“Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” Mark 4:38
Do Something Quick
We sound just like that boatload of wet, weary disciples whenever self-pity takes up residence, and fear moves in as our right-hand companion. Though Jesus is right by our side, on ready alert to assist and defend us, we are unaware and believe him to be callous and uncaring about our pressing concerns.
On the evening of that day, after a long and arduous round of teaching, Jesus had asked his band to venture with him to the other side of the Sea of Galilee. What unfolds is a familiar narrative. They left the crowds behind, climbed into the boat, a great windstorm developed, and their boat began to sink. During the crises Jesus was sound asleep in the stern (See Mark 4:35-41).
Rather than remembering Jesus’ power, the disciples panicked. “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing,” the men accuse. “Get involved here Christ. You are the miracle worker. Do something quick!”
A Great Calm
Jesus rebuked the wind and the sea and they quickly settled down to normal. And then he chastised his disciples. “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” (Mark 4:40) “You were with me when I drove out the demons, cleansed the leper, restored the paralytic. You have seen me in action and yet you still do not believe.”
Perhaps Jesus had allowed them to be in that storm to reveal to the disciples the state of their own heart. He recognized that their faith was weak. He knew they had a long way to go. The men were probably unaware of the unbelief lurking within them, and wanting to strengthen them, Jesus placed them in circumstances beyond their control. Fishermen in their most familiar surroundings coming face to face with their fears.
Jesus wanted the disciples’ faith to take center stage. The far better statements to rouse Christ might have been, “Jesus! We know you to be completely in charge of heaven and earth. Now is a good time to show your dominion and stop this storm. We are in trouble here. We know you can fix it. Please do!”
“Fishermen in their most familiar surroundings coming face to face with their fears.”
Acting out our faith, believing God is able to handle our situations, is a critical component in our relationship with the Lord. “For we walk by faith, not by sight,” Paul tells us (2 Corinthians 5:7). We learn in Hebrews: “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him” (Hebrews 11:6). The New Testament reverberates with the message from the Old: “But the righteous shall live by his faith” (Habakkuk 2:4).
“There was a great calm,” the Scriptures tell us, after Jesus spoke to the storm. A great calm is what Christ offers us right where we are, in the middle of our own muddles, as we cry out in faith and believe him capable of carrying it all.
Father, thank you that Jesus is always near, most especially when we might believe he is not. Throughout this week would you help us to walk by faith, trusting you with our less than perfect scenarios, as we make our way through the journeys you ask us to venture with you.
Elizabeth Karram Mitchell