As evening came, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s cross to the other side of the lake.” So they took Jesus in the boat and started out, leaving the crowds behind (although other boats followed). But soon a fierce storm came up. High waves were breaking into the boat, and it began to fill with water. Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion. The disciples woke him up, shouting, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown?” When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Silence! Be still!” Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm.
Mark 4:35-39 (NLT)
The story of Jesus calming the storm is told in three of the four Gospels: Matthew, Mark, and Luke. Each account describes a trip across the lake after a long day of teaching. Jesus — who was fully God yet also fully human — was understandably tired and took a nap. While He was sleeping, a great storm blew in. Just as the waves threatened to overwhelm the boat, fear threatened to overwhelm the disciples.
We often react the same way, don’t we? We can become overwhelmed by external circumstances (relationship troubles, job loss, debt, too many demands on our time, parenting, caring for elderly parents) or by internal conditions (fear, anxiety, depression, anger, resentment). And when it feels like the winds of those overwhelming storms might knock us down for good, we frequently find ourselves looking around frantically. Can anyone help me? Does anyone notice what’s going on here? Who’s in charge? Where is God in all this?
We can become so overwhelmed with fear or pain that we lash out, looking for anything to stop the storm. We might begin to seek solutions or solace from anyone or anything that offers a substitute for real hope or help. We turn to Google or Facebook, a punishing workout, or a numbing drink. All the while, God is holding us in His hand. He isn’t asleep, and He hasn’t forgotten about us — even when in our panic we’ve forgotten about Him.
Like the disciples in the boat with Jesus, we desperately need hope when life is overwhelming and we’re tempted to panic and forget what’s true. But while we’re all going to falter in our faith at times, it’s what we do next that counts. Will we spiral deeper into panic and doubt? Or will we acknowledge God’s presence and power and turn our focus back to Him?
In Mark 4:39, to stop a raging storm, Jesus utters just three words: “Silence! Be still!” These words echo Psalm 46, which begins with a familiar declaration of hope: “God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble” (v. 1 NLT). Toward the end of that psalm, God says, “Be still, and know that I am God!” (v. 10 NLT). We see a similar command even earlier, in the book of Exodus. As Moses attempts to calm and reassure the Israelites during their escape from Egypt, he says, “The Lord will fight for you, and you must be quiet” (Exodus 14:14). Other translations of that verse say you must “remain calm” or “keep still.”
When we read these passages together, a clear picture is formed of a God who can win wars and calm storms with a single word. So even though our life may feel like pure chaos as we juggle (and drop) balls in our attempt to manage everything on our own, He is not just offering us a lifeline. He is our lifeline. He is our rope of hope when we are overwhelmed, showing us again and again that He is our best and only hope.
This devotion is written by Mary Carver, adapted from Create in Me a Heart of Hope .
True or False: You need hope today.
No matter who you are or what you’re going through, we all need the kind of hope that lasts, hope that strengthens and sustains us, hope we get offer to others (because when they see our lives, they’re going to want it!).Leave a Comment