October 24, 2019
We all face trials in life. Those trials are varied, but each one can test our faith. Financial difficulties can weigh us down, as can health problems or marital strife. Many people who first come to Jesus for salvation are under the impression that life will be rosy with no more troubles. Oh, if that were only true. The fact is, life on this side of Heaven is filled with financial troubles, health worries, job pressures, marital discord, and all the things everyone in the world faces. The difference is that a Christian has Jesus to lean on. “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33. Jesus spoke these words to His disciples as He was explaining to them that He was about to be crucified. He wanted them to find peace no matter what was about to happen. It’s not easy to find peace, let alone to be of good cheer, in conflict or worry, but Jesus gives us His peace.
In times of trouble, fear can be our biggest enemy. The trials we face in life can have many consequences, and fear can make the trouble worse. Even the disciples who walked very close to Jesus let fear into their minds and hearts. One day Jesus was teaching a group of people by the seaside. I can almost hear the waves lapping upon the shore and the birds calling. Above it all, the voice of Jesus speaking and teaching. A very peaceful scene indeed. There were so many people present that He had entered into a ship so all could see and hear. That day He chose to teach in parables. He taught about a farmer who sowed seeds that fell on various soils. Some seeds grew, some didn’t. The disciples didn’t understand the meaning, but Jesus explained that the seeds were the word of God. When we face problems in life, if we haven’t allowed the word of God to grow strong in our hearts, fear can cause us to falter. “And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.” Mark 4:19. How do you react when the world seems to fall in around you? If you accepted the word of God and let it grow, when a health problem looms before you or financial problems come along, you’ll find the peace of God to comfort you and see you through. Parables were a favorite teaching tool used by Jesus, and He spoke many that day. His words should have strengthened the disciples in their faith, yet these men who spent so much time learning from Jesus had the same weaknesses as you and I. When things get bad, we let fear overcome our faith.
After Jesus taught by that lovely seaside, He sailed away. Suddenly the sea became stormy. The tranquil time on the shore listening to Jesus teach gave way to a raging storm at sea. “And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship so that it was now full.” Mark 4:37. It’s the same today. Everything seems to be going along just fine, then a storm hits and we begin to fear the storm. One can only imagine the fear that gripped the men sailing with Jesus. Yes, they should have had faith that He would see them through because He had said: “Let us pass over to the other side.”. He didn’t say, “Let’s go halfway and sink”. They feared because they believed the storm was greater than Jesus. Some of those men were experienced fishermen who should have weathered many similar storms. It’s easy to only see the storm and the trouble and think that Jesus doesn’t care. Where was Jesus? “And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish?” Mark 4:38. I’m sorry to say that I’ve felt that way a few times in my life. Shame on me. I know Jesus cares, but when I look at the storm, fear takes ahold of my mind. He cared for those fishermen, He cares for me, and He also cares for you. Whatever trial you’re facing, He cares very much. Maybe a loved one has just died and you don’t know how to face life without him or her. Lean on Jesus. Let His strength be your strength. Maybe it’s an illness you face. Fear will make things worse. Jesus will give you the peace that will see you through the storm.
The disciples only saw the storm and let fear muddle their thinking. They were in the ship with Jesus and should have felt safe and secure, but they accused Him of not caring. What did they want from Him? They didn’t ask for Him to stop the storm but seemed to want Him to bail the water out of the boat. Jesus knew the true need. “And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? How is it that ye have no faith?” Mark 4:39-40. Ouch. They had accused Him of not caring, but He pointed out their lack of faith.. Since Jesus was resting, they should have known there was nothing to fear. The disciples were just regular people like you and me. Like us, they had faith until they were tested. Also like us, when the problem was solved, they found other things to fear. “And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” Mark 4:41. They feared the storm, then feared the solution to the storm. Instead of peace, fear continued to cloud their minds. This storm passed, but something more dreadful awaited them on the other shore. They were in the country of the Gadarenes where they were met by a man filled with a legion of demons. Storm or demons, Jesus is greater than all problems. Find peace in Him.
Jesus is our example and by looking to Him we can learn many lessons. There were plenty of problems that could have kept Jesus awake that day. He faced much persecution, most of His family thought He was crazy, He could have fretted about the vile accusations that were said against His mother, and the Pharisees wanted to kill Him. That’s enough to keep anybody awake! He also knew that He would be put to death and all of His friends would desert Him. In spite of the raging storm of troubles that could have kept Him awake, Jesus had peace. What awakened Him? The voices of His followers crying out to Him. Oddly, they didn’t ask Him to quell the storm but just asked if He cared that they were all perishing. Some believe that this storm was more than a normal storm…more of a demonic attack. Jesus rebuked the storm just as He rebuked demons who tormented people. Indeed, some of the attacks we face are demonic in nature. These evil beings can even oppress Christians to the point of despair. Why don’t we turn to Jesus first instead of struggling along making things worse on our own? Storms come, but Jesus brings peace.
There were smaller boats that followed along with the ship Jesus was in. Those little boats were also touched by the storm. That’s how it is in life. No person is isolated and when a loved one suffers, we also suffer. A husband fears as his wife goes through an illness. Children fear as they watch their parents fight and threaten divorce. A parent fears for a child who rebels against authority. Jesus will help us through each storm. Brothers and sisters, call out to Him in prayer. Christians will find peace through Jesus and strength to get through every storm. The people around us who are touched by our storms will see our faith and ask how we find peace instead of fear. Many years ago, when my mother was fighting cancer and many other problems, she was always able to smile. She loved Jesus and instead of letting fear win, she trusted Him for the victory. When she had visitors or met a stranger, she always found a way to comfort them and share her faith. Like the Apostle Paul, my mother desired to serve Jesus. “According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Philippians 1:20-21. My mother died, but her faith in Jesus did not leave her in the grave. She had nothing to fear in life nor in death because of her rock-solid faith that Jesus would see her through safely to the other side. Her faith strengthened my own.
It’s easy to proclaim our faith in Jesus when we have smooth sailing in life, but when our faith is tested, we sometimes lose the peace that comes from faith in Jesus. The disciples had seen many miracles and heard His teaching, and yet they were still able to forget who He was. Their fear took away their peace. We aren’t any different than they were. We trust Jesus with our eternity, but we just can’t quite trust Him to see us through today. When a storm in life rages, we sometimes accuse Him of not caring. He does care. He gave His life for us and there is no love greater than that. Because He cares He also gave us the way to perfect peace in all of life’s challenges. “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27. The world cannot give us the peace that only comes from Jesus.
“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7. Jesus cares. Talk to Him and trust Him through the storm. Let His peace bring peace during the storm.
God bless you all,
All original scripture is “theopneustos” God breathed.
If you’d like to be on my mailing list to receive the commentaries just drop me an email and let me know.