I am discontent with seeing miracles in the Bible, but not seeing them today.
If you haven’t experienced a storm in your life…well…just wait. It’s brewing and it’s coming. It’s not a matter of if a storm will come into our lives; it’s a matter of when. We all face storms.
But we follow a God who has real power over storms, don’t we? If there is anything we learn from the Bible, we learn that God is creator of everything. He created the heavens and the earth. He created the animals, the birds, the sea creatures. He created you and me. Ask any artist and they will tell you that they have real power over the shape, color, texture, and life of their creations. And God is the ultimate artist.
But God doesn’t always calm our storms.
I have served the church for many years and I’ve seen people face tremendous storms in their lives–depression, divorce, stress, family strife, joblessness, loneliness, addictions, deaths, long cancer illnesses, estrangement, and _____(insert your storm here)_______. I’ve seen people pray until callouses formed on their knees. I’ve heard them beg God and beg others to intercede on their behalf…to bring relief to their suffering. I’ve heard them pray in Jesus’ name with such devotion, love and sincerity that it would break the heart of anyone who listens.
…the storm rages on.
Recently I led a study of Mark 4:35-41, the story where Jesus calms a storm. The disciples and Jesus head across the Sea of Galilee in the evening and Jesus falls asleep in the tiny boat (yes, I’m thinking Giligan’s island theme J). A huge storm arises so strongly that it quickly begins to swamp the boat and the disciples are afraid for their lives. They look around and notice that Jesus is asleep! Asleep! They wake him and (I visualize) scream at him, “Don’t you care!” Jesus groggily wakes up, speaks to the storm, and promptly calms the sea. Then, as expected, Jesus turns it into an object lesson when he turns to them and says, “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?”
Too many people have wrongly interpreted the meaning of this passage. I’ve heard people think the object lesson is since Jesus has power over nature, Jesus has power to calm the storms of your life and of nature—you just need to ask. Yes, that’s true. But why then do we still have Tsunamis? Bankruptcy? Child Abuse? Hunger? Jesus calming the storm is not the real miracle in this story. And I don’t believe that is the point. We expect Jesus to have power over the storm, but what Jesus teaches us about it is something we don’t expect!
What was the VERY FIRST thing Jesus says after he calms the storm? No, it wasn’t a lesson about faith. It was a lesson about fear! Jesus was addressing their fears!
Fear is the greatest storm we could ever face. It lingers in every nook and cranny of our human experience. It lurks behind every bill we receive, every time we hear a change in the economy, every time we wonder if we will have job next week, every time we wait for a test to come back from the doctor, every time we turn on the news. Fear is our greatest storm…and Jesus was teaching us that he has the power to calm that storm…if we would but have faith.
The real miracle in that story is that Jesus calmed the fear of the disciples.
We all will face storms in our lives. That’s 100% guaranteed. For certain. Without a doubt. Faith in Jesus Christ means that Jesus will get in the boat with us as we ride out to meet the storm. Faith in Jesus Christ means that we do not have to be afraid. Faith in Jesus means that whatever the outcome, come sink or swim—He’s got us. There is no storm too big, too powerful, or too menacing that we can’t face.
The point of the story? While storms are inevitable, fear is not. Fear is the real storm. And Jesus WILL calm that storm.
So, give up your fear. Turn to Jesus. Put your trust squarely on Him. And let it go.