You have thirty days to vacate. In the past year and a half, my husband and I had moved one thousand miles away from the only place and people we had ever known. He’d started and left a job under difficult circumstances. And we had navigated the beginnings of marriage, pregnancy, and life with a newborn. Now we were being evicted from our home. Life felt immensely difficult.
Maybe circumstances have you at your wit’s end too? Maybe you too wonder how could a so-called good God allow all this bad to happen to us?
A Peek Inside Another Stormy Hardship
The disciples and Jesus left a large crowd of people and boarded a boat and began to travel to the other side of a lake. It’s key to remember that several of the disciples were fishermen by trade. They would have been familiar with rough waters. So when we read they come to Jesus in such fear that they think they are going to die we can assume this wasn’t a regular storm.
Under pressure, our hearts cry out and question God, and this response is not novel. The men who lived closest alongside Jesus, the disciples, do the same in the gospel account of Mark.
Mark 4:37 (NLT) “But soon a fierce storm came up. High waves were breaking into the boat and it began to fill with water.”
Maybe current situations don’t feel much different than the disciples. Maybe like the disciples our minds immediately believe the worst of God under the pressure of hardship.
Has God abandoned us?
Where is God in this?
Jesus was sleeping. (Mark 4:38)
How could Jesus sleep when the fiercest storm these ex-fishermen had ever encountered was occurring?
Mark 4:38 “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?'”
The disciples’ cries didn’t sound so different from my own and maybe yours too?
Don’t you care God?
Mark 4:39-40 (NLT) “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. Then he asked them, ‘Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?’
What is God Teaching Us in Hardship?
The life Jesus is calling us too requires giant faith, childlike faith. And oftentimes as jaded adults, we need hard proof that Jesus is in fact trustworthy. The only way our focus is precise enough to see Him and remember His faithfulness to us is when we’ve seen His power in our most desperate hour.
The problems my family was facing prompted me to search for Jesus. Nothing quite like difficulty makes us desperate for Jesus’ intervention into our lives.
The thing about Jesus is He does in fact care. He cares too much to allow us to live with smaller faith than He knows we will need to accomplish His purposes.
The disciples would go on to face many more fiery trials, and ultimately they would see Jesus crucified. They would need affirmed faith in the coming days that this Jesus was who He said He was. They would need to know that in the days ahead He wouldn’t be walking with them in flesh anymore. They would need childlike faith to believe that He would be with them in Spirit and that He would return for them. That this Jesus man could do everything He said He would do. They needed to know He could do it even when they couldn’t physically see Him do it. This is the type of faith Jesus was trying to produce in the disciples in their storm, and it is the type of faith you and I must develop too.
You and I will face many more fiery trials in this life of following Christ. Instead of allowing ourselves to believe that God wants us to be drowned in the storms of this life, that God is trying to abandon us, let’s choose to believe something true.
God is teaching us to call on and depend on Him. God is building within us a faith that can see through the storm. God is teaching us to not fear the circumstances and storms this life will throw at us but to fear and revere the one the winds and waves obey.
Mark 4:41 (NLT) “The disciples were absolutely terrified. ‘Who is this man?’ they asked each other. ‘Even the wind and waves obey him!'”
Life continued on when we had to leave behind our old house. We saw God’s hands and feet move. We were secured safely into another home closer to my husband’s new job. Our needs were met in ways we couldn’t even have foreseen we would have needed. Life didn’t become easier as I had originally prayed in those weak moments, but we were equipped with stronger faith that we continue to use today.
When circumstances don’t seem to be getting any less complicated we don’t have to exhaust ourselves with doubts that God has abandoned us. He is there waiting, unconcerned because He knows that He is sustaining us. He is asleep in our storm, calmly waiting for us to call on His power. Wake Him up and let’s allow our faith to sail to new heights.