Keep calm in life’s storms

Keep calm in life’s storms

You rule the raging of the sea; when its waves rise, you calm them. – Psalms 89:9

Mark 6:41-52

 41 Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, looked up toward heaven, and blessed them. Then, breaking the loaves into pieces, he kept giving the bread to the disciples so they could distribute it to the people. He also divided the fish for everyone to share.

 42 They all ate as much as they wanted,

 43 and afterward, the disciples picked up twelve baskets of leftover bread and fish.

 44 A total of 5,000 men and their families were fed from those loaves!

 45 Immediately after this, Jesus insisted that his disciples get back into the boat and head across the lake to Bethsaida, while he sent the people home.

 46 After telling everyone good-bye, he went up into the hills by himself to pray.

 47 Late that night, the disciples were in their boat in the middle of the lake, and Jesus was alone on land.

 48 He saw that they were in serious trouble, rowing hard and struggling against the wind and waves. About three o’clock in the morning Jesus came toward them, walking on the water. He intended to go past them,

 49 but when they saw him walking on the water, they cried out in terror, thinking he was a ghost.

49 but when they saw him walking on the water, they cried out in terror, thinking he was a ghost.

 50 They were all terrified when they saw him. But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage! I am here!”

 51 Then he climbed into the boat, and the wind stopped. They were totally amazed,

 52 for they still didn’t understand the significance of the miracle of the loaves. Their hearts were too hard to take it in.

“It was Christmas Eve, 1875, and Ira Sankey was traveling by steamboat up the Delaware River. It was a beautiful, starlit evening and many passengers were on deck who encouraged the famous evangelist to sing.” “Sankey, who was leaning against one of the steamship’s great funnels gazing at the stars in silent prayer, consented, intending to sing a Christmas song, but felt compelled to sing William Bradbury’s ‘Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us.’”

“There was a deep stillness as his baritone floated across the quiet river that Christmas Eve. When he had finished, a man stepped from the shadows and said: ‘Did you ever serve in the Union Army?’”

“‘Yes,’ Mr. Sankey answered, ‘in the spring of 1860.’

‘Can you remember if you were doing picket duty on a bright, moonlit night in 1862?’

‘Yes,’ Mr. Sankey answered, very much surprised.”

“‘So did I, but I was serving in the Confederate Army. When I saw you standing at your post, I raised my musket and took aim. I was standing in the shadow, completely concealed, while the full light of the moon was falling upon you. At that instant, just as a moment ago, you raised your eyes to heaven and began to sing. ‘Let him sing his song to the end,’ I said to myself. ‘I can shoot him afterwards . . ..‘“

“‘But the song you sang then was the song you sang just now. I heard the words perfectly: ‘We are Thine, do Thou befriend us. Be the Guardian of our way.’

‘Those words stirred up many memories. I began to think of my childhood and my God-fearing mother. She had many times sung that song to me . . ..’”

‘‘When you had finished your song, it was impossible for me to take aim again. I thought, ‘The Lord who can save that man from certain death must surely be great and mighty.’ And my arm of its own accord dropped limp at my side.’”

“Oblivious to any danger, Ira Sankey was spared certain death. A coincidence? Hardly! It was God’s sovereign power which arranged for him to sing that particular song on that night, the exact familiar strain to evoke tender memories in his would-be slayer and stay his hand (Hughes).”

The Father is always at work. He is sovereign and carries out His purposes. His supernatural keeping-power provides comfort for the children of the King. However, in the Gospels, the disciples are frequently slow to catch on. The disciples saw the Lord Jesus Christ at work, but they did not understand because they were obtuse. They did not internalize the implications of His words and actions. They heard life-changing truth but it had little impact.

The feeding of the 5000 demonstrated the Lord Jesus Christ’s power over nature. But the disciples didn’t get it. It is immediately followed up by the recounting of the Lord Jesus Christ walking on water. “Walking on the sea is not something Jesus did just to amaze the disciples, but rather it is a powerful, visible demonstration of Jesus’ sovereignty over the world that he created” (ESV Notes).

Every child of the King has the same need to understand, appreciate, believe, and apply the truth that He reveals. Lord Jesus Christ offers peace in the wildest storms of life.

REFLECT & PRAY

“Jesus promised his disciples three things: ‘they would be entirely fearless, absurdly happy, and that they would get into trouble’” (W. Russell Maltby).

Father how I long to understand the life lessons of the Scriptures. Remove the dullness of my heart and allow me to comprehend and internalize Your life-changing truth.

INSIGHT

Mark 6:45-46

 47 Late that night, the disciples were in their boat in the middle of the lake, and Jesus was alone on land.

 48 He saw that they were in serious trouble, rowing hard and struggling against the wind and waves. About three o’clock in the morning Jesus came toward them, walking on the water.

The Sea of Galilee was known and feared for its sudden and powerful storms. “The water is 600 feet below sea level, and the land to the east is considerably higher. As warm air rises from the lake it creates a vacuum that the air on the west rushes in to fill. This brings strong winds down on the lake with little warning” (Constable).

Peter and some of the other disciples were experienced Galilean fishermen. Yet the ferocity of squall was so severe that they were terrified and feared for their lives. Matthew describes the storm with the Greek term seismos, which is literally earthquake. “The Greek word is used of a furious storm or hurricane. It never refers to a single gust, nor a steadily blowing wind, however violent, but to a storm breaking forth from black thunder-clouds in furious gusts, with floods of rain, and throwing everything topsy-turvy” (Wuest).

“It was as though the lake was being shaken. On port and starboard great dark mountains of water rose and washed over the boat. At any moment they would be swamped to a watery grave” (Hughes).

When the Lord Jesus Christ arrived, the storm ended. When He walked upon the water, His purpose was not to merely astound the disciples. Rather, it was intended to be a visible, powerful object lesson regarding His identity and sovereignty over the world which He had created.

But why were they afraid? They had failed to learn from the feeding of the 5000. Their faith was small and their hearts were insensitive and tragically unreceptive to the lessons Lord Jesus Christ was teaching. Their faith was defective. They had not gained insight from the words and deeds of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Mark 6:51-52

 51 Then he climbed into the boat, and the wind stopped. They were totally amazed,

 52 for they still didn’t understand the significance of the miracle of the loaves. Their hearts were too hard to take it in.

The disciples had heard the words of Jesus and saw His wonder-working power. But they failed to get the message. The multiplying of the loaves revealed the Lord Jesus Christ’s true identity as God. But the disciples did not gain insight from the miracle.

The essence of faith is trust, seeing what the unseen (Hebrews 11:1). Faith and trust are not placed in an idea but in a person. To trust a person, you must know who they are and what they are capable of. To truly trust the Lord Jesus Christ, it is necessary to know that He is Lord. He has complete control over nature.

This story provides insight into faith. Faith is like a muscle that is to be built up and strengthened over time by repeated use. But it is incumbent upon children of the King to learn and to grow in faith. This is precisely where the disciples failed.

Faith and fear are mutually exclusive     

¯\_()_/¯

© Dr. H 2022

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