Have you found yourself facing a situation feeling helpless, and maybe even fearful, because you see no immediate response from the Lord? Perhaps you even wonder if God really cares. Those who followed Christ found themselves in a similar situation. The story is found in Mark 4:35-41. The scene of the story is by the Sea of Galilee. Jesus had been teaching His followers about the Kingdom of God. They knew what an earthly kingdom was about. They had seen human kings subject people to their rule and authority. But they were about to get a real live lesson about how God’s kingdom operates.
After the teaching was over and evening was approaching, Jesus asked his disciples to leave the crowds and make their way to the other side of the sea. We are told they enter a boat to get there, and it looks as though a few of the disciples organized how they would get there. Now boating was very familiar to these men, and even boating on the Sea of Galilee. For some of these men who were fishermen, it was their profession. Jesus was about to take what was familiar to them, what they were routinely experienced at, and inject some harsh conditions into it. The next thing we read in verse 37 is that a fierce gale wind arose, and the waves were breaking over the boat. This was much more than a small craft warning. They tell us this was a furious squall, common on this lake because of the surrounding high hills and narrow valleys that functioned as wind tunnels. These were more than kite-flying winds; they were more like cyclone winds. Their confidence in their boating skills was shattered by the circumstances. They felt helpless, and fear was gripping them. They knew about these fierce winds and probably had heard stories about the casualties caused by them. What stretched their faith to the limits was the sight of seeing this one who claimed to be Lord and King asleep in the stern of the boat. They had watched Jesus do some miraculous things in circumstances of others, but this was now very personal. Their own skills could not deliver them from this peril.
Do you feel like that at times? You have done your job responsibilities skillfully and with precision, then suddenly, like the gale force winds, an incident throws everything into confusion and you become perplexed, wondering if God really cares about what is going on. It is here where we find it most difficult to trust God because we simply feel that the King of the Universe should have everything in control and this should not be happening. But the truth is, that evening on the sea the disciples learned that God was Lord over the turmoil of life, as He was Lord over the orderly things. Also, the things that seem to be in our control are only an incident away from turmoil and becoming out of our control.
The story did not stop here. Out of fear and panic the disciples awoke Jesus from his sleep and articulated what was in their hearts. “Teacher,” they asked, “do you really care that we are perishing?” If the thoughts of our hearts were exposed at times, many of us have asked this question at one time or another. It doesn’t diminish God’s sovereignty. At times the question reveals our own do-it-yourself faith, that we often try and stir up to resolve things. We are told that Jesus got up and literally rebuked the winds by telling them to hush and be still. Everything became perfectly calm, including the disciples. Jesus would ask them in verse 40, “Why are you afraid? How is it that you have no faith?”
The rule of God’s kingdom is not about me somehow coercing God to control my circumstances in my favor. It is about God showing me even in the turbulence of life that He is Lord and we are called upon to trust in His care, His timing, and His will being done. Faith is not about me accomplishing God’s will, it is about God achieving His will in the orderly as well as in the chaos of life.
Are you facing some gale force winds in your life? Maybe you feel that the calm, orderly company you were once familiar with is now turbulent, full of change and uncertainty. Your cry to God could be interpreted as asking Him if He really cares about your perishing company. Such circumstances test and try us. Really, what we learn is that when we have nothing else but God, and we discover if He is the sole object of our trust. We find out whether or not we really have faith. Jesus showed His lordship over the storm, not just to change the circumstances, but in order to call us to faith in Him. It is a faith that brings us into a peace and calm assurance that even if the storm is still brewing around us, God calls us to be still and know that He is God. Having faith in God is simply not measured in the orderly but also in the turbulence. I trust that you will come to know Him in this way.
By Paul Curtas