The life of Jesus on the Earth was anything but luxurious or laid back. In fact, it was filled with much carefulness and much to do along with some instances of peril for those around Him.
In Mark, chapter four, we do find a very familiar story of Jesus asleep in a ship and a great storm, but before we get to that, let’s back up. In the previous chapter, Jesus and His disciples had already been through much. Jesus had healed a man with a withered hand on the Sabbath day and folks were up in arms about that. He had cast out devils and healed many sick. His authority was even questioned by those in His own hometown and they accused Him of being possessed. So also, Jesus taught many parables as a result of these things. Once His work was done in Nazareth and the areas north, it was time to depart across the Sea of Galilee.
No doubt, daily life must have been completely overwhelming, not only for the Lord, but for those who followed Him and were witnesses of these things being heavily invested. Can you imagine being one of the 12? Constantly and consistently seeing folks healed, devils cast out, disputes with Pharisees and the like? It had to be utterly exhausting, but that’s how our walk with the Lord is. It is utterly exhausting, because it’s not an easy one. To walk with the Lord is spiritual warfare against Hell! Jesus never promised us it would be easy, but He did promise to be with us even until the end of the world! I know that sometimes things get so rough we think we are about to just die! Well, we’re not alone. Long before we felt that way, the disciples felt that way too! As they departed from Nazareth, and left behind several exhausting days, the worst was yet to
They got in the ship and began to row across the Sea of Galilee, and as they did, Jesus fell asleep in the hinder part of the ship, when suddenly there arose a great storm of wind and the waves beat into their ship and filled it with water. It looked like this would be the end and that they were going down. However, they knew they had somebody with them that they could call on and His name was Jesus! They had seen Him do so many miraculous things, but still they were fearful. Instead of waking Jesus and saying “Lord, help us, we know that you can do all things!” they frantically awoke the Lord and said to him, “Don’t you care that we’re about to die!”
Boy, doesn’t that sound like some of us? We’ve all been there, haven’t we? Jesus asked them, and I believe He is asking us today, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?”
See, it’s easy to trust the Lord in good times and in the easy times, but what about in the most challenging of times? Where is our faith then? See, the truth is, we must go through some things and see God’s faithfulness so that our faith can be built up! It’s like endurance running. When I was in high school and I joined the wrestling team, we had to run; it was a requirement. The problem was, I didn’t like to run, and I couldn’t run far to boot. Nevertheless, the more that I ran, each time I could run a little further and a little longer, until finally I could run two miles without stopping to rest. Faith is the same way. The more we experience these, what seems to us as, life and death experiences, we do experience God’s faithfulness and are able to see God’s hand at work in our lives. From there, faith is built up more and more! Faith means trust in its most basic form and God is working trust in us continually. Church, we must never forget that He is in control. God is on the throne and He is working this “life and death situation” out in your life for your good! He did it in this story for the disciples. Verse 39 says that Jesus rebuked the storm and a great calm came. Through this, Jesus built up faith in them by allowing them to go through the storm. They declared afterward, “Wow! What kind of man is this, that even the wind and seas obey Him!”
You can guarantee that faith had just been established and built up in their hearts. This is demonstrated by the next time they rowed across the sea. This time, Jesus wasn’t with them, but as they rowed in the storm, Jesus came walking to them on the water. When Peter recognized the Lord, he knew exactly where he needed to go.
Peter said “Lord, let me come to you!” because that faith had been built up from the earlier experience.
Now, there are three little words that Jesus spoke that greatly intrigue me from this passage. When the Lord spoke to the wind and the waves He said, “Peace, be still.”
Now saints, I think we need to apply these words into our daily life, because Jesus Christ is Lord of all!
He is the Lord of Heaven and the Lord of the Earth, the Lord of the body, and the Lord of the storm. And He is Lord over your situation and circumstances, too! He is the Lord of the storm that is raging inside you.
Sometimes, we just need to stand back, be at peace and be still and let Jesus work. There comes times in our lives, beloved, when we have done all we can do — and that’s all God expects of. Then we just need to be still and trust Him with all manner of faith! Remember, Jesus said in verse 40, “Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?”
In other words, “Why are you afraid during this season? Hasn’t He always provided? Hasn’t He always made a way when it seems like there was no way?”
Amen! Our God is able to do far above exceeding all that we can ever think or ask, for the Bible says, all things are possible to them that believe. If your faith is low today, be like the man that brought his possessed son to Jesus, who cried, “Lord, help my unbelief.”
Even in the man’s lack of faith, Jesus still had compassion on Him. Be still, saints. Just be still and be at peace because the Lord is going to work it all out. Just let go and trust Him. I know that’s easier said than done sometimes, but it’s not impossible. With man, things are impossible, but with God all things are possible! Israel thought that their escape from Pharaoh and Egypt was impossible as they pursued them as far as the Red Sea. There, the people began to complain, “Let’s just go back, it’s the easiest thing to do.”
Saints, be tough and trust God! Don’t shrink back when hard times come, because they will indeed come. The Bible says through much tribulation we must enter into the kingdom of God, but it will be worth it all in the end. At the Red Sea, Moses had done all he could do; he was God’s hand in Egypt, he led the people out, but now it was up to God. All Moses could do was be at peace and be still.
Therefore, Moses spoke to the children of Israel saying, “Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever.” (Exodus 14:13)
Sometimes, you may feel like you can’t pray, you can’t sing. You can’t do anything. That’s okay … just stand still and be at peace and watch God work. Trust that He will because He is our deliverer and savior! He has given promise to never leave us or forsake us! I want to remind you of what the great Apostle Paul instructed us to do. He said, “Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” (Ephesians 6:13).
Once we’ve done all we can do — just stand on that. Stand on the solid rock that is Jesus Christ. Stand on His promises, stand on His track record, stand on His goodness, stand with peace and be still.
“Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.” — Psalm 46:10
Steven Croft is the senior pastor of Boyd Memorial First Church of God in Athens.