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September 9, 2020

When Storms Rock Our World

“A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke Him and said to Him, ‘Teacher, don’t You care if we drown?’” Mark 4:37-38 (NIV)

We feel comfortable when we think we are in control of our circumstances. It gives us the illusion of living in a protective bubble. Then God allows things to happen around us that are completely out of our control that burst that protective bubble. Suddenly our hearts are filled with panic, worry and fear. We forget how big God is and how much God cares. If you’ve ever felt like that or perhaps, you’re feeling that way now with the uncertainty of our times, you’re in good company. In fact, you’re right where God would have you, in the school of discipleship, learning by experience to put your trust in Him despite the circumstances or even your helpless condition. This is exactly where the first disciples found themselves when Jesus told them to cross to the other side of the lake.  Little did they know at the time what they would learn as they followed His instructions and set sail. After all, they were familiar with this lake. It was the Sea of Galilee. Many of them had fished its waters and sailed across to the other side numerous times. No big deal. We’ve got this! Until the unthinkable happened! Mark records the events like this, “A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke Him and said to Him, ‘Teacher, don’t You care if we drown?’” Mark 4:37-38 (NIV)

These disciples just hit a Cat 4 or 5 storm with waves breaking over the boat threatening to swamp it and swallow each one of them. Where was Jesus? Why wasn’t He doing anything about it? Mark tells us that Jesus was asleep! Asleep! Really? Have you ever gone through a storm in your life and wondered if God was asleep at the wheel? You tried everything to get the situation under control, but it was so out of control you didn’t think you would make it! You know how these disciples felt. They were understandably worried! Their lives were at risk! So what did they do? What would you do? They woke Jesus up and said, “Teacher, don’t You care if we drown?” They doubted His care!  Does God really care? Worry and fear will sink you when you forget how much God cares and how big God is. I love the honesty of Scripture here. It doesn’t hide the humanness of these early Christ followers. Following Christ doesn’t exempt you from worry. In fact, studies show that those people who never worry really have lower IQ’s. So, when someone tells you that they never worry, maybe the lights are on but nobody is at home. Seriously, though, these disciples teach us what to do with our worries. Don’t deny them – take your worries to Jesus. He does really care! They took their worries to Jesus and ask Him, “Don’t You care?” 

Then something happened that redirected their fears. Check out what Mark says next. “He (Jesus) got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, ‘Quiet! Be still!’ Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to His disciples, ‘Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?’ They were terrified and asked each other, ‘Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey Him!’” Mark 4:39-41 (NIV) Jesus not only demonstrated how much He cares, He showed them how big God is! Wow!  The disciples didn’t lose their fear, they simply redirected it. Now they were more terrified by who this Jesus really is! We’ve been talking about how to pop that control bubble we like to think we live in that makes us feel safe and secure, protected from hurt or pain; in control of our circumstances and others around us. The only way to do it is to really see God as He is and then surrender to God just as I am. Have you done that yet? Isn’t it time? Do it now. Admit how really helpless you are and affirm God’s love for you. Thank Him for being God and that you’re not. Offer yourself to Him just as you are and rest in His care and control.