In Mark 4, we see Jesus and His entire circle of future apostles getting in a boat to cross the Sea of Galilee. The apostles had been in a boat on the sea many times, through many storms as fishermen. In my opinion, they should have been experts in handling a storm normally, but not this time. The text tells us that Jesus was sleeping during the storm, and the disciples were in panic mode. These men had seen Jesus heal, Jesus speak with God-like authority, but at that time of personal danger their response is like my response when I am fearful.
Everyone is saying to Jesus, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing (Mark 4:38, ESV)?” They (like us) believed that Jesus had the power to do something, but He wasn’t at this time.
So the big question from both Christians and non-Christians is, “Is God in control, or am I in control?” I hope we Christians know the God-given answer to that question: GOD ALWAYS IS.
Charles Spurgeon gives us a good biblical perspective when he writes, “Remember this, had any other condition been better for you than the one in which you are, divine love would have put you there.” Spurgeon’s point is that God’s agenda for each of His children, if motivated by perfect love, must ultimately be for our highest good. Our highest good is to become more like Jesus in our way of life.
My favorite go-to verse when I can’t seem to connect all the dots, and that voice in my soul is asking “But why God?” is Habakkuk 3:17-19: “Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights.”
We must never forget the power of the Church, my friends.
When the people of God come together in the place of God committed to the purpose of God, we, the Church, can be the most powerful force for good in the cosmos. At this critical time in history, the Church, cannot play it safe with billions of people are still outside of a relationship with Christ Jesus. We know that wars are never won by retreating, and Jesus’ marching orders of “go and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19)” is still in effect today for all members of the Church of Jesus Christ. Serious times require serious thinking, and serious thinking requires an intense focus on God’s point of view, even if it means sailing through a storm.
Jesus said, “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves (Matthew 10:16, ESV),” which tells me that Christ’s love for us does not spare us from suffering. But remember, “our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all (2 Corinthians 4:17).” Many Christians are suffering today because we live in a broken world with broken people, and that results in pain and sorrow. Bad things happen to good people, but our call must be to focus on doing what Christ did, even though He suffered and drank the cup His Father gave Him. The cross and its pain and suffering is not the last chapter. The last chapter is when “every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:10-11, ESV).”
That moment, my brothers and sisters, is what makes today’s fight of faith worth it—no matter what our circumstances might be. May we continue to cry out for God’s abiding love and grace as we follow Jesus wherever He leads us, for the glory of the Father.
John's travels for ministry behind the Iron Curtain led him to found East-West Ministries International in 1993. John and his wife, Susie, live in Dallas, Texas and have a grown daughter and two grandchildren.