “let US go over to the other side.” As in Him and the disciples are ALL going to the other side. Not—let’s go out to sea and die. If the disciples had truly believed His Word, they would’ve pulled out a pillow and taken a nap too. However, the disciples did what we normally do on Sundays, argues Dr. Evans.

We say our amens, but we don’t truly listen to what we are amen-ing. The disciples listened to His word, but they didn’t hear His voice. And the only way He could see if they were listening to Him is if He let something contrary take place to see how they would react. It’s the same situation in Mark 6, where Jesus could see the disciples struggling from the shore as the storm kept them in the middle of the sea, despite their obedience.

Jesus knows what we are going to do, but He needs us to see what we are going to do. Why? Because sometimes we are not as full of faith as we may think we are. And it is in those circumstances that usually reveal it. Faith is acting like God is telling the truth, even if we can’t always see what He’s going to do with the outcome.

Mark 4:41
They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”

So look at what this contrary situation did for the disciples. It let them see Jesus in a completely different light. They were very much afraid of the storm, but when Jesus was finished with their situation, they were very much afraid of HIM! This is good. The disciples became afraid for the right reasons—they had now feared God and not their own circumstances.

Trust in Him. Fear what He can do in your situation. Even if He might be napping in your sinking boat, rest assured, He’s still there with you. And He’s got this.

In the next post we’ll go more in depth with this concept of sinking.