MARK 4:37-41: “And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!” NKJV
OBSERVATION: How much confidence do I have in God? As I face a New Year, am I ready to enter it with my sails trimmed with confidence, or am I paddling slowly and cautiously in fear of what is to come?
Whenever I read this account of Jesus and His disciples, I always wonder – How could Jesus sleep on a pillow when the little boat was being tossed on a rough and windy sea? No doubt I am not alone. The disciples were both perplexed and afraid. They were not content with letting Jesus sleep. They had to wake Him up and ask,
- “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?”
Many times when Jesus was asked a question, He replied with an action, and then followed up with a question. This is what He did in this situation. Jesus stood up, He rebuked the wind and the waves, He commanded His peace to enter into this situation, and then He turned to ask His disciples a question. He did not rebuke them for their question. He simply questioned them about their faith.
- “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?”
Now here is an interesting observation. In all three Gospel accounts the Bible does not record the disciples giving an answer to Jesus. In all three accounts they simply look at one another and say to one another (not to Jesus),
- “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!”
The central issue at play here is confidence. And faith is the essence of confidence.
- “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.” Hebrews 11:1-3 NKJV
Confidence in the spiritual realm is determined by our ability to see the invisible. In fact, faith has everything to do with what we cannot see, but is indeed real. Jesus knew the Father. In His humanity He saw the Father as each one of us are able to see Him – through the eyes of faith. Yet, Jesus was without sin. There was nothing impairing His spiritual vision. He knew without a shadow of a doubt that the Father was present in the storm and that His Father would provide for and protect Him.
This is the reason Jesus could sleep in the storm and the disciples could not. Jesus had complete confidence in His Father. The disciples did not. Jesus could see with unhindered eyes of faith. The disciples were limited by their spiritual sight which was impaired with doubt and fear.
We need to see all of life through the eyes of faith!
I will never forget a very scary experience I had one day sailing out of Newport Harbor. The day looked perfect for sailing. I motored through the harbor and reached the break water. The sun was shining, the wind was perfect for sailing, and I raised my sails and set a course for a wonderful day. Then something happened that was completely unexpected. A dense fog rolled in and my visibility was cut to zero! I could only see the compass in my cabin and nothing else. A moment of panic hit me!
I was not alone. I had two guests who had never been sailing. So my anxiety was heightened when they asked me – “Are we going to be alright?” I assured them we were, but deep inside my heart I was crying out to the Lord – “What do I do?.” Then I remembered my sailing lessons. I had been sailing directly parallel to the coastline. My distance from the shore was safely away from shoreline rocks that surrounded the coastline. I looked at my compass and set my course to maintain the same compass setting that I was on when the fog hit.
The dense fog seemed to last for an eternity. However, in a short time it began to break up. And, when I looked out on the horizon, I was still on the right course. I had adverted danger and a possible collision with another boat simply by staying on course. In my heart I gave thanks to the Lord. We all enjoyed a wonderful day of sailing. When panic knocked at my door all I had to do was pray, remember what I had been taught, and put my confidence in the compass setting that I was on!
Our faith, our confidence in God, is our compass setting during the storms of life. If we walk in faith, if we choose to trust in God’s Word and promises more than in our circumstances, if we acknowledge that our loving Heavenly Father is always in control, we too can take rest during the storms of life. This does not mean that we sit idly by and do nothing. Sometimes we are called to bail water, and sometimes we are called to speak to the storm. However, in either situation, we are called to do so with confidence in God, standing firm in our faith.
If God called the world we see (visible) into existence through His Word (the invisible), we can rest assured that He will guide us by His written Word – safely through the storms of life. Jesus does not always take us out of the storms of life. Remember, even Jesus had to endure the storm of the cross! Yet, He always guides us through the storm, gives us the grace we need to navigate the storm, and leads us into safe harbor on the other end of the storm. Just as I had to maintain my course on my sailboat, so I have to maintain my course in life. And, I maintain my course through the confidence of faith, faith in God!
Lord, I do not know what the year ahead will hold for me. Yet, I know that You hold each second, minute, hour, and day in Your loving and all powerful hands. Help me to place my faith and confidence in You. Help me to hang on during each storm. Help me to faithfully navigate through each storm by Your Word. And, help me to know that at any time You can say – “Peace be still!”
In Jesus Name!