My Reader, please join me today in looking at two scriptural accounts in the gospel of Mark. Both of these passages involve a boat, the disciples and Jesus. After prayerfully reading these scriptures, I want to guide you in making a personal application with the boat symbolizing your life, the disciples representing your choices and decisions, and Jesus always being Jesus.
Seeing them (the disciples) straining at the oars, for the wind was
against them, at about the fourth watch of the night He came to them,
walking on the sea; and He (Jesus) intended to pass by them.
But when they saw Him walking on the sea, they supposed that
it was a ghost, and cried out; for they all saw Him and were terrified.
But immediately He spoke with them and said to them, “Take
courage; it is I, do not be afraid.” Then He got into the boat with them,
and the wind stopped; and they were utterly astonished,
Mark 6:48-50 (verses 47-52 is complete account)
In the biblical account, Jesus saw the disciples straining and struggling in the boat but He did not plan to get into the boat with them. The disciples were scared until Jesus assured them of who He was. When invited, He not only got into the boat with them but also calmed the sea. To make a personal application, I think about how Jesus comes to me with the ability to calm the stormy seas of my life if I will ask Him to come into my life, or my boat, and be my personal savior. Romans 10:9 says, “that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:13 restates, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Jesus sees my turbulent seas and in addition to saving me from storms, He promises to be with me through other storms. However, He will not come into the boat of my life unless I ask Him. Jesus sees me straining under my own power to overcome the storminess of my life. He is willing and able to help me but I must ask Him to come into my life. Just as Jesus got into the boat with His disciples, He will come into my life when invited. Personally, I want Him in my boat of life!
Leaving the crowd, they (the disciples) took Him (Jesus) along with
them in the boat, just as He was; and other boats were with Him.
And there arose a fierce gale of wind, and the waves were breaking
over the boat so much that the boat was already filling up.
Jesus Himself was in the stern, asleep on the cushion;
and they woke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care
that we are perishing?” And He got up and rebuked the wind
and said to the sea, “Hush, be still.” And the wind died down
and it became perfectly calm. And He said to them,
“Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
Mark 4:36-40 (verses 35-41 is complete account)
In the biblical account, Jesus and the disciples were together in a boat when they encountered this storm. The disciples worked to survive the turbulence while Jesus took a nap. Finally the disciples woke Him up and asked for His help. Jesus then calmed the storm, but He also criticized them for their lack of faith. Now for a personal application. Once I have accepted Jesus as my savior, I know He is always in my life boat because Deuteronomy 31:6 states, “the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” However, I can be like the disciples and choose to strive to live my life under my own power. Being omnipresent and omniscient, Jesus is not only with me but He also knows all my circumstances. However, He waits for me to exhaust my physical strength and finally cry out to Him for spiritual strength before He acts on my behalf. I suggest that when the disciples woke Jesus, they were praying. I can ask Jesus for help during my storms by praying! I may think Jesus is asleep and not answering my prayers when I do not immediately get the answer I want. But, Isaiah 18:4 assures me, “I (God) will remain quiet and will look on from my dwelling place.” I am God’s dwelling place because I am a temple of the Holy Spirit so He is just as close to me as He was to the disciples in the boat. Although I may think He is sleeping, the Lord may be allowing me to struggle until my strength is depleted and then He will arise at the most opportune moment to intervene. He will come and save me at the perfect moment if I will pray and believe and wait for His response. The fact that Jesus calmed the seas for the disciples after they woke Him is an encouragement to me. The following quote is taken from the July 10 entry in Streams in the Desert. “Once the Lord has given us great faith (me: once I have asked Jesus into the boat of my life), He has been known to test it with long delays (me: I think He is just sleeping)…. True saints of God have endured lengthy times of patient waiting with no reply, not because their prayers were not prayed with intensity, nor because God did not accept their pleas. They were required to wait because it pleased Him who is sovereign and who gives “according to his good purpose” (Philippians 2:13)…. Christ sometimes delays His help so He can test our faith and energize our prayers. Our boat may be tossed by the waves while He continues to sleep, but He will awake before it sinks. He sleeps but He never oversleeps, for He is never too late.”
So, My Reader, have you asked Jesus into your boat? I encourage you not to allow Him to pass you by. He knows about your current storm and how you are straining with the oars of your own efforts. (This is the message of our scripture from Mark 6.) Do not be discouraged when you are caught in more storms even though Jesus is now in your life boat. He may appear to be sleeping but He is aware of the worry winds and wild waves that try to capsize your life boat. Pray; then in His wisdom, He will intervene at the most appropriate time. (This is the message of our scripture from Mark 4.) Your prayers may not be answered according to your timing, but He will never get out of your life once you have invited Him in and He will calm your storms at the best time.