As evening came, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s cross to the other side of the lake.” So they took Jesus in the boat and started out, leaving the crowds behind (although other boats followed). But soon a fierce storm came up. High waves were breaking into the boat, and it began to fill with water. Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion. The disciples woke him up, shouting, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown?” When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Silence! Be still!” Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm. Then he asked them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?” The disciples were absolutely terrified. “Who is this man?” they asked each other. “Even the wind and waves obey him!”
I find myself relating very quickly to the disciples in this boat. I may not have been in a literal boat with Jesus asleep, but over the journey of my life there have been many times where I have felt caught in the middle of a “life storm”. In the midst of them I have often wondered what God was up to. I can even remember a time not many years ago where I asked God that very question, “are you sleeping?” It is so easy to look at the situation when we are on dry land or when we are in a season where the ground beneath our feet is firm, but when we find ourselves in a place where everything is being shaken up it can be hard to trust that this is really going to work out. I find it especially hard in those moments if added to the shaking in my life, is also the silence of God.
I feel for the disciples here and their challenge for lack of faith. I feel for them because I have lacked faith too. I often still do when God has been so faithful. He has in every season been there, but somehow I find that so easy to forget when the boat starts to rock and the winds pick up.
These “life storms” have come in many forms from financial pressures, to friendships, to personal struggles, and many others. Yet, each one has brought me to a place of having to decide, will I let the storm rule and throw away all that God has been or let the Truth of who God is rule and cause my storm to cease. Seems like an easy choice now, but much more difficult when you have no solid footing. Yet, He calls us to trust. So, this is the place my heart wants to be led. To a place of abandoned trust. When the storm passes, he remains faithful.
Who can you relate to in this story? How does it apply to your life?
Judy says:January 14, 2014 at 2:18 pm
Our Pastor spoke on the story in Psalms about the boat in the storm. He called it” At Wits End.” Sometimes we have to be at our “wits end” before we are willing to let God do something in or with our life because we think we can do it ourselves.
Sue says:January 14, 2014 at 5:13 pm
We are asked if Jesus has ever led us into a storm? It is hard for me to say that Jesus has led me into my storms. Traditional teaching has caused me to believe that while Jesus doesn’t put us in the storm He will lead us out of them.
Put me in that boat and I may very well respond the same as the disciples. With an honest examination I would have to admit that I’ve done so many times.
The fear of the storm raging around the disciples is something that I would react to as well. Some of these disciples were seasoned fishermen who have experienced storms before. Some were not. Either way, this was a hurricane force storm that apparently came unexpected.
I’ve weathered some hurricane force ‘life-storms’… or at least seemed like it at the time. Most of mine have been health related, some relationship related and all have had a personal impact. I can relate to the waves reaching high above me as if to grab and pull me under. It’s a scary feeling … the kind that can take your breath away and leave you feeling overwhelmed and helpless. During those times I’ve sometimes lost focus and trusted the power of the storm over the power of my rescuer – Jesus.
What stood out the most for me is the question asked by the disciples … and the question that Jesus gave them in return. This is the part of the story that I can relate to the most because it is something I have been guilty of often. “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown?” How often in the middle of my battles have I cried out … “Where are you? Don’t you care?”
One line in today’s devotional says it all … “Biblical faith is believing something is true because you believe someone is truthful”. We are told quite plainly in 1 Peter 5:7 “He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully”. So, today I’ve had to ask myself, Do I really believe what the scriptures say about Jesus? Do I believe that He cares about me … affectionately & watchfully? If I do then the size of the waves aren’t going to matter.
I wonder how Jesus must have felt when the same disciples who had seen Him reach out & touch the leper questioned His care for them. I know how heart brokened He must have felt … and I know He must feel the same way when I blurt out the same accusations.
I can imagine the frustration in His voice as I stand in the boat with Him and my storm has settled down around me. he looks at me with a mixture of pain, frustration, and love as He says “Why are you afraid? Have you no trust even now?”
He has proven Himself over and over. When I look back as recently as the past week, I see the evidences of His care, love and compassion.
“Father, keep the picture of Your love, mercy & grace ever in front of me. As I commit to bring Jesus into every storm with me, let me always remember that as long as He is with me, no storm can defeat me.”
Susan Craig says:January 14, 2014 at 8:23 pm
This passage has so much in it that I don’t know where to start. I too have been the disciple in the boat when the storms of life have made it seem like I was going to drown. Two things about the disciples in this passage have me really thinking hard about what goes on in our minds when we are in the storms.
