Wednesday, August 19, 2009


Mark 4:35-41

The Sea of Galilee lies about 630 feet below sea level and is surrounded by mountains. This geological construction allows for an interesting weather phenomenon. At the end of a hot day the cooler air from the mountains tends to rush down while the warmer air from the lake and the desert rushes upwards. Aided by crevasses and ravines cut into the mountains, on extreme days this exchange of air masses can create gale force winds and air pressures on the lake. When the winds blow down hard off the mountains they can actually depress the water level enough to cause a massive “sloshing” effect across the entire lake. Mark says it was a mega-gale, a furious hurricane force wind that swept down upon the lake that evening. Even with the skills of several experienced fishermen in the boat, it was nearly swamped. Can you imagine what was going through the minds of the disciples as they battled to keep their fishing boat afloat? This looked really bad! They did everything they knew and it wasn’t enough! The water crashed over the gunwales of the boat again and again and they couldn’t bail it out fast enough to keep up. The water inside the boat continued to rise and the boat was beginning to founder.

Let’s pause at this point in the story. Put yourself into their situation. What is going through your mind? What are your thoughts? Do any of these thoughts sound familiar? “I didn’t sign on for this!” “What did I do to deserve this?” “We’re only doing what Jesus told us to do. Is this what he wants for us?” “This is what I get for trying to do the right thing.”

Here is an important lesson for us from this storm. Following Jesus does not guarantee that we won’t have to deal with severe storms in our lives. In fact, following Jesus may just guarantee that we will encounter terrible storms! These disciples were only doing what Jesus told them to do! They were carrying the exhausted Jesus across the lake at his own request. The storm was not their fault. They did not bring the gale down upon themselves by doing something wrong! The storms you are dealing with in your life are not necessarily your fault! It is wrong to think that all the troubles in our lives are caused by our sin. We will meet with storms and there is nothing we can do to prevent them! They are not barreling down on us because we have a lack of faith. It will not help for people to tell you that you just need to have more faith; or that you just need to “trust the Lord.” You have faith! You are trusting the Lord! And this is what you get for your efforts! Obedience will actually lead us into storms. Consider how Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit out into the wilderness to encounter the temptations of the Devil! Think about the many missionaries who have followed the Lord’s direction to a mission field where they have lived very trying lives or even lost their lives! Consider our own church! We have obeyed the Lord’s leading and planted this church and we are trying to minister and serve according to the Lord’s direction. We have struggles and hardships and trials because we are trying to be obedient. What is your storm? Loss of employment? Loss of health? A broken relationship? The betrayal of a friend? The suffering of a loved one? Whatever it is, it’s not necessarily your fault. Storms come into the lives of people who faithfully follow the Master!


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