On Sunday morning I had the privilege of sharing God’s word with our church family.
We looked at Mark 4:35-41:
On that day, when evening had come, He said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” And leaving the crowd, they took Him with them in the boat, just as He was. And other boats were with Him. 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?”
I love this passage of Scripture and have personally learned so much from it. Below are some additional thoughts that didn’t make the cut in the final proof of the sermon. These thoughts weren’t any less important than the points I made Sunday, I just went in a different direction, and for the sake of time had to leave things out. I am glad to be able to share them with you now.
Even with Jesus in the boat – the storm still came!
Let’s be honest, some of the “storms” in our lives are of our own doing. Oftentimes, we are looking to blame the devil when the buck needs to stop with us! When we can’t blame the devil, we turn our frustrations toward God. Let’s not blame God when we suffer the consequences for the choices we have made. There is a Scriptural principle and law at work here. In Galatians 6 we are told, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.”
I love what Warren Wiersbe said about this passage in comparing the disciples to Jonah. He said, “Jonah ended up in the storm because of his disobedience, but the disciples got into a storm because of their obedience to the Lord.” When we step out in obedience to the Lord there will be tests and trials along the way. There will be peace, but not always smooth sailing. Walking with Jesus is not a get-out-of-the-storm-free pass! As I shared on Sunday, believers and non-believers have this in common, we are all in the same storm. We are all dealing with the harsh reality of COVID-19. As believers, we are not exempt from the storms of this life. Jesus said in John 16:33 that in this world we will have tribulation! James gives the proper lens for how God wants us to view these trials.
James 1:2-4 “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.”
One of my favorite Spurgeon quotes says with regard to trials, “I have learned to kiss the wave that throws me up against the Rock of Ages!” Your tears and trials as a believer in Christ are not wasted! The words of Romans 8 are as true for us as they were for the Apostle Paul.
Romans 8:28 “And we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose.”
There is no question that Jesus was upset with the disciples. He called them out, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” But listen, He didn’t give up on them! And praise God, He doesn’t give up on us even when we mess up! Proverbs 3:12 says, “For the LORD corrects those He loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights.” Jesus was far from done with these men. This was just the beginning for them- and for us!
Kiss the wave. Look to the Savior. Shine His light!
– Pastor Seth