The first is the assumption that they made that they were going to drown. I have been in crisis situations where my life has been in real imminant danger. A reaction to an anaesthetic once left me unable to breathe and I could not reach my callbell to call for help from the nurses. I was helpless and in a real panic.If I did not get help I was going to die!! I could not move or speak-all I could do was pray and wait. Then I watched a miracle take place before my eyes. God came to my aid through another patient in the room who saw my distress and called for help. I lay totally helpless while nurses brought in the crash cart and started working on me to literally try to save my life. I was only 23 at the time and I felt, for a few moments, what these disciples must have felt in the boat in their moment. I cried out in my mind Help me Jesus! I was certain I was going to die! That is what they felt-they were going to die!! No matter what their thoughts/feelings/reactions were,they did the only thing that they could do-they sought the help of Jesus. It says that Jesus was disappointed in their lack of faith but I am also sure that it was more than that- I think He was more disappointed in their presumption that He did not care! This is a lie that Satan puts into our minds when we are in a crisis situation ie a storm of life where we feel helpless and hopeless. The lie he tells us is that Jesus does not care. I am alive today if only to state at this moment in time this one fact/truth that I will stake my life upon-ant that fact is that JESUS CARES!! If I learn nothing else in life,it is this one sure truth that Satan can choke on-Jesus Cares,Jesus Cares,Jesus Cares. No matter how alone,helpless and abandoned we may feel,no matter what the crisis that God has allowed us to face in this life,stick this in your mind and keep it there til the end of time. Never forget it! Remind youself of it over and over and over again til there is never, ever, ever, any doubt in your mind. Jesus cares about His children!!!!!
The second response of the disciples is a bit harder for me to understand-maybe because I am looking on it in hindsight instead of it happening to them at that moment in time. We know Jesus’ purpose-that God’s plan of salvation to be provided to man was going to be accomplished through Jesus. We know Who He was and Why He was here on this earth. But these disciples did not yet know all this. They were living in the middle of this plan/purpose but did not yet experience it in it’s entirety. I do not know how I would have reacted if I was there in that boat at that moment in time-most likely I would have reacted the same way they did. Jesus did something they had never seen another human being/man ever do before. They were still thinking of Jesus in human terms-this envoked an even greater fear response from them. Instead of feeling peace and relief that their lives were spared, they were even more terrified than before. They did not understand and that is a place we often find ourselves in- not understanding what God’s purposes are in the situations we face in life is not an unknown place to be. If you live long enough , I can pretty much guarantee that there will be times in your life when you question what is happening in your life and question what God is doing-or what His plan or purposes are. It is not wrong to ask these questions- most enquiring minds want to know the answers to the whys of life. What I have learned so far in my own journey is that often we do not get the answers we are looking for-in fact most of the time we do not get to know why. Sometimes we just have to rest in the first fact we have already learned in this passage-that Jesus still cares for us even when we do not get all the answers to all the questions-even when we do not understand His plans and purposes. We may have to accept that the secret things belong to the Lord.-that He does not have to answer to any of us because He is the Creator and we are the created-He is the Shepherd and we are the sheep. The one thing He does expect from us though is that we trust Him- that we trust He knows what He is doing,that His ultimate agenda is for His own Glory and for our best good. Do I even understand all that entails?? Not really but I am learning………..
Karen says:January 14, 2014 at 8:38 pm
This parable is about storms, yes. But it is also about jumping to conclusions about the storm. This parable challenges me to do the following in the midst of any storm:
1. Listen to the storm.
2. Think about the storm and how I should respond.
3. Respond ONLY in such a way that allows FAITH to reveal a purpose in the storm.
Pat McRae says:January 14, 2014 at 11:38 pm
Thank goodness I’m not the only disciple in the boat today! Yes today I am also a disciple. Oh how often I have been in the boat in the middle of a storm wondering what’s wrong with God can’t He see I am sinking. This morning I listened to the sermon “33 miles from a miracle” while I was waiting for todays reading and I believe it was a God directed move. Jesus said “let’s go over”,He didn’t say there would not be a storm; just “let’s go over”. To Israel God said “leave and let’s go to the promise land”. In both cases storms, although different stopped progress. Neither group of people could see God in their mist only the situation, so often this has been me. The waves seem so high, the boat so full and I am going down and my cry is “Where are You God?” Where does my confidence go that He is with me, he is my protector, provider, my all in all? Gone because my eyes are on the storm and not my Saviour. So easy to stop rowing, have my pity party, my why me episode, instead of remembering why I am in the boat. I have a destination and it is attainable only if I keep rowing. So for me to camp or stop rowing in a storm is no longer an option because I only have 7 miles to go. Yes and God is faithful, when my faith is low I will also hear His rebuke “Oh you of little faith” but I also will see His grace and His mercy calm my storm.
Susan Craig says:January 15, 2014 at 3:39 pm