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Pressing On Through The Storms Of Life

Mark 4:35-41

God never promised Christians physical comfort, material prosperity, or freedom from persecution in this age, but He has showered us with spiritual blessings (Ephesians 1:3) and promised to supply all our physical needs (Philippians 4:19). Difficulties are a part of the Christian life. The miracle in this passage is a wonderful reminder of Jesus’ power in the natural realm. And if Christ can calm the storm at sea, He can calm the human heart.

First, we see here, the journey of the sailors (35-36).  The Christian experience is easily likened to a sea voyage. We all experience storms but having Jesus on board makes a critical difference! He helps us navigate the difficulties. Jesus was thoroughly fatigued after ministering for days so when He climbed into the boat, He fell fast asleep-all man and all God! Humanity asleep in the boat, Divinity calming the storm! Priceless are the glimpses in the Word of Christ’s humanity: the babe in the manger, the boy at the temple, the thirsty man at the Samaritan well, the brokenhearted friend at the tomb of Lazarus. What encouragement to all who grow weary in the work of the Lord–Jesus grew weary too! We do not have a high priest that cannot sympathize with our weaknesses (Hebrews 4:15). God never intended for believers to avoid trials and heartaches; they are necessary for growth. He wants us to press on through our difficulties because it magnifies our reliance on Him.

A life without Jesus is like a ship pummeled by the waves, adrift on life’s seas, without chart or compass, purpose or destination. Everyone longs to have the answer to the big questions of life: Who am I? Where did I come from? Why am I here? Where am I going? Only Jesus can answer those questions. Jesus is not only our salvation, He is our security. When Jesus said, “Let us pass over to the other side,” nothing could stop them! Jesus takes to the destination all in His care. Stocks and bonds, houses and lands, and power and prestige don’t bring security, Jesus is the only Guarantor assuring your safe arrival in glory (II Tim 1:12).

Secondly, though we see the anxiety of the storm (37). It came up suddenly. The Sea of Galilee is in a basin surrounded by hills and sometimes the cold winds from the north barrel through the ravines. When they collide with the warm air rising off the sea they can create violent storms, calm one minute, then gale force winds the next. Isn’t that the way life is? Things are going along smoothly then a phone call comes, “It’s cancer.” Or you are told your job is terminated. Are you in a financial, relational or spiritual storm today? There are several reasons why the Lord allows storms to come into our lives. Sometimes it is for discipleship; ever notice that when things are going well, you don’t pray as much or with urgency? Sometimes it’s because of disobedience; that’s why Jonah was sent into a storm. And sometimes storms are demonic; Christ spoke to the storm like it was a beast, “be muzzled.” Luther said, “For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe.”

The storm also hit severely. The waves were coming over the sides, the ship was filling up, and these experienced fishermen who knew this lake well were caught unaware. Sometimes even the most experienced Christians can feel they are going under. Satan hurls a storm of suffering, a hurricane of heartache, a squall of sorrow. The answer is not giving up but pressing on to glorify God. Sometimes God digs the wells of joy with the spade of sorrow. Jesus’ presence in the boat did not keep the storm from coming. Hebrews 13:5 reminds us, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Then lastly, we see the mastery of the Savior (38-41). Jesus was sleeping but it wasn’t the storm that awoke Him, but the panic of the disciples. “Master don’t you care that we perish?” Have you ever thought that? Lord don’t you care? Aren’t you concerned? Are you asleep to my situation? Jesus asks, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that ye have no faith?” Notice that here fear and faith are mutually exclusive terms. Fear is looking at the storm; faith is looking at the Savior.

Jesus was sufficient (39-41). “And He arose”(39). When the storm arose, Christ arose.  When I read this, I want to stand up and say “Hurrah for Jesus!” I was going down in the storm and he rescued me! Now I am not going under, I am going up! I would rather be in a storm with Jesus than in calm anywhere else. Safety is not found in the absence of storms but in the presence of Jesus! Jesus stood on the deck and the lightning was crackling, the sea spray soaked his face and beard. Then He shouted, “Peace be Still!” The winds immediately ceased and the sea became calm as glass. The disciples were awestruck and overtaken with a new fear, not of the storm but of the Savior. “Phobos” is the Greek word describing a person who lives differently after being struck by an event, or an idea. In other words, after a Christian has experienced the power of God, he is never the same.

In conclusion, listen to Christ’s encouragement: “Peace be still.” Trust the Lord to take you through the storms of life. Invite Him to take control of your life and then, press on!