Dec 16, 2013, 9:34 AM
When seasoned fishermen were at the throes of death, threatened by billowing waves and a raging tempest, they were terrified, afraid for their lives. All that they had learnt as fishermen, all their seafaring knowledge and experience, had been put into practice but the storms continued to rage and 'the waves broke over the boat.' They had no resources left; they had expended all their bullets of experience with no apparent success. It was then that they turned to Jesus who, whilst all of this was going on, was fast asleep in the stern - at the back of the boat. (Mark 4:35-41)
They had been recruited as disciples all right. They had gone through their initial initiation and training but unfortunately they had not studied the Master well enough. He was no ordinary Rabbi. We get to know people with time, progressively. All we need to know about someone not become apparent at the maiden encounter. Sometimes we have to discover their built-in qualities with a searchlight. If they had known Jesus' capabilities they would have kept their calm rather than worry over a storm. A local adage renders it thus: It is a child who will play with the tail of a lion mistakenly thinking it is a dog. It is not always that we fathom who we are dealing with.
And so our Lord Jesus was woken up from his slumber by a group of bewildered disciples, gripped by fear and the thought of imminent danger and even death. When He got up He rebuked the storm; "Quiet! Be still!" (verse 39) as the disciples looked on in utter amazement. Then He turned to His confounded disciples to rebuke them also: "Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?" (verse 40) They had doubted His ability to calm storms even though they had seen him at work healing a paralytic along with many other sick people; driving out demons and evil spirits from the possessed. Somehow they could not make the connection. They were not sensitive to His powers or His ability to perform miracles.
At the start of their difficulty it never occurred to them that Jesus was in the boat, and that He could do something about the storm. They must have been thinking that that was a matter their collective experience could handle. It is usually the case with us; we want to give it a try in order to have a 'hands on' experience. We sweat and toil until our energy is sapped only to realise that there is nothing we could do about the situation after all. It was when push came to shove that it dawned on them to call upon the name of Jesus for help - as if it were a last resort. Probably they had said to themselves what use is the Master to us in a situation like that if He was fast asleep? It was when no solution was in sight and there was imminent danger that they sounded the alarm. It was a desperate appeal. "Teacher, don't you care if we drown?" (Mark 4:38)
After He had calmed the storm they looked at Him in awe and remarked 'even the wind and the waves obey him.' They could not have imagined that happening at the wave of His hand and as He uttered those three short words. Up until His death they could not figure out the power of Jesus as the Son of God; not until He conquered death did these things begin to take shape in their minds.
With Jesus in our boat we should be smiling at the storm, confident that no harm will befall us.
If I were to ask, 'is Jesus still in your boat' what would be your response? Would your boat capsize with Jesus in it? If Jesus is still doing miracles in your life then He is still in your boat, ready to take on the enemy who wants to destroy your life. If He is taking control of your life then He is still in your boat. But if you are still crumbling under your circumstances, instead of taking authority over them it is time you renew your faith and look things over. You could have lost focus.
Are you still underrating Jesus the Christ, the Anointed One of God, thinking He is sleeping when what he wants to see is just how far can you go when the devil taunts you? Or would you still want to exercise your independence? Are you going to call it quits or would you fight back in His mighty name?
If Jesus is still in your boat it is because you believe He could intervene in every aspect of your life. Why don't you stop the worrying therefore so that He would take charge?
Keeping Jesus Christ in your boat does not mean an end to your problems however. The problems will come but be sure He will deflect every punch from the evil one - even after just waking up from His sleep. His authority is final. When He says 'stop' it will stop. Is anything too hard for Him to do?
Steering the ship of life in the troubled waters of this century can be quite an ordeal. We may want to do it all by ourselves but without Jesus at the helm, all our efforts would amount to nothing. No matter the years of experience and the host of certificates, diplomas and degrees in our curriculum vitae, some life-threatening situations would overwhelm us - however hard we paddle our canoes - and wreck it all.
God never promised a trouble-free existence for his creatures. He nevertheless assures us that when the trials come and we call upon Him He will be there to rescue us, to get us out of the pit. ".and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honour me." (Psalm 50:15) "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble." (Psalm 46:1) "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Saviour; .Do not be afraid for I am with you;" (Isaiah 43:2-3,5) "Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes before you; He will never leave you nor forsake you." (Deuteronomy 31:6)
It is time we set all our hopes on the one of whom the disciples said after He calmed the storm: "Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him." (Mark 4:41) He is Jesus, mighty to save.