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November 12, 2015

The Purpose in Your Journey

So they arrived at the other side of the lake…. Mark 5:1a (NLT) 

Have you ever been on a journey and wondered if you would ever make it to your destination?  Life can be like that even for Christ followers. When Mark records the story of the disciples’ journey across the lake or Sea of Galilee, his words were pregnant with meaning,

So they arrived at the other side of the lake…. 

You have to look back at Mark 4 to really appreciate the journey they were on. Jesus had just wrapped up a lengthy teaching on the lakeshore about the Kingdom of God. As the evening approached, He told His disciples, 

Let’s cross to the other side of the lake. Mark 4:35 (NLT)

Exhausted from a full day of teaching, Jesus falls fast asleep in the back of the boat. Mark tells us what happens next:

But soon a fierce storm came up. High waves were breaking into the boat, and it began to fill with water. (Vs. 37)

Fearful for their lives, the disciples wake up Jesus, shouting to him one of those questions you know they would later regret. “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown?” You can almost feel their panic! Maybe you’ve been there. You know God has told you what you should do and, about the time you start out doing it, you find yourself in a storm you never anticipated.  Jesus never told them they would encounter a storm on their journey. What He said is that they were going to cross the lake to the other side. Given their present circumstances, the disciples didn’t think they would even make it to the shore! Fierce storms can often cause us to wonder if God even cares. When Jesus wakes up, He rebukes the wind and the waves and, suddenly, the wind stopped and there was great calm. Then, He looked at the disciples and asked them,

Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith? (Vs. 39)

The disciples, like us, had underestimated Jesus’ power and concern. Jesus would use this encounter in their journey to prepare them for their destination. They had to realize that He had authority over the natural world for what they were about to experience when they arrived on the other side of the lake. No sooner would they dock their boat than a man possessed by an evil spirit came out of a cemetery to meet them! He was a crazed man who could not even be restrained with chains! Mark said,

No one was strong enough to subdue him. Mark 5:4 (NLT)

He wandered about the burial caves and in the hills howling and cutting himself with sharp stones. (Vs. 5)

This was the first of a number of spiritual encounters the disciples would witness when they arrived at their destination. Not only would they witness Jesus’ authority over the natural world, but they would see His power over the supernatural world as well. Their journey prepared them for their destination. They saw Jesus deliver the demonized man, heal a diseased woman, and raise a dead girl to life! Wow! Talk about an exciting adventure!

What about your journey in life? Whatever circumstances you are facing today may be the very means God is using to prepare you for your destination, to shape your character for the God-sized assignment in your life. There’s purpose in every problem. Your pain has a purpose. You may have more stormy weather than calm seas. Don’t panic. Press into your relationship with Jesus and trust Him to bring you through. Your journey is preparing you for the destination!