Then he got into the boat with them and the wind ceased. Mark 6:47-56 Although they were struggling with the wind, Jesus actually intended to go past the disciples who had left without him. He was all too willing to allow them to struggle with the wind until they saw what they thought was a ghost and became afraid. At this point the disciples have lost their focus. This happens to me. I start my day without thanksgiving in my heart and I am fighting against a simple wind all day. But then Christ makes himself known in some uncanny way like finding a forgotten letter from a friend or seeing a hummingbird outside my window. At first these kinds of things catch me off guard but slowly they invite themselves into my space and whatever I am struggling with seems to dissolve. I am able to refocus my actions and safely find myself right where I need to be with God close by my side and on the other side of the struggle, that has been ceased, by praise and thanksgiving in my heart.
It was now dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them (John 6:15-27). Does this sound familiar? Where is Jesus? The disciples decide to go on without him and lo and behold he comes to them walking on the water! I often wonder would their response be any different, if when they arrived on the other side of Galilee, Jesus had already been there waiting for them. No doubt, that would have taken them by surprise as well. The disciples waited as long as they could and apparently they needed to get to the other side. Much like the disciples we find ourselves in a position of having to make a decision before we are ready. What I find encouraging about this story is that Jesus did not appear to be upset because they had left him. In fact I believe that perhaps Jesus was encouraged that they chose to move forward. Once the chaos of the crowd dies down Jesus makes his way to be with his disciples just as the sea became rough. Jesus said to his disciples; “I am: do not be afraid.(Gk translation)” Sometimes making a decision, in the midst of darkness and storms, is the last thing we want to do. Nevertheless in faith we too should not be afraid to move forward because one way or the other with Christ behind us supporting our efforts, before us making preparations, and let’s not forget the times he carries us along the way, we will get to the other side.
Jesus, the Word made flesh, the one in whom we believe, said to his disciples, “Let us go across to the other side” and the disciples agree to go (Mark 4:35-41). At this point the disciples had no reason to believe that they wouldn’t make it until a storm arose. After waking Jesus from sleeping in the stern of the boat they immediately questioned him “ Do you not care that we are perishing?” Jesus responds; “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith? Are these not the same two questions we must ask over in our hearts today as we face unexpected storms in our own life? We know that submitting in fear to an overwhelming situation isn’t the answer, and yet we forget that simply submitting the situation to God is. Thus, when our comfort level in life becomes distracted, falling back into unproductive behavior is often a form of fear; keeping us from moving forward in this journey. We know that God never promised us a storm-free life. In fact he assures us that we will encounter many storms (Matt 5:1-12). However, I believe in some ways his sleeping in the stern is a form of command to stop trying to fight battles we most assuredly can not win on our own, claim God’s peace and confess that God is with us! Blessedly assured that when the storm is over we will find our selves on the other side, not only as survivors but victors as well.