The disciples and their three-hour tour
Thought for the Day: That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” Mark 4:35-40
This scripture reminded me of my limited faith in Jesus Christ. Even though I have been a believer for many years, there are times in my life I get anxious and cry out to the Lord as if he has no clue what is happening in my life. “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” the disciples exclaimed! I can probably imagine there was a lot of yelling coming from more than one voice! After all the storm was raging and the waves were breaking over the boat seemingly to the point of sinking! Who wouldn’t be shrieking for help?
And there’s Jesus, sleeping! In the midst of an intense, violent storm Jesus is sound asleep until the disciples woke him with all the yelping and hollering. At that point it appears Jesus calmly got up, reprimanded the wind and spoke to the waves, “Quiet! Be still” as a parent would scold a child for misbehavior. As soon as the wind and waves obeyed the command of the Creator, Jesus asked two questions of the disciples, “Why are you afraid?” and “Do you still have no faith?” Wow, talk about hitting you between the eyes of faith. The Lord God of all creation is there, in the flesh, and the disciples are still showing signs of fearfulness and faithlessness in their Lord and Master. But I honestly believe these men, who had forsaken everything, were still learning who Jesus really was throughout their apprenticeship.
Is that a page from your handbook on faith in Jesus Christ, questioning, being fearful of his answers and demonstrating a lack of faith in his promises and love? Psalm 139 so clearly was written to all generations about how much God loves and adores us. My only personal comparison to experiencing this type of unconditional love is the passionate devotion I have as a mother and grandmother. I love and adore my precious ones so much I would give my life before seeing them perish and that exactly what Jesus did for us. He paid the price for our redemption and didn’t think twice about it.
Jesus also taught valuable lessons utilizing boats. He was either traveling on one, walking towards one or teaching from one. What lessons can be learned from our Lord’s interaction with a small sailing vessel? Well, I’ve decided life is a lot like a boat. The boat represents our life’s blueprint. Everyone has one; what age we will marry, how many kids we will have, where we will live, what career goal we seek, church affiliation, neighborhood and house we will own, car we will drive, educational pursuits, the goals for our children and their education and the list continues. But do we bring each one of those goals before the Lord and ask for him to bless and direct our plans? Or do we paddle frantically in our own small boat of self-direction trying desperately to fulfill each goal or tweak each yearning? Notwithstanding the degree of difficulty that was forced to accomplish said self-ambition? Was Jesus considered a passenger on your boat?
Or maybe you did remember to pray but it was along the lines of “Lord, here’s the plan. I’ve got this one. But I do need you to jump on board, just sit in the back of the boat and prop your feet up. It’s smooth sailing ahead and it’s going to be a great ride. I just need you to bless my boat!” Meanwhile, if the ride isn’t quite what you expected, and life goes awry, you blame God because, after all, he is God and he can do anything! So, just cry out to Jesus because he can immediately calm the seas of misdirection and point your boat of toward smoother waters….no problem! After getting you out of this tough spot you can then take the helm again and have the Master of the Universe take a back seat, right? Tell me, how’s that working for you?
Now let’s look at this scenario from a possible God perspective. God sees up ahead and the schematic of the lake. Perhaps there is a decline at the water’s edge whose persona mimics an even plane, but actually it plunges downward and would obliterate not only your little boat but become a devastating incident for you and your passengers. Flawed judgements have a habit of affecting everyone included in our self-appointed plans. Meanwhile, God is urging you to abandon your boat, your plans and come aboard his beautiful, spacious yacht that will supply anything you need for your journey. His provision will withstand all the declines and plunges of life. Although we will experience rough patches and feel as though we’ve boarded a sinking vessel, we’ll be able to survive those encounters due to God’s ultimate provision of love, comfort and peace.
There is one catch, however, surrender your designs, strategies, plans, schemes and goals to the Lord. Ask him to show you what the perfect will of God is for your life. Think it’s not possible to know the answer? Why not start praying for God to display, disclose, guide, point or steer you in the direction in which you should paddle? You won’t be rowing alone. Give him the glory and be amazed as your journey unfolds.
Think about a time in your life when you took control out of God’s capable hands in order to obtain your desired result. How did it turn out? Did the decision or situation need to be reversed? What was involved in your U-turn?
Can you find scriptures to support waiting on the Lord for an answer? Write them below and explain why you chose that particular passage.
Do a short word study on water. Include the definition, the Hebrew and Greek meaning, and how it relates to our everyday lives. Why do you think water is a comforting gift from God?
What does water do for the body? For the soul?
Open your Bible and read through Psalm 139. What evidences are written to demonstrate how much God loves you?
Lord, thank you for always being ready to rescue us from ourselves! We want to have our way in everything, but do we stop to consider the negatives results if our plans do not work out? Remind us to take a little extra time to pray for patience and hit the pause button. Waiting for a direction when we are impulsive is arduous. Give us the fortitude to listen and the ability to practice perseverance, in your name we pray. Amen!