Some mornings are simply a struggle. I have trouble focusing and understanding anything. It is as if there is a cloud that envelops my brain and it is so thick it is hard to see. I opened the word and I could make no sense of it. I opened devotionals and encouraging verses and could not gather a thought. So, I prayed again for clarity and help in praying without ceasing and the storm began to clear.
I opened another devotional… but I am not sure what one… and it leads me to Mark 4:35 when Jesus calms the storm. As I read verses 35-41 I was reminded of a perception I have had this story for some time. For me, it is a foreshadowing of my life today with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and our faith and trust in God. Let me share the passage.
Jesus Calms a Storm
Mark 4:35-41 (ESV) Jesus Calms a Storm
35 On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” 36 And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. 37 And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. 38 But he 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?” 39 And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40 He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” 41 And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”
Mark 4:39 (ESV)”And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.”
It is hard for me to fathom what that must have been like… to see Jesus command the wind and seas with a word. I cannot help but be overwhelmed. But as I look at all these verses and the whole passage the image that is most striking is Jesus asleep in the boat. The disciples are on the boat and freaking out because in their minds they are going to die… And this guy Jesus is ASLEEP in the boat and is just going to sleep right through it.
When they finally gather themselves enough to wake him their first words to him are “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” (Mark 4:38). They were angry with Him and more than a little panicked.
The Church Age
As I muddled over these passages and considered my own issues with fear and panic there was this calming, (for lack of a better way to explain it), that came over me. I saw this scene differently… the boat, the storm, the disciples, and Jesus. Suddenly I was the boat being tossed about by the storms of life. The disciples were my human character… my flesh… filling my heart with fear and panic of the storm. And Jesus was the Holy Spirit in me. Calm and certain of my safety, regardless of my circumstances.
Verse 40 was ringing in my head… “He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?”, (v 40), and that verse humbled me.
I was reminded of 1 John 4:18
18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.
I looked at Mark 4:35-41 and for me, I saw the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Jesus in me, and I was reminded of John 14:18-21
18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. 21 Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”
How awesome this is…
Reflecting on all this from the boat in Mark 4 to the promise of the indwelling Spirit promised in John 14 I am filled with a calmness that comes from this promise. From this relationship illustrated for me in Mark then clarified in John.
I still have those moments when my flesh will try to panic me. I have those times when it seems that nothing is getting better and I wonder what God is doing. Those moments when my faith wavers and I want to take control… Wake Jesus and say, “Hey Jesus I am drowning Here”. But in that moment, He calms me and rebukes me, as he did the disciples… “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” (v 40), and in all this I am thankful.
I give thanks for the discipline of the Holy Spirit. Because God disciplines those that He loves. The Bible says so in Hebrews 12:4-17
I give thanks and praise to God for the gift of his Holy Word and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to open my mind to its secrets. To God be the glory!!!