Jesus had spent another busy day teaching the crowds and healing the sick. The crowds had grown so large that He got into a boat and sat in it out on the lake (Mark 4:1). He taught the people many things through parables. Later, when He was alone with the disciples, He shared with them the meaning of the parables.
When evening came, He and the disciples were exhausted. "Sail to the other side of the lake," He told them. But as they were trying to do so, a terrible storm arose that threatened to destroy them. They had received their orders from Jesus and were trying to obey Him. At that moment, however, it seemed as if they would have been better off if they had disobeyed Him and stayed on the shore!
The disciples were experienced fishermen and had been through many storms, but after exhausting hours of trying to withstand the violent gale, they realized that their efforts were futile. As they struggled to preserve their lives, "the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped" (Mark 4:37, NIV). They couldn't outlast the storm, and they couldn't maneuver through it. They were trapped . . . and would likely perish.
Where was Jesus while this was going on? He was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion!
"How can He sleep through all of this?" the disciples said to each other. "Doesn't He care about our situation?"
The disciples woke Jesus and said, "Teacher, don't you care if we drown?" (4:38).
We can empathize with the disciples. Sometimes when we try our best to obey God, seemingly insurmountable obstacles block our efforts. We struggle until we are worn out. We don't understand why Jesus is silent. Where are You, God? I'm trying to obey You. Why don't You help me?
Then Satan whispers in our ears, "Abandon ship! Jesus doesn't care about you. I'm going to destroy you!"
When, in desperation, the disciples woke Jesus, He immediately got up, rebuked the wild winds, and said to the waves, "‘Quiet! Be still!' Then the wind died down and it was completely calm" (4:39).
In their humanness, the disciples might have wondered why Jesus hadn't done that earlier. But Jesus gently chided them for their panicking. "Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?" (4:40).
They had seen Jesus heal people and perform miracles, yet they had not realized that He was also Master over the storm. So, "they were terrified and asked each other, ‘Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!'" (4:41).
How like the disciples we are!
Although in the past God has worked many times on our behalf, when we face a new crisis we tend to panic. Then, when we turn to God in absolute desperation, He steps in and calms the storm--or He makes a way through it--and we arrive safely on the other side. God does what we cannot do.
Are you ready to abandon ship? Don't give up! Your situation is not hopeless. If you have invited Jesus into your heart, then the Master of the storm is in your boat with you. No matter how dire your circumstances, He guarantees that you will safely reach the other side.