Devotion for November 4, 2023

“A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, ‘Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?’” (Mark 4:37,38).

Sometimes I read this account and wonder, “What if?” What if the disciples hadn’t woken Jesus up? How does the storm resolve, then? It is hard to imagine any outcome for this story except waking Jesus up. The disciples sound pretty unimpressed with Jesus’ choice to sleep — who can blame them? We know how the story ends; we have the benefit of hindsight, and we may find ourselves being a little too hard on the disciples, who could possibly have had more faith in their teacher at the time.

On the other hand, have you ever felt like Jesus is sleeping through the storm your boat is sailing in? We might ask our closest family, friends or pastor, “What is God doing? Why isn’t he doing anything?” We might read this story and feel like we are in the stormy boat with Jesus, shaking him to wake him up.

Friend, we know that, of course, Jesus cared whether the disciples drowned or not. At that moment, their fear came out as an angry question. We know Jesus loved them all the same. If you are in a stormy sea right now, perhaps you feel Jesus is sleeping through it or, for whatever reason, is not calming the waters you know he can. Forgive yourself if you’ve asked him angry questions out of fear or expressed your frustration to others that way.

Jesus knows your fear. Your life is in his hands. You are safe with him. While we know Jesus was asleep in this boat, we also know from Psalm 121 that the Lord who watches over us neither slumbers nor sleeps (verses 3 and 4). There is some mystery here, but know this: The Lord is in the boat with you. We are never alone.

Prayer

Lord, thank you for your presence in my storms. Please forgive me for the times I have asked whether you are even in the storm with me, never mind the boat. Help me remember that you are with me wherever I go through, and I pray that you will help me to encourage others with grace when they are struggling through their own stormy waters. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Stay encouraged!

Pastor Mike

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