“On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, ‘Let us go across to the other side.’ And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling.
But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion.
And they woke him and said to him, ‘Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?’ And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, ‘Peace! Be still!’ And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, ‘Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?’ And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, ‘Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?’” (Mark 4:35-41)
It is uncommon to rest in the midst of a huge storm. More common responses would be fear, anxiety, worry. It would be rare enough, indeed, to be calm. But to sleep? To be able to remain asleep while a huge windstorm is happening and waves are breaking and crashing against the side of the small boat? Either he’s picked up some ZZZ-quil or there is something else entirely going on.
I propose to you that rest is possible in a storm.
It has to be. But how? How can you remain at peace and at rest in the midst of chaos, confusion, and unpredictable circumstances? What do you do when your plans fail? When the relationship falls apart? When the finances bust? When the dreams don’t meet your expectations? When the children disobey? When the family member dies? When the doctor says its cancer?
1. Know the One who calms the storm.
If He slept through it, it’s because He has command over it. The wind and the sea not only obey Him, they were created by Him. He has the power to shut them down if and when He sees fit. In the meanwhile, He calls us to not fear. The disciples awoke Him saying, “Do you not care that we are perishing?”
2. Understand that what feels like death is, in fact, not death.
The disciples accused Jesus of not caring that they were perishing. To them, the storm was life-threatening. Hence the fear and apprehension. To Jesus, there is not one moment where He does not have everything under control. He is not worried in the slightest by the storm. Nor has it taken Him by surprise. Refer to aforementioned sleeping.
3. The storm is a faith-building test.
Jesus’ response to the disciples accusation is, “Why are you still afraid? Have you still no faith?” Where they are tempted to fear, Jesus challenges them to a greater place of faith. Not in themselves. Not in their umbrellas. Not in their ability to hang on tight to the sides of the boat. But faith in the man asleep at the stern of the boat. The storm is an opportunity to make a declaration of faith not from a place beside still waters and green pastures, but from the stormy sea. That’s an authentic faith.
4. The storm reveals the mighty hand of God.
If there was no storm, how would the disciples have seen the power of God to calm it? If there was no storm, how would the disciples been given an opportunity to trust God through it? If there was no storm, how would they know that God is mighty to save?
The storms reveal the hand of God. They call us to a place of greater faith. They will not be the death of us. Because we know the One who can rebuke the wind and the waves and He’s calling us to trust in Him in a way we could not if we were not in the storm.
“For in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by.” (Psalm 57:1)