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  • Steve McFarland

What Not to do When Your Ship is Sinking

Mark 4:35-39 On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, "Let us cross over to the other side." Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat so that it was already filling. But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, "Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?" Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, "Peace, be still!" And the wind ceased and there was a great calm.

This is one of my favorite stories in the life of Jesus. The reason it stands out to me is I so relate with the actions and responses of the disciples. They made two critical mistakes. Mistakes I have previously made in facing one of life's “storms”. Maybe you can relate also.

Mistake #1 Trying to deal with the storm while leaving Jesus asleep in the boat.

Several of the disciples were fishermen, expert sailors, and no doubt they figured they could deal with the storm. They didn’t wake Jesus until the boat was filling, in other words sinking!

There have been times when faced with a significant challenge that I have tried to solve it on my own. Not seeking Christ in prayer, not considering how to apply the principles he taught into my actions, nor using the help he provides through other believers. I have found that in doing this it leads to the same thing the disciples experienced; frustration, fear, and getting very tired.

Mistake #2 Trying to get Jesus to help them do what they think should be done

When they woke Jesus and he miraculously calmed the sea they were totally shocked! They never expected that. So why did they wake him? I believe so he could grab a bucket and help them bale out the water.

Today our approach to Jesus is through prayer. Unfortunately we can be misguided in that approach. Thinking prayer is the means to convince Jesus to do what we want when we want, and the way we want it done. “Hey, Jesus grab a bucket and help us bale water!” Then if he doesn’t perform the way we think he should we, like the disciples, wonder does he care about us.

Prayer is a means to express our concerns, but it is also to release those concerns into his hands and trust him. To build confidence that he is with us and will work it out for good for us, and in us no matter how the situation goes. What the disciples didn’t understand is Jesus doesn’t have to bale water, he commands the sea. After all he created it. So it is with us and our challenges. He doesn’t need a bucket to bale us out of the current life storm, he commands life. After all he created it.

My guess is Peter, who often seemed to stick his foot in his mouth was the one who actually asked Jesus “do you not care”. But it also was Peter after years with many hardships, now sitting in a dungeon waiting to be crucified, said concerning Jesus, “cast all your cares on him, for he cares for you”.


My prayer for you is one the Apostle Paul made

I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Ephesians 3:16-20

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