White water rafting guides always seem crazy when you first meet them. I mean no offense by that either. Their dress and appearance are those who are looking for an exciting thrilling adventure, all without sleeves and sometimes without shoes. For a guy like me who doesn’t frequently go down white water rafting, this can be somewhat scary to begin with. They spend a few minutes teaching you how to operate the boat and then ask you to get in and follow them down the rapids that could very well kill me. As we go down the river, where I think we will never get out of this alive, the river guide is yawning. To him this is nothing but just an ordinary day at a river he knows backwards and forwards and, to him, presents no real danger. Jesus and His disciples had a similar situation with his disciples. They had been tasked with Following Jesus wherever he went.
That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”
He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.
He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” – Mark 4:35-41
Jesus will go places and very often they will not be places that you want to go. You will have the leave the safety and security of the familiar (Follow Part 1) and you will need to crucify your personal desires and wants (Follow Part 2) and you will be lead to places you have never seen. The places we follow Christ into will feel uncomfortable, foreign, and even unsettling at times, but never forget that you are following a Victorious King. We are following a Great, Sovereign King, who is not deterred by mere storms.
There is no question that the storm that the disciples were facing was a real storm. The storm is described as “furious” with waves overcoming the boat to the point that it was almost full of water and sinking. No one is doubting that the storms were real. Yet in the midst of this storm, Jesus is sleeping. During a raging, horrific storm, Jesus is asleep.
There is a certain amount of apathy that comes from true strength. Typically people can’t sleep during times of high stress or when they fear for their lives. This is so clearly not the case for Jesus. In a storm that is about to overtake the boat, Jesus is fast asleep. Even more, when the disciples wake him up, indignantly, Jesus looks at them almost dumbfounded that they would really think that the storm would kill them. Had they forgotten with whom they traveled? They were traveling with the one who spoke creation into being at the beginning of time, the God become flesh who would take back His people from the clutches of death. A mere torrential storm would not be his demise. Jesus didn’t need to prove his strength by an epic showdown with the storm, he was secure enough in His identity to know that the storm posed no threat to Him.
For us, we will face storms in our lives. For some its the storm of finances and trying to figure out how to make ends meet. For others it’s the storm of trying to feel belonging and loved by others. For some it is the storm of moral failure and things of the sort. Whatever storm you may be facing, it does not scare the Lord God Almighty, for our God has conquered everything. Following God through the storm does not involve you questioning your ability to navigate the storm but only seeking to rest in the strength of the one you follow. When we follow God, it is His strength that cuts through the barriers and obstacles. The path is clear before us because it is Christ who first plowed through and established the path. Our job is merely to set our eyes on the one in front of us and be at peace knowing that we are protected.
“In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.” – Proverbs 16:9
When the Lord establishes our steps, whatever our plans may be, the path of least resistance will belong to God. Even though the storm may look daunting and as if it is about to overtake our lives, the storm in nothing compared to the strength of Jesus Christ.
Question for Thought When was a time you follow God into the storm or through the storm and how did it turn out? Feel free to comment your thoughts below or email at firstname.lastname@example.org