Have you ever just done something automatically? Without even thinking? There are things that I do automatically like breathing and blinking and turning my tea water on in the morning.
I wish they would make an electric tea kettle with a timer on it so I could set it to turn on at a certain time in the morning like they do for coffee pots. Then my water would be ready before I even got out of bed. Wouldn’t that be heavenly?
But I digress.
As evening came, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s cross to the other side of the lake.” So they took Jesus in the boat and started out, leaving the crowds behind (although other boats followed). But soon a fierce storm came up. High waves were breaking into the boat, and it began to fill with water. Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion. The disciples woke him up, shouting, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown?” When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Silence! Be still!” Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm. Then he asked them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?” (Mark 4:38-40)
I’m pretty sure it was fair weather when they pushed off from shore or they wouldn’t have gone anywhere. The storm was a surprise. It came up out of nowhere. It was pummeling the boat and the waves were crashing over the sides, flooding it.
Jesus was there, but He was sleeping and the disciples were panicking. They went and woke Him up by shouting. They were shouting at Jesus. Shouting at the Son of God. Shouting.
They weren’t whispering. They were shouting. And they weren’t shouting praises. They weren’t shouting, “Glory!” They were shouting accusations. Let that sink in.
“Jesus! I thought You cared about us. If You did, You wouldn’t be sleeping. You would be doing something to help us!”
Ever shout accusations at Jesus? “God! Where are You? I thought You loved me. I thought You were good! If You are, then Why are You letting this happen?” Ummm….guilty! 🙁
Jesus did help them. He spoke to the storm and said, “Peace! Be still!” And the waves and wind obeyed Him immediately.
Then He turned to the guys and said, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have NO faith?” In other words, “Don’t you know Me at all by now? Don’t you trust Me yet?”
After all they’d seen…after all they’d heard…after being with Him day in and day out…after all the miracles they’d witnessed…after walking with Him all that time, they still didn’t trust Him.
Fear is an automatic response. It happens without conscious thought or effort on our part. When something scares me, without any thought at all, my heart starts racing, my pulse beats faster, and my hands start shaking.
You can’t really help that automatic response. It happens in a split second. And I’m sure that’s what happened to the disciples.
But even though they couldn’t control that initial response, they could control what happened next – and that’s why Jesus said what He said.
They never turned their fear to faith. Not once. There isn’t any record of them saying anything like,
“Hey guys! Wait a minute! This looks bad – life threatening even – but let’s not forget who we have sleeping in this boat. If He’s not concerned, we shouldn’t be either. After all, He said, ‘Let’s go to the other side,’ and everything He says happens just like He says it. Let’s wake Him up and see what kind of miracle He’ll do now!”
No! They never replaced their feelings of fear with faith and trust in Jesus. They didn’t come to Him with any faith. It was just fear. (I call that nervous praying, which is better than no praying at all. But…..)
And He was baffled. “Don’t you know Me by now?”
He can be trusted. It doesn’t matter what we face…….He will always be bigger. He will always be more powerful.
The wind and waves still have to obey His commands.
The initial response of fear happens without thinking, but what we do next is up to us.
We can keep living in fear if we want to. OR…we can replace fear with faith and have peace. And sleep through the storm. And watch what miracle He will perform for us next.
My favorite part of this story isn’t even found in the book of Mark. It’s in Acts 12 (you can read it here) where Herod had James killed and Peter imprisoned. The church prayed for him, and God sent an angel to help him escape.
Verse 7 says, “The angel struck his side to awaken him…”
The angel had to wake him up! Peter was in prison. He knew Herod had James put to death. He knew His turn was next. But when the angel got there to rescue him, he was sleeping in the prison. He learned His lesson back there on the boat.
Faith brings such peace with it that even the threat of impending death couldn’t steal Peter’s sleep.
Fear or faith? The choice is ours. Which one are you going to choose?