Today’s Reading: Mark 4
I want to tell you two stories about storms, Jesus, and a bunch of guys (the twelve disciples) in a boat. Both storms had winds and fear. But their endings were different.
We encounter the first storm in today’s reading. Let’s read about it together:
On that day, when evening came, He said to them, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd, they took Him along with them in the boat, just as He was; and other boats were with Him. And there arose a fierce gale of wind, and the waves were breaking over the boat so much that the boat was already filling up. Jesus Himself was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” (Mark 4:35-41)
“Do you not care?” is a huge indictment on God’s character, and it plays into this “no faith” issue. So keep these two phrases in mind: Do You not care and Do you have no faith.
Let’s continue reading:
He got up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Hush, be still.” And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm. And He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?” They became very much afraid and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?” (Mark 4:39-41)
Their “no faith” was revealed in this statement, “Who is this man?”
Faith is connected to knowing who this Man is. Think of the important progression.
A storm arises, as it does in life, and fear comes—fear of tomorrow, fear of going to the doctor or waiting for a call from the doctor, fear of being single, fear of not being pregnant, fear of getting laid off. These are all called storms. If storms produce fear and distrust, then we have a faith issue. When storms drive us to fear, faith has been punctured and is leaking somewhere.
This storm ends with a question mark. It ends with questioning Who
Faith is a journey, and that’s what these disciples were on. They ended their first Jesus boat ride with, “Who is this Man?” The question mark.
If storms produce fear, then we have a faith problem. And if we have a faith problem, then it’s a God issue. What does that mean?
Knowing God increases faith. Always remember that if you want faith to increase, find out more about the character of God. As someone once said, “Feed your faith and your fears will starve to death.”
Faith is based on who God is. That’s how you increase in faith. The disciples did not get an increase of faith from the last storm, just more questions.
Now let’s dip back into Matthew for our second storm story:
He made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side, while He sent the crowds away. After He had sent the crowds away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone. But the boat was already a long distance from the land, battered by the waves; for the wind was contrary. And in the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea. When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”
When they got into the boat, the wind stopped. And those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, “You are certainly God’s Son!” (Matthew 14:22-33)
They worshiped him. They recognized who Jesus was: “You are certainly God’s Son!”
Remember our first boat story ended with a question. This one still ended with worship.
If storms make me a better worshiper, then so be it. I would just rather do it with music on Sunday. But that does not always happen. God wants your and my tests to end with praise not questions.
Andráe Crouch put it this way: “If I’d never had a problem, I wouldn’t know God could solve them.”
There is a difference between praise and worship. Praise means telling others about how good God is; telling others what God has done. Worship means telling God Who He is.
If you know Who He is then you can know what He can do. And no storm has enough power to stand up to that.