February 23, 2012 Ė Monstrous Storms and Freaked Out Bystanders
39 And He arose and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, Hush now! Be still (muzzled)! And the wind ceased (sank to rest as if exhausted by its beating) and there was [immediately] a great calm (a perfect peacefulness). Ė Mark 4:39 AMP
The story of Jesus calming the storm is well documented in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. Mark describes the storm as a wind of hurricane proportions (Mark 4:37). Luke calls it a whirlwind revolving from below upwards (Luke 8:23). And Matthew simply calls it a violent storm (Matthew 8:24). But the results of this storm on the boat were the same in all three accounts: it was filling with water.
What was Jesus doing? He was sleeping. Some of the disciples in the boat were the same men who had spent their lives fishing on the Sea of Galilee. They had seen storms on this body of water before. But this one was different. Their boat was filling with water. More than likely they were throwing water from the boat as fast as they could. Some may have even been paddling with oars or even their hands for the nearest shore. They needed help. They called out to Jesus. Master, do you not care that we are perishing? Maybe they thought Jesusí extra pair of hands could help them. Maybe they thought this carpenter turned evangelist had a better solution than the seasoned fishermen on board. What they received was the surprise of their life.
Jesus awoke, and although He was probably wet from the crashing waves, He didnít shovel any water or paddle with His hands. He told the wind and the sea to hush and be still. Immediately there was a perfect peacefulness on the sea. There probably wasnít even enough wind to fill the sail of the boat to carry them to their destination. Were the disciples at peace after their deliverance from the storm? No way. Mark said that they were filled with awe and fear. In laymanís terms in this day and age we would probably say that they were freaked out. They had been through numerous storms in their day. But they had never seen anyone simply speak a few words and the storm go away. It would have been like something out of the Twilight Zone. I know I would have been freaked out. Some of those guys in the boat might have even thought that they had been in the midst of a bad dream with a good ending.
Christians today find themselves in the disciplesí shoes. We care for our family, go to work, raise children, pay bills, and try to serve God. But what happens when the storms of life come? What happens when times get hard or what do we do when tragedy strikes? Christians have the same reaction as the disciples in the boat. Master, do you not care that we are perishing?
I can openly confess that there have been many times over the years in my walk with God that I have been just like that. Whether it was financial hardships, marital problems, or family tragedies, I have wondered why God didnít keep me and my family protected. Why didnít He keep us safe from the storms of life? Master, did you not care that we were perishing?
But He did care. I can look back now and see every storm our family has made it through. He never let us perish. He kept us safe through the storm. And just like the disciples, there was peace after the storm. Like todayís verse says, the wind sank to rest as if exhausted by its beating. But it was not because I had done anything. God beat the storm for us.
What was my reaction to making it through the storm? I was just as surprised as the disciples were. I felt like a bystander, standing in awe, wondering how in the world we made it through and came to the outcome we now had before us.
Marlo and I were talking the other night about God has always been there for us over the years. Even when our lives were filled with doubt and fear of circumstances that seemed bleak in the eyes of the world, He never has failed us. He has been there to see us through everything, and Iím quite sure that when we get to heaven, Heíll show us how much more He was there than we ever thought.
Now Iím not saying that as Christians we should expect to move from one storm to the next. Iím saying that when storms come along that God should be our first solution and not our last. We all have a tendency even as Christians to seek worldly solutions to worldly problems. Thatís part of our human nature. But what ever happened to seeking godly solutions? What happened to asking God for an answer before seeking one on our own?
The disciplesí initial reaction to the storm was fear. They couldnít stop the water from filling the boat. When all else failed they cried out to Jesus. Today we are the same way. We are afraid of lifeís trials and try to face them without Godís help. I have been like that. I thought, okay God. I know youíre trying to grow me here, so Iíll just take care of it. Thatís right, just me, by myself, without any assistance from the One Who wanted to help me all along. I made God the bystander.
The truth is that God doesnít want to be a bystander. He wants to be there with us in the boat when we face every storm. Never leave the dock without Him. Believe it or not, He does care about you perishing.