Matthew and Luke don’t bear this out in their records, but they do tell us about the disciple’s fear: “Then His disciples came to Him and awoke Him, saying, ‘Lord, save us! We are perishing!’” (Mat. 8:25). “And they came to Him and awoke Him, saying, ‘Master, Master, we are perishing…!’” (Luke 8:24).
But Mark uniquely communicates their aggregate anxiety in the form of a question: “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?’” (Mark 4:38). The NET version translates it, “Teacher, don’t you care that we are about to die?”
What strikes me about this entire episode is that—put your seat belt on—JESUS INTENTIONALLY LED THE GROUP INTO THE STORM. You might need to read that again because it’s not a misprint.
Yes, the Lord purposely steered this little band of future church leaders into the tempest and then went to the back of the boat to lay down on a cushion for a power nap: “Now when He got into a boat, His disciples FOLLOWED Him” (Mat. 8:23). “On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side.” (Mark 4:35). “Now it happened, on a certain day, that He got into a boat with His disciples. And He said to them, ‘Let us cross over to the other side of the lake.’ (Luke 8:22). That’s right—it was Jesus who led the group on this frightening excursion.
And that’s because He was eventually going to leave the early church in the hands of this weak rabble of Jewish devotees. And one of the ways THEY would learn to trust in Him and lead with such courage was by riding it out on the whitecaps and watching His deliverance. “Teacher, don’t you care that we are about to die?”
Did Jesus care?! Of course He cared—and that’s why He took them out on the boat trip across Galilee in the first place!
The disciples obviously knew that He had miraculous ability or they never would have awakened Him. They had witnessed His mighty works and knew something of His identity. If they believed that He was impotent to affect change on the circumstances they would have never roused Him from His slumber. You see, they knew that He had power; they just didn’t recognize that He had ALL power—over sickness and disease, over sin, over the grave, over demonic forces, and even over the elements themselves.
Jesus cared so much that He let them learn that important lesson out on the troubled waters of the sea.
Want a mustard seed for today?
If your boat is filling up with water from the monsoon, if the wind looks to collapse your sails and shatter your mast, IT COULD BE that’s exactly where the Lord wants you to be. You see, SOMETIMES Jesus takes you out on the lake and let’s you watch the squall (to the point where you think you’re going to die! Mark 4:38) so that you can learn to lean on and trust in Him!
If you never get scared, how will you ever learn to place your whole-hearted faith in Him (Job 13:15)?! How else can you learn that He really cares (1 Pet. 5:7)?
What really makes me chuckle about his storm story is that one minute the disciples are afraid of the wind and waves, and then the next minute, they’re really afraid of the Man who stopped it all with a sentence. “And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, ‘Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!” (Mark 4:41). What a way to learn and build faith!
Are you afraid? Is your craft about to capsize?
I have a recommendation. Don’t ask Jesus if He cares, because He does. Ask Him and trust Him…to calm the storm…in your heart (Phil. 4:6-7).
“God loves you and I love you and that’s the way it’s gonna be!” – Mike
It was a Sunday morning, October 23, 1983.
A Hezbollah suicide bomber drove his truck packed with over 2,000 pounds of explosives into the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon.
214 Americans were killed while they slept in their beds; another 128 were wounded in the horrific blast.
A few days after the tragedy, Marine Corps Commandant, Paul Kelly, visited some of the survivors in a Frankfurt, Germany hospital.
Among them was a Corporal named Jeffrey Nashton, who had been severely wounded in the attack.
Nashton had so many tubes running in and out of his body that someone said he looked more like a machine than a man.
As Kelly neared him, Nashton, struggling to move and racked with pain, motioned for a piece of paper and a pen.
He wrote a brief note and then passed it back to the Commandant.
The slip of paper had only two words – “Semper Fi,” the Latin motto of the Marine Corps, meaning “forever faithful.”
Thought: Christianity in general and marriage in particular aren’t simply about starting journeys – they’re about being forever faithful.
INCARNATE: 10 Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life (Rev. 2:10).
“God loves you and I love you and that’s the way it’s gonna be!” – Mike
DR. PAUL BRAND was an orthopedic surgeon who specialized in treating leprosy in India and Louisiana. Leprosy (or Hansen’s disease) is a disfiguring disease cause by a bacterial infection. Once considered incurable, leprosy can now be cured with antibiotics. One effect of the disease is that it destroys the nerves and causes numbness–a lack of pain sensation–in the limbs.
On one occasion, at a time when the disease was still considered incurable and the antibiotic treatments were still unknown, Dr. Brand was traveling by train in England.As he was getting ready for bed, he removed his shoes and socks and discovered to his horror and dismay that he had no feeling in his heel. He rubbed his heal, and the numbness persisted. He took a pin out of one of the shirts in his suitcase and jabbed into hard into the heel. Blood beaded up from the puncture wound, but still he felt no pain.
His mind awhirl with fear, Dr. Brand spend most of the night lying awake, imagining his new life as a leprosy victim. He would have to live in isolation from his family and suffer the progressive deterioration caused by a then-incurable disease.
In the morning, he sat up in bed and decided to conduct one more test. He took the pin, jabbed it hard into his heel–and cried out in pain! It hurt! Thank God, it hurt!
Then he realized what had caused the numbness the night before. During the long train ride along the English coast, he had hardly gotten up once to stretch his legs. The long period of immobility had numbed the nerve leading to his heel. From then on, Dr. Brand would often speak of what he called “the blessing of pain.”
We tend to think of pain as a curse, not a blessing, and that’s understandable. Pain hurts. Pain brings pressure to bear upon our bodies, minds, emotions, and spirits. But God sometimes has a purpose in our pain that we cannot see. And He is always present in our pain even when we can’t sense Him there.
Ray C. Stedman, “The Pressure of Pain,” Let GOD Be GOD–Life-Changing Truths from the Book of Job, 37.
“It is good for me that I have been afflicted, That I may learn Your statutes.” Psa. 119:71
“God loves you and I love you and that’s the way it’s gonna be!”–Mike
LONG AGO, IN the days of sailing ships, a terrible storm arose and a ship was lost in a very deserted area.
Only one crewman survived, washed up on a small, uninhabited island.
In his desperation, the castaway daily prayed to God for help and deliverance from his lonely existence.
Each day, he looked for a passing ship and saw nothing.
Eventually, he managed to build a very crude hut in which he stored the few things he had recovered from the wreck, and those things he was able to make to help him.
One day, as the sailor was returning from his daily search for food, he saw a column of smoke.
As he ran to it, he say that it was arising from his hut, which was in flames.
All was lost.
Now, not only was he alone, but he had nothing to help him in his struggle for survival.
He was stunned and overcome with grief and despair.
He fell into a deep depression and spent many a sleepless night wondering what was to become of him and questioning whether life itself was even worth the effort.
Then one morning, he arose early and went down to the sea.
There, to his amazement, he saw a ship lying offshore, and a small rowboat coming toward him.
When this once-marooned man met the ship’s captain, he asked him, “How did you know to send help? How did you know I was here?”
The captain replied, “Why, we saw your smoke signal last week. But, by the time we could turn our ship around and sail against the wind, it had taken us several days to get to you. But here we are.”
Calamity may strike, but we must remember that God can use that calamity as a means to bring greater blessing to our lives.
Right now, you may feel as if your life has gone up in smoke. You may feel as if your heart is going through fiery trials.
I want you to know that your trial may be used by God as the very instrument that will bring you closer to Him and bring blessing from His hand.
That reality would eventually become true in Job’s life.
God drew Job closer to Himself than ever before.
God will use our times of testing and trials to bring us even closer to Himself. Steven J. Lawson, “I Just Want to Lie Down and Die,” When All Hell Breaks Loose, 69-70
“Then Job answered the LORD and said, ‘I know that You can do everything, and that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You” (Job 42:1-2).