By Sam Fink
This week our worship and teaching focused on Mark chapter 4, which centers on Jesus calming the squall which had paralyzed His disciples, and then turning to ask them piercing questions, in no uncertain words. His first question is unexpected and convicting: “Why are you afraid?” This is unexpected, of course, because the storm was obvious.
For those who don’t know: Mark is the shortest of the New Testament gospels, almost 30% shorter than the next. It is known for being concise, and at times abrupt, impacting a reader’s experience by leaving us largely with facts instead of explanations, and at least for me, with a longing for more.
Chapter 4 is no exception to Mark’s characteristic brevity. And as I rediscovered the startling truth that Jesus is the one who calms even my own personal storm, I couldn’t help but wonder just what that storm was, for me. I know that I’ve been through storms before, but right now, I just can’t come up with anything.
In fact, if I were to look out my own metaphorical window and check the weather, this week, I’d tell you there really isn’t any weather at all. I’m not particularly scared, and I don’t really feel like a failure.
Conversely, I haven’t felt altogether brave or successful lately either. I’ve existed nicely, with no great triumph or catastrophe.
I’ve existed nicely, with no great triumph or catastrophe.
And so, in the triviality of my particular circumstance, I could attempt to confidently continue on, not good or bad, cold or warm. I could, if Jesus had stopped at asking only His first question. But He presses further than only my fear, asking, “Do you still have no faith?”
He presses further than only my fear, asking, “Do you still have no faith?”
I’ve called out to God in my past storms, and as He rebuked them and left me safe in placid waters, I’ve continued on, as if of my own merit. I have at times, been of very little faith, forgetting the words of the Psalmist, “O give thanks to the Lord; call upon His name; make known His deeds among the peoples!”
I’ve had storms before, and I’ll have storms again–it’s a part of living life as sinner. My prayer, though, is that as Jesus stands for me and rebukes my storms, and as I am delivered despite my own helplessness and fear, I will give thanks to Him who saves me. For “even the wind and the waves obey Him,” and He is very, very good.
To dig a little further into chapter 4 of Mark and chapters 1-3 click here for the Taking Worship Home notes.