We are in the middle of a study meant to encourage us in our walk. At present, the focus is how God may answer our prayers through intervention (miracles); interaction – where we participate in the solution; or inner action – where the circumstances do not change, but we are changed as we continue to walk in faith and trust God.
We looked at several other scriptures, then moved on to Mark 4, where Jesus calms the storm. First the question was, what did this miracle reveal about Jesus? Well, it’s easy for us to say it was His divinity, because only God controls the wind and waves. Interestingly enough, the disciples at that point seem merely confused. It will be some time before Peter calls Jesus the son of God. Jesus himself does not press this point though, only talking about faith.
Then the question was whether He was concerned about the disciples’ fear. One of our members said no. His argument was that Jesus was using the whole thing as a teaching moment, trying to increase their faith, so their fear was of little consequence. Another countered that when we are trying to teach someone to swim, we are concerned about their fear, because it inhibits their ability to learn what they need to do. If you tense up while swimming, you tend to sink. If we let fear get ahold of us, we do not step out in faith. Yet another view is that Jesus cared about their fear because He cared about them. The boat was sinking and they were in the middle of the lake. That’s not exactly an unreasonable fear!
I kept coming back to His response to them though, have you no faith? Obviously they did have faith in Him or they wouldn’t have come to Him asking for help. They were experienced at sailing and surely knew the procedures, such as furling the sails and bailing out the boat. Were they simply asking Him to help bail, