My grandchildren will tell you that whenever you learn something new it has been a good day. I enjoy learning, especially when it comes to Scripture. No matter how many times I read through those thin pages, I always see something I’ve never noticed before. New situations and experiences can open our hearts and minds so that we can read old words with new eyes.
After teaching children in Sunday school for over 40 years, Jesus Calming the Storm is a very familiar story. Matthew, Mark, and Luke all record the same miraculous event. However, Mark offers us a snippet of information that I’d never paid attention to until I heard our pastor briefly mention it in his welcoming remarks. In fact, that one little tidbit caused me to miss whatever he said afterward. I kept thinking, “I don’t remember that being in there!” Since we were about to pour out our praise in song, I waited until I got home to investigate. If it really was there, then that would be a powerful point for me.
(Now, I bet you want me to tell you what that little scrumptious morsel is, don’t you? You want to see if you already know it. You probably do, but hang with me for just a little longer.)
It had been a long day for Jesus beside the Sea of Galilee. A large crowd had gathered to listen to Him teach and to receive healing. Late in the day, He quietly entertained the disciples’ many questions. As the sun grew weary from hanging in the sky, the Son of Man had also grown weary. “When evening had come, He told them, “Let’s cross over to the other side of the sea.” (Mark 4:35 CSB)
I take comfort in knowing that even Jesus got tired. He went to the back of the boat, grabbed a cushion for His head, and promptly fell asleep. Meanwhile, a mighty storm, common to the Sea of Galilee, blew up and swamped the boat, but Jesus slept. The boat rocked to and fro violently, but Jesus slept. The winds howled angrily, but Jesus slept. The frantic disciples knew how to handle a boat; they were fishermen for crying out loud. Yet, the fierceness of this storm caused them to cry out loud to Jesus. Like every good parent knows, all it took to wake Jesus was the sound of His “children” crying out in the night.
Jesus rose to the occasion. “He got up, rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, ‘Silence! Be still!’ The wind ceased, and there was a great calm.” (Mark 4:39 CSB) He reminded them that because He was right there with them, they didn’t have to be afraid. He was in complete control. The disciples had seen Him heal lepers and paralytics. They had seen Him raise the dead. Yet, seeing Him master His own creation filled them with even more awe.
This story offers many lessons about believing and trusting in Jesus and His mighty power. It can even provide a lesson or two about resting like Jesus. But my new takeaway encourages me in a different direction. You see, that one little sentence Mark tucked at the end of verse 36 grabbed my heart and hasn’t let go yet. Only Mark wrote this: “So they left the crowd and took Him along since He was in the boat. AND OTHER BOATS WERE WITH HIM.” (Emphasis, definitely mine!)
Other boats were with Him!
The disciples weren’t the only ones swirling in the chaos. They weren’t the only ones fearful, terrified, and fighting for their lives. There were others in the exact same storm, yet the disciples couldn’t see them because their eyes remained focused on their own predicament. Those in the other boats weren’t yet in the boat with Jesus, but they were following close behind. They didn’t know what Jesus could offer, but whatever it was, they definitely wanted to know more about it.
What if those disciples in the Jesus Boat had immediately trusted in Jesus’ power? One of them might have shook Him awake and said, “Hey, Master, take care of this, would you please?” Another might have chimed in, “Yeah, we know You wouldn’t have asked us to go across the lake just so we could drown. Go ahead, and do Your thing, Jesus. We can wait.” And while they waited, they might have looked out across the waves and seen the other boats rocking and rolling. They might have offered up some encouragement. One might have shouted, “Don’t worry! Jesus has this! Just hang on! It will all settle down soon!”
Then, when all the good was wrung out of the waiting and they were all safe, those in the other boats would know all they needed to know about the power of Jesus. They would know without a doubt that if He could calm the sea, He most certainly could be trusted with even the smaller frustrating things in their lives.
Maybe God has you in a time of waiting for relief from physical pain, relationship pain, or the pain of grief. Maybe you’re waiting for some spiritual healing or freedom from an addiction. Or, maybe you’ve been waiting for a better job, a new house, the love of your life, or a baby. It may not feel like it, but you are not the only one on a stormy sea. There are others in the same predicament. Dare I say, there are others in much worse circumstances? Wring out all the good from your waiting. Your waiting could be someone else’s teachable moment. When you fix your eyes on Jesus, remain calm in the chaos, allow Him to calm the waters, and give Him all the credit, others will want what He can offer.
This Christmas season (and from now on), let’s all give Jesus our gift of trust and thankfulness. Let’s patiently share His gifts of love, sacrifice, forgiveness, and peace with all those in the boats behind us.
“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” (Jesus – John 14:27 NLT)