On the evening of that same day Jesus said to his disciples, “Let us go across to the other side of the lake.” So they left the crowd; the disciples got into the boat in which Jesus was already sitting, and they took him with them. Other boats were there too.
Suddenly a strong wind blew up, and the waves began to spill over into the boat, so that it was about to fill with water. Jesus was in the back of the boat, sleeping with his head on a pillow. The disciples woke him up and said, “Teacher, don’t you care that we are about to die?” Mark 4:35-38 (Good News Version)
“Teacher, don’t you care that we are about to die?”.
I’ve read that question many times and each time I look at it, it tugs at my heart a little more. I can imagine the pained tone in which the disciple said that and the thoughts he was having in the moment.
Can you imagine having the Son of God with you in a storm yet while you are struggling, He is nowhere to be found?
I bet many of us can relate to the disciples because we have echoed the same cry at some point in our lives.
Maybe yours sounded more like this, “Father, don’t you see what I’m going through?”, “Jesus, why don’t you help me?” or “Lord, where are you?”. These petitions are all one in the same from hearts desperate to hear from God, to feel his presence and see his vindication.
What a feeling it is to feel like you’ve been abandoned by God.
Like the disciples, you may have accepted Jesus into your boat thinking that now everything would go smoothly; the problems wouldn’t be so severe and life would be a constant flow of blessings. Yet somehow, you have found yourself in turmoil, your boat is taking in water, you’re struggling and crying out to God but he is nowhere to be found.
What a terrifying place to be. But I am here to tell you that while it may feel like it, Jesus is certainly not asleep. The presence of the storm is not evidence of His slumber. He is not asleep in your finances, neither in your health, your relationships nor the life of your children. Whether it is an internal storm or an external one, Jesus is not unaware of it. Not only does He know but I am convinced by Matthew 27:46 that He also understands how we feel.
In this scripture, we hear Jesus asking the same question we have asked several times when He cried, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”. Jesus felt abandoned on the cross to suffer alone, just as the disciples felt abandoned in the storm or you may feel abandoned in your struggles. But God does not leave His children. His gracious presence is with all of us at all times and when it is hard to detect, our faith is what fills the gap.
Romans 10:17 tells us that, “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God”. In these valley experiences, the word of God is most valuable and effective. We need faith to believe against what we see, hear and feel in the natural. This will make the difference between swimming or sinking. While our feelings try to convince us that God has left us to fight the waves, remember the promise in Deuteronomy 31:6 – “Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them [whatever burdens come up against you]: for the LORD thy God, he [it is] that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.”
Now if God is not a man that He can lie and He says He will be with you unto the end of the earth, then it must mean that what we feel is a false sense of abandonment. It is not real nor is it practical.
Someone needs reassurance today that God is with them. You need to know that He will use the very storm for your good. God loves you with an everlasting love and He will take you safely through. You are not alone. You are not in his blindside and though you cannot perceive Him right now and He feels so far away, He hears every word, even if your prayers feel empty.
What the disciples didn’t know was that while Jesus’ human side caused him to be weary and fall asleep, His divine nature was wide awake and standing in the midst of the storm. Have faith! God is with you too. Yes, your boat may be taking in water and you may not feel good but you won’t sink, God is right there.
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me”.- Ps 23:4
[photo credit: www.ubdavid.org ]