MARK 4:41: “And they were terrified and asked one another, “Who then is this? Even the wind and the sea obey him!” CSB
OBSERVATION: Why does God permit the storms of life? I have often pondered this question when reading this account in the Gospels. Here is the full account.
- “On that day, when evening had come, he told them, “Let’s cross over to the other side of the sea.” So they left the crowd and took him along since he was in the boat. And other boats were with him. A great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking over the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. He was in the stern, sleeping on the cushion. So they woke him up and said to him, “Teacher! Don’t you care that we’re going to die?” He got up, rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Silence! Be still!” The wind ceased, and there was a great calm. Then he said to them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?” And they were terrified and asked one another, “Who then is this? Even the wind and the sea obey him!” Mark 4:35-41 CSB
So let’s break it down. Jesus was in the boat with His disciples. The disciples began to battle a great windstorm with the possibility of the boat capsizing and sinking. Where was Jesus? He was asleep on a cushion in the back of the boat. While the disciples began to panic, they awoke Jesus. Their first impression was that He didn’t care!
- “Teacher! Don’t you care that we’re going to die?”
We love the rest of the story. Jesus stood up, rebuked the wind, and spoke to the sea, “Silence! Be still!” He then rebuked the disciples for their lack of faith. Yet, the question still remains. If Jesus could simply rebuke the wind and the waves, why did He allow the storm in the first place?
This is where everyone lines up with their favorite answers. Now, everyone of these answer can be true, but they are not necessarily true for every storm we face in life. Here are some of the common answers.
We live in a fallen world.
To deal with our sin.
To test our faith.
To build up our faith.
To teach us patience.
To purify our lives.
To bring us closer to God.
While all of these may be true, or are certainly the fruit of enduring the storms of life, they may not necessarily be the reason God allows these storms. May I suggest a reason that no one likes to talk about?
WE DON’T KNOW!
That’s right. Many times we face storms in life, and we don’t know the reason God is allowing them to crash against our boat. It doesn’t make sense. Why? Because we can only see the storm. We do not see the pathway that our boat is taking, nor the destination that the Lord is leading us to. During these times it may feel that we are totally alone. We may feel like the disciples and wonder – “Who then is this?” We know that God can still all the storms of life, but why has he left me in the boat?
In these times this is what I need to remember. Jesus is always with me! He never left the boat His disciples were in, and He will never leave me.
- “…for he himself has said, I will never leave you or abandon you.” Hebrews 13:5 CSB
He also is able to still the storms of life with a single word. Jesus has been given all power and authority from the Father. He stands always before the Father interceding for us, and He stands always ready as our High Priest to bring us grace and help in time of need. I may not understand the storm, but I need to acknowledge the One who can always say – “Peace, be still.”
As the boat, which is my life, is tossed and turned at times by the tempest of life, I have but one thing to do.
STAY IN THE BOAT!
Jesus is with me. I am safe and will arrive to His destination for my life if I simply – STAY IN THE BOAT! This is a simple principle, but also a powerful life changing one. When I am discouraged, I do not stop praying, reading my Bible, or going to church. I STAY IN THE BOAT. Throughout the storms in my past, and through the storms of my future, He will always be with me.
Lord, forgive me for the times I demand to know why I am facing the storm I find myself in. Forgive me for the times I have given others pat answers that simply ring hollow during their time of duress. Help me to stay in the boat with You, and encourage others to do the same. Help me always to look to You, and to help others see You for who You are. You are the one who always leads us safely through the storms of life and always brings us to Your destination and place of rest.
- “Even when I go through the darkest valley, I fear no danger, for you are with me; your rod and your staff — they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Only goodness and faithful love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord as long as I live.” Psalms 23:4-6 CSB
In Jesus Name!