...[Jesus] said to them, "Let us go across to the other side." And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat...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?" - from Mark 4:35-41
A couple of things in this passage jumped out at me in a new way this week...
"Let us go across to the other side." Jesus initiated this boat ride. The disciples would probably not have found themselves in a floundering boat in the middle of a storm-tossed sea if Jesus himself had not taken them there. They would have been safe on shore instead. Jesus's disciples were not in this storm by accident - Jesus took them into it.
"Let us go across to the other side." The storm itself was not their ultimate destination. Jesus took them into the storm. Then He took them through the storm. Then He took them to the other side. The other side - that place Jesus wanted them to be; a place they could not have reached if they had not gotten into the boat and gone into the storm.
"Let us go across to the other side." This is NOT: sometimes terrible things just happen, for whatever reason, but it's all going to be okay because Jesus is with me and He will keep me safe and will calm the storms in my life. No, this is: Jesus is going to take me into terrible situations - deliberately - because He has something to teach me. I am not a victim of capricious circumstances.
"...the waves were breaking into the boat..." - and the disciples were afraid. They were looking at the terrible situation that threatened to overwhelm them, and they were afraid.
"...there was a great calm..." - and the disciples were very afraid. The disciples realized they were dealing with something - someone - even more dangerous than a stormy sea.
I want to find comfort in the hope that when my life is "stormy," Jesus will "calm the sea." Big waves are scary. If the sea is calm, I am safe. At least I feel safe. Smooth sea = safe; choppy sea = not safe. That is a lie, and it is not living by faith. If I am looking at the water - at the circumstances - whether the water is stormy or calm, whether the circumstances are painful or pleasant - if I am looking at what is going on outside the boat, out there in the sea of my life, I AM LOOKING IN THE WRONG DIRECTION. And I am basing my security and my peace on the wrong thing. I am wrongly preoccupied with weather conditions and shipping reports.
The point isn't: what is going on outside the boat?
The point is: what is going on inside the boat? And more importantly, WHO is in the boat, and WHOSE idea was this boat ride in the first place?
When I stop staring at the crashing waves in panicked hysteria and look instead at the One who said, "Let us go across to the other side..." -
I will at once feel both more terrified and more safe than I have ever felt before.
Jesus, give me faith to get into the boat. Once I'm in the boat, Jesus, give me faith to fix my eyes on You, so that I care not whether the sea is stormy or calm, but I live each moment celebrating this great truth instead: I am with my Savior!
(Originally posted Tuesday, April 21, 2015. I realize this is a fairly recent post, but I needed to be reminded of these truths again today!)
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