Vol. 5, No. 3
~ Page 15 ~
It's all about control, isn't it? Especially the amount of personal security we feel -- it's based on the quantity of control we believe we possess.
When Jesus encouraged his disciples to cross the sea with him, "a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling" (Mark 4:37). The disciples, quite understandably, were afraid for their very lives. They asked Jesus anxiously, "Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?" (Mark 4:38). You see, it is natural to be fearful when things are out of control. The disciples must have felt merely an infinitesimal measure of security, for the wind and the waves were beyond their control. They were at the mercy of the forces of nature, and they were afraid.
There was One in the ship, of course, who did not fear, but slept peacefully -- at least until he was awakened by the nervous passengers. His calmness was, by measure of human nature, inexplicable. There was a storm going on! This ship could have sunk! How could anybody have been sleeping?
The Lord slept soundly because he was secure. And he was secure because he knew he had ultimate control. He was the agent through whom everything (including the sea and the laws of nature) was made (John 1:1-3; Colossians 1:16-17). Therefore, he knew he controlled them. He knew the storm was no threat to him. He was the One in control. That makes perfect sense.
He arose from his slumber at the bidding of his shipmates, and with three words (as translated in English) calmed the unruly sea -- immediately. His personal security makes perfect sense.
The puzzler of the account, then, is why he would rebuke the disciples for the fear. He chided them, "Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?" (Mark 6:40). Why, it would make sense that they wouldn't have faith, wouldn't it? They were not in control of nature! They could shout, "Peace, be still," all they wanted and not even quiet each other down, much less the storm.
Herein must be the great lesson of the passage. The first lesson touches our intellect -- we know who Jesus was and the power he had. This lesson touches our emotions. He wants us, you see, to have the same kind of calmness and peace about us as he had about him. Not because we are in control, as he is, but because we, by faith, place our lives in the tenderly loving hands of the One who does have control. Control is beyond our reach. Calmness isn't. He calls us to never be anxious, but to trust him.
"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:6-7).
"Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you" (1 Peter 5:6-7).
Peace that passes human understanding comes only "through Christ Jesus." When we place faith in him, we are in the same hands that control the world. When we humble ourselves in his sight, he helps us with our cares.
How marvelously comforting to have such a powerful being -- indeed, the Almighty -- bearing burdens for us, so weak and helpless. Such a truth is not always easy to remember, or to understand, but it is a truth. It won't be changed by our feelings. He promises to stand by his children.