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Jan 29, 2020, 3:06 PM

“If you faint in adversity, your strength is small.” Proverbs 24:10

An African adage states that ‘It is a child that will play with the tail of a lion thinking that it is a dog.’ Actually what it is saying in a veiled form here is that it is as a result of a child’s immaturity that he or she would think that way. Certainly, the lion is not identified by its tail but by its strength and of course its ferocity. It is true that the disciples of Jesus were ‘new recruits,’ not quite au fait with the power of the Master and the wealth of His divine wisdom. It meant having to go through a process to fathom this.

One of such instances happened when Jesus after a very busy day teaching, healing and dealing with a large crowd of people that had been following Him around wherever He went had physically drained Him. That evening, He ordered His disciples that they had better cross over to the other bank of the Sea of Galilee to have some rest and quietness. So He told them: “Let us go over to the other side.” (Mark 4:35)

As young disciples chosen to catch men after a life of catching only fish, the potentials of Master Jesus whom they were following were not readily evident. Like in every formal or informal training, it would require some time, particularly at the initial stage, for concepts and notions to sink in. Things do take time. Sometimes though in the enthusiasm of carrying out their functions you could miss certain vital instructions. With time though, the disciples would behave more maturely. 

After having embarked on the boat, “A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat so that it was nearly swamped.” (Mark 4:37) This was going to be their first test case in their new profession as disciples – it was not a question of their seamanship. They have been sailors all their lives and have crisscrossed on numerous occasions the Sea of Galilee. But this time around it was a test of the resilience of their faith. Their knowhow unfortunately served no useful purpose. They could no longer rely on their strength but in the One who had recruited them.

This test was a real-life situation and their lives were in jeopardy. What did they do? They decided to wake up the Master who was sleeping on the stern of the boat peacefully. These were trying times and their question confirmed it; “Teacher, don’t You care if we drown!” (Mark 4:38b) The cry of desperation! We have all been there one time or the other.

Hopelessness pushes us to ask those who are in a position to help why it is they are not doing anything about our situation. Is their attitude the result of apathy, nonchalance or they just cannot be bothered, we often wonder? The Master would later make a pronouncement stating: “Without me you can do nothing!” (John 15:5) Was this one of those instances?

Mentoring starts with putting your disciple on the spot – while still on familiar terrain -- yet they could not cope. All their efforts at trying to save the boat from capsizing and them drowning were ineffective. Their experience could do nothing for them. The reason is that this case was one of spiritual warfare and Jesus knew He would win it hands down. Besides, He could not afford to lose with all the eyes of his disciples on Him. Overwhelmed by the Master’s inability, the disciples would not have been around Him to even witness the crucifixion.

What happened is an eye-opener for the unbeliever. “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.” (Mark 4:39) In everyday parlance or in street jargon it would have been said: ‘Man pass man!’ What Jesus demonstrated by quelling their fears is that He has authority over His creation. He ordered the wind and the waves, otherwise the storm, to be quiet and instantly it obeyed. The storm ceased. How did He do it, you may ask?

The writer of Hebrews has given us the answer. “In these last days He (God) has spoken to us through His son, whom He appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe.” (Hebrews 1:2) “But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth ....” (Matthew 9:6) “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me (Jesus).” (Matthew 28:18) “... He (Jesus) taught as One who had authority...” (Matthew 7:29)  

Throughout His ministry, Jesus commanded the demons that had invaded the bodies of their victims to leave and they were sent packing. Reader, what is it that you are afraid of? Is you life in jeopardy? Are demons harassing you or have they illegally taken residence in your territory? No need to fear, the Son of God in whose name still resides power and authority is willing and able to help you if you are willing to put your case before Him this instant. Whatever is bothering you or has overpowered you, take it to the Lord in prayer.

What lesson should we learn regarding the attitude we should adopt when faced with adversity? God admonishes us to be still and know that He is God. The inexperienced disciples failed to discern Jesus’ authority, that when He said they should go to the other side, nothing could have stopped Him. If they had known this, there would not have been the need to wake Him up. One thing is certain though, a boat in which the Lord has entered cannot capsize; nor would a storm have put His life in jeopardy. 

 “He said to His disciples, “Why are you so afraid? “Do you still have no faith?” (Mark 4:40)   

In the light of what they saw, they remarked; ‘saying one to another, ‘What manner of man is this! For He commands even the wind and the water and they obey Him.” (Luke 8:25)    

The Lord Jesus can calm your worst storms and fears; that is the reason He came.

“If you falter in times of trouble, how small is your strength.”