Just As He Was
Have you ever asked God, “Don’t You Care? Don’t You SEE What’s Happening?”
If so, you’re in good company, because His disciples asked the exact same question. The story we read in Mark 4:35-41 reminds us just how human the disciples were, and just how faithful Jesus still is.
It had been a long, hard, challenging day. The parables He spoke were so rich and intriguing, but so confusing. Thankfully, He explained them to the twelve when the masses had subsided. Still, their hearts had been challenged and they were hungry, eager to find some downtime.
They loaded up the boat that evening at the request of Christ to go to the other side of the sea. The men piled in, a little hesitant as they smelled the rain coming and saw the clouds rolling in, but nevertheless they headed to shore with Jesus, “just as he was” (Mark 4:36).
The storm was unlike any they had faced before. As seamen, they were not unaccustomed to the waves and the winds, but this great windstorm was something fierce. The water was turbulent, the wind was strong, and they were getting soaked. The waves crashed in, all around them, rocking and filling the boat nearly to the point of breaking – and the terror of their fate was real.
Where was Jesus? Did He not care what was going on as the disciples panicked and scurried to gain control of the boat? He was napping in the stern. Asleep! On a cushion! The nerve.
The disciples, soaking wet, terrified, and slightly annoyed, rush to Him and say, ‘Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”
His response to the disciples was one of grace, but also astonishment at their lack of faith. He rebuked the wind, telling it where to go, and he spoke to the sea, commanding it to calm. With these three words, the storm ceased: “Peace! Be still.”
As great as the windstorm had been, the calm was greater. The reality of the storm was terrifying, nearly drowning the men who had just been taught all day about the Kingdom of God. As their little kingdom came crashing down, they felt the fear of abandonment. Don’t you care, Lord? We are dying here, literally. Why are you asleep? Have you forgotten us?
Jesus responds with another question. His was a stark reality check for the disciples: “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?”
This caused a new kind of fear – one of great reverence, awe, and terror. This man, this Teacher, this Rabbi – He just spoke to the ocean, rebuked the wind, and they obeyed.
Friends, don’t miss the craziness here. Imagine the terrible storms that have been moving through Haiti and up the coast coming straight at you, only to watch this teacher of yours stand up, shout, “Peace!” and immediately - the storm disappears. Out of thin air, as quickly as it came on, it’s gone. Can you even imagine the magic of that moment?
What I love most about this passage is that Jesus was on the boat, just as he was. He could nap, because He was God, and that was enough. He was not surprised at the storm – rather, He was surprised at the fact that the disciples still did not trust Him. Had he not been faithful all this time?
The disciples demonstrated partial faith by waking Him – they thought, it’s worth a shot to see if He can do something. But they lacked a whole understanding of the God of the universe that dwelt among them. They believed He was worth seeking, but they failed to trust that He was enough, just as He was, to control the reality of their circumstance.
They feared the situation more than they trusted the love of the Lord.
They asked, “Why have you forgotten us? Why don’t you care?”
They let their fear determine their praise. Their kingdom was crashing down around them, and it was too much to bear. Their half-informed understanding of God was that because He was not acting on their time frame, He must not care. This is the lie of fear. This is the absence of peace.
What once was whole had been broken, and rather than seeking restoration to regain the freedom of trusting God, they let the reality of the broken pieces cut them down and reduce them to fearful, faithless fishermen.
Friends, Jesus is enough – just as He is. We must not add to Him before we can trust Him. We must never come to Him demanding that He give us what we want, on our terms, in our time. He is God of the storm, and He is with us in the boat. He is not surprised by our reality – He controls the outcome. When we come to Him in faith, not in fear, He reminds us that knowing Him fully is the ultimate prize.
May we never be fearless fisherwomen who forget the faithfulness of our Savior!
Let’s go meet Jesus where He is, just as He is, and believe that He is enough.