In the Boat With Us

sball boat in stormThe story in Mark 4 tells of the time Jesus rebuked the wind and waves, and calmed the storm. It’s a familiar story told in two other gospels as well. Jesus is teaching near the Sea of Galilee. The crowd is so large, he has to get into a boat. He sits and preaches from there.

When evening comes, he tells his disciples to sail to the other side of the lake. The disciples hoist sails, and set off across the lake as instructed. They don’t get far before a furious squall comes up. Waves break over the boat, nearly swamping it.

The disciples are frightened. Jesus is sleeping. They wake him, and ask, “Don’t you care if we drown?”

Several things have always stood out at me when I read this story. Number one is the fact the disciples did exactly what Jesus asked them to do. Sail across the lake. Jesus knew the storm would come. He knew he sent them into something that threatened to swamp them. He knew it was something more than they could handle.

The second thing I consider is the fact Christ was in the boat with the disciples. Again. Jesus knew the storm would come. Still, he placed himself in danger right alongside his friends.

Thirdly, instead of criticizing the disciples for asking Jesus if he even cared enough about them not to worry whether they drowned, I look at myself. I look at one particularly difficult season in my life. I hear my words echo in my mind. “Jesus, don’t you care if I drown?”

Maybe you’ve been in a similar place. You’re obedient to do what Jesus tells you to do. You set your sails and start across the lake. Then the storm hits. You manage okay for a little while. You’re  concerned, but you can handle it.

Then the winds pick up. The storm worsens. You struggle to haul in the sails before the ship capsizes. At the same time, the waves swell. They crest the bow, threatening to sink the boat.

You’re beyond being a little concerned. You’re down right scared. This could be it. This could be the end of your world as you know it.

All the while Christ is asleep in the stern of the boat. And you’re a wee bit miffed. Yeah. All right. You’re mad. Why isn’t he doing something? Doesn’t he care if you drown? So you wake him up and ask.

Jesus gets up. He rebukes the wind. He tells the waves to be still. He silences the storm.

Then he turns to you.

You want to go mend the torn sails. Or bail water from the boat. Something. Anything. You just can’t bear to look in Christ’s eyes. You doubted. You know it. He knows it.

Jesus didn’t forget you. He didn’t abandon you. He was right there with you the whole entire time. He heard the wind howl. He felt the boat heave. He saw the waves flood the boat.

He looks at you. His eyes are sad. “Why were you so afraid? I was right here. I knew about the storm. I knew it was more than you could handle on your own. I also knew you needed to find that out for yourself.”

That’s it, isn’t it?

Like the seasoned fisherman-turned-disciples who sailed that same lake for years, we think we can handle any storm life hurls at us. We’re competent. We have past experiences to prove our credentials in the getting through the storm department.

But this time it’s different. This time takes more than we have. This time takes us falling on our knees in a boat rapidly filling with water to ask Jesus for help.

That’s what we need to find that out for our self.

This storm strengthened Christ’s disciples for their upcoming storms. I imagine they doubted a little less each time the waves filled their boat. With each storm, their faith increased.

Same with us. When we reach Heaven’s shore, we won’t need anymore faith. It will all be made clear at that time. Until then though, each storm we face is one more opportunity to remember the storms Christ already saved us from.

It might look like Jesus is asleep in the boat, but he’s in the boat with us. He he won’t let us drown.

Amen?

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“Why are you so frightened? What has happened to your faith?!” he asked them. Mark 4:40 (PHILLIPS)

You can find my May Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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