Mark 4 v 38 The disciples woke Jesus and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”
Crossing a steel suspension bridge 600 feet over a gorge in the Himalayas there was no wind but instead a horrible up and down oscillation that grew worse the nearer one got to the far side. Quite involuntarily I found myself saying ‘The Lord’s My Shepherd’ over and over again to calm my growing fear. By the end of the trek our party could step out and even embrace the strange rolling sensation of such bridges but at the start – that was different!
Reading the story of Jesus stilling the storm in Mark 4:35-41 what comes to mind from v38 is “I’m a disciple get me out of here!” A group (including experienced fishermen) are reduced to blind panic by a violent wind barrelling across Lake Galilee and the very person they instinctively turn to is having forty winks at the back of the boat! Where’s a Saviour when you need one?!
I suspect many a Christian could testify that their prayer life became more intense when they or their loved ones faced mortal danger. It may not be an argument for the existence of God but the saying ‘There are no atheists in foxholes’ does point to the human tendency to seek for a higher power when human agency fails.
The passage in Mark 4 teaches us several things:
1) Check the weather forecast before embarking on a maritime adventure.
2) If all else fails, make sure you get in the boat that has Jesus in it.
3) Swallow your pride and wake Jesus up even if he tells you off for not stilling the storm yourself.
Forgive my flippancy but the words of Jesus in v40 at least open the possibility that the disciples could have dealt with the situation without waking up their Master. Jesus says ‘Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?’ Their heads must have been reeling when Jesus said that! Is Jesus teaching we are able to do far more in life through trusting in God before we hit the panic button?
In Jewish thought only God had the power to command the elements and only God could calm the chaos of a storm. That is why the disciples ask each other ‘Who then is this? Even the wind and waves obey him!’ (v41). The disciples feel that they are in the very presence of God as the wind and waves are stilled. That’s scary! Yet equally scary is the possibility that we may be able to achieve far more than we suspect when we put our trust in God.
Just don’t ask me Jesus to start my faith apprenticeship in a storm on Galilee!
With love to you all,
Will & Pat xx