The Lord and the Holy Spirit teach us spiritual truths, with verbal words and physical events. Chapters 4 and 5 of Mark provide the same strong lesson for us today as they must have for the disciples many years ago. In Chapter 4, Jesus teaches the crowds and the disciples, with a string of parables, including the Parable of the Sower, the Parable of the Growing Seed, and the Parable of the Mustard Seed. At the end of Chapter 4 he switches from the verbal to the physical, with the first of a string of amazing miracles. Mark 4:35-41 speaks of a serious storm in which the disciples found themselves embroiled. The Amplified Bible gives a very vivid description of their situation.
Mark 4:37 And a furious storm of wind [of hurricane proportions] arose, and the waves kept beating into the boat, so that it was already becoming filled.
The disciples spent their life on the water as professional fishermen. They had seen many storms over the years, but none like this. They were in a life threatening situation and had no idea what to do. How did they get in this mess in the first place? Were they really to have met the savior, sat under his teaching, just to die in a row boat near-term? The reality of their predicament is they were following Jesus’s words, “Let’s go over to the other side”. They heard the voice of the Lord, said “Yes”, and took the necessary steps to move in the appropriate direction. Jesus said go, they went. But as it often is with being obedient, there is opposition both spiritual and physical. What should we do when we encounter great opposition in the pursuit of the goals the Lord sets before us and we find ourselves facing ‘What do I do now?” There was nothing they could do in the natural. Should they spend their time trying to bail or row harder? These are their natural options, but neither choice is going to do anything to solve the problem. The problem is simply out of their control and no amount of their effort will make any difference.
The step they do take is both good and bad. It’s good they go to Jesus. That is ALWAYS a good move. But they approach him asking the very thing He had just taught them NOT to do in the parable of the sower. They were allowing Satan to use the ‘cares of the world’ to kill their building faith. Anxiety, concern, solicitude and worry. These are the things Satan uses to attack us whenever we start believing God and moving in the direction of obedience. Asking Jesus if He ‘cared’ that they were perishing shows that they, not unlike we often do, had missed the message of who He truly was.
The disciples faced a very important decision. What do we do when we are obedient and as a result of our obedience we face very difficult life conditions?
Let’s make this situation personal. You believe The Lord has told you to change Jobs and move to a new town. You have multiple confirmations that is indeed the Lord’s will. You take the new job, put your house on the market and move. But suddenly the skies darken and the sun disappears behind a bevy of thunderstorms and lightening. The man who hired you was terminated after you had been on the job only 2 weeks. There is great confusion and dissension among your new coworkers and uncertainty about your job grows. The contract on your old house falls through. You’ve already closed on your new home. As your wife is taking the kids to school, her car is sideswiped by a hit and run driver. Do you get the picture? This is a storm of ‘hurricane proportions’. What do you do now?
In the trying times like this, we wait and we believe, seeking to be found faithful. Otherwise, we hear the words of Christ, like he said them to the disciple there years ago, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” This is a time for endurance. As James 1:3-4 puts it:
Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience. But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be [people] perfectly and fully developed [with no defects], lacking in nothing.
There are times in the Hurricanes of life we simply must hang on to what we know The Lord has told us to do. Like in Chapters 4 and 5 of Mark, the verbal and physical teaching are followed by the spiritual miracles. What hurricane are you in? What miracles are in front of you if you but remain steadfast and believe?