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Saturday, June 15, 2024

Storms strengthen shaky faith

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Rev. Johnson A. Beaven III

That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat… 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…He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. Mark 4:35-39 NIV

After having taught by the seaside, Jesus and his disciples set out to sail to the other side of the Sea of Galilee. As they sailed Jesus fell asleep in the elevated stern at the back of the boat using a cushion as a pillow.

Then unexpectedly out of nowhere arose a great windstorm that was unrelenting with its beating on the boat. The ferocious winds drove waves into the boat so that it was being swamped with water. Presumably, the disciples were rowing in a manner to keep the boat from capsizing.

That is how life is sometimes. One minute you’re calmly breezing through, then out of nowhere you’re blown away by something that can put you in the fight of your life. Someone has said, we are always in one of three places: either you are in a storm, coming out of a storm, or headed into a storm.

Sudden storms have a way of shaking up our lives making life topsy-turvy and our faith somewhat shaky, not steady while in the movement of the storm. This was the state the disciples found themselves in. Yet while they were panicking in the severe storm, Jesus was in the stern of the ship passed out sound asleep. After being awakened by the disciples, Jesus speaks and stills the storm. The great lesson from this is: what we are problemed with, is not problematic to God.

None of us like being in storms, especially a life-threatening situation like this one. Often God uses storms in life, which may expose some shakiness in our faith, to strengthen us. This is borne out from three sets of questions in this storm stilling episode (verses 38, 40, 41): 1) the disciples to Jesus – Master, don’t you care we are going down, about to drown? 2) Jesus to the disciples – Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith? 3) the disciples among themselves – Who then is this, that even the wind and the waves obey him? These questions address three areas we are confronted with in storms: 1) dealing with fear, 2) developing in faith, and 3) discovering fact about who God is.

The disciples perceived Jesus’ sleeping as a lack of concern for their welfare. Unfortunately, their fear of perishing was greater than the providential presence of Jesus. God’s silence in a storm is not a sign of his lack of concern. It does not mean that God does not care. In this episode, it was a sign that Jesus had a complete confidence in his Father.

Jesus’ questions to the disciples imply that he expected them in this situation to respond in faith, not fear. And rightly so, for by this time the disciples had witnessed Jesus’ power in healing many people from different diseases, casting out devils and unclean spirits from people, and having raised a widow’s dead son. In every exhibition of witnessing God’s ability, we should grow more in faith to the lessening of fear.

Lastly, our understanding of God should be enlarged from coming through a storm. When God manifests himself, we should have a greater realization and heightened insight into who he is and what he is able to do. In stilling this storm, God reveals that he is the Master Caretaker (1 John 4:18; 1 Peter 5:7), the Master Calmer (Psalm 89:8, 9), and the Master Creator (John 1:1, 3).

Rev. Johnson Beaven III is a speaker, theological educator, and ministry mentor. For more information, view linktr.ee/johnsonbeaven. Contact him via email at jb3ministries@gmail.com or X (Twitter) @jbeaven.

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