This article was originally written by Jeff Kinley and published in the December 2018 issue of HomeLife magazine.
Jesus Christ was a miracle-working Messiah. And had you been one of His original twelve disciples, you would have experienced a fair share of those divine encounters. One of those miraculous moments is recorded in chapter four of Mark’s gospel.
It took place one night while Christ and His men were sailing across the Sea of Galilee. During their journey, a “great windstorm” (Mark 4:37) came upon them, tossing them around like a paper cup on the ocean. Waves crashed over the boat’s sides, and it began filling up with water. Even so, Jesus remained sound asleep in the back of the boat. That may sound hard to believe, but considering His previous day, it’s no surprise the Lord was in a deep sleep. Teaching. Healing. Giving. Loving. All…day … long. Now His physical resources were depleted. He was worn out. Fatigued. Bushed. In the South, we call that being “dog-tired.”
Perhaps you can identify.
But now, scrambling to stay topside, the panicked disciples dialed 911.
It was pitch dark on the Sea of Galilee. The wind was howling. The storm was raging. The rain was pelting them. The boat was rocking, and the waves were threatening. And these men were holding on for dear life, white-knuckling the sides of the boat. And one of them must have shouted, “Somebody wake the Master … NOW!”
Shaking Jesus out of His deep slumber, they began accusing Him of not caring about them.
“Teacher! Don’t you care that we’re going to die?” (Mark 4:38).
In their distress, they equated problems and difficult circumstances with God’s not caring. Sound familiar? Ever wondered where God is in your storm? Ever felt like He was asleep, oblivious, or apathetic to your suffering? Maybe you called on Him, but all you got was more wind and rain. Like He had given up on you. You felt alone. Forgotten. Like God was asleep.
“God, don’t you care about me anymore?”
If Peter could step out of that boat and off the pages of Scripture, he would put a drenched hand on your shoulder and declare, “We all know how you feel.”
But this storm would actually prove to be a pop quiz in disguise, given by Jesus to test their faith. The raging sea and black night were merely a backdrop against which God was about to display His glory. Like a master artist, Jesus was on the verge of brush-stroking a miracle in their midst.
Waking up, the Lord issued two strong rebukes: one to the wind and waves and the other to His disciples.
“He got up, rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, ‘Silence! Be still!’ The wind ceased, and there was a great calm” (Mark 4:39). This fierce storm, like every other force in the universe, was subject to His will. (See also Job 36:32; 38:1-41.)
His second rebuke, however, was reserved for His disciples. He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?” (Mark 4:40).
Was Jesus being a little too tough on them?
I don’t think so. They should have known who it was in that boat with them. They had been eyewitnesses to Jesus’ other miracles, clearly proving to them that He was more than just a teacher. This wasn’t the captain of the Sailing Club or some Galilean lifeguard. This was God Almighty. The Creator and King of the universe was in that fishing boat.
Had you been with them that night, would you have felt a similar panic? And upon witnessing His power over nature, how would you have responded? Like the disciples, you may also have become “terrified and asked one another, ‘Who then is this? Even the wind and the sea obey him!’” (Mark 4:41).
Luke 8:25 tells us they were “fearful and amazed.” And they finally realized God was in their boat. Or rather, they were in His.
The sea was now calm. Hardly a breeze was blowing in the cool, night air. Odds are, no one was speaking, as they had all been rendered mute by Jesus’ marvelous miracle. They were astonished. Bewildered. Fear and amazement had gripped them.
We may sometimes wonder why the disciples were often slow to understand. But to their credit, they didn’t always flunk the test — although one, namely Judas, failed miserably. The others may have been slow, but they sure were determined in their faith. Eventually, the Eleven would get it, unashamedly declaring Christ and His gospel to the world and suffering horribly for it. Some were crucified while others were beaten, banished, boiled in oil, butchered, and beheaded. And you can bank on this: Every one of the Eleven used his last breath to worship this same Jesus who commands the wind and the waves.
Friend, sometimes God shows up in the storm, calming the waves. Other times, He calms His child instead. That decision is up to Him. But either way, He always comes through. Our choice is whether or not to exercise faith in Him.
Yes, it is possible to worship while we’re still in life’s storms. And that’s when Jesus shows up. As John Hercus has said, we must “trust God even when the pieces don’t seem to fit.” In the blinding rain of real life, when you are at your weakest point, His grace becomes your greatest strength. (See 2 Cor. 12:9.) It is during those times that you experience a power and a peace that supernaturally hold you up and hold you together. Don’t fear the storm, fellow believer. No matter how small your boat, know that He is right there with you. (See Heb. 13:5.)
So choose to worship Him ahead of the miracle. It’s then you’ll experience the answer to the disciples’ question, “Who then is this? Even the wind and the sea obey him!” (Mark 4:41).
Author and speaker JEFF KINLEY has spent three decades equipping believers in God’s Word. A former pastor, Jeff has written more than 30 books. He and his wife are the parents of three grown boys and reside in the Ozark Mountains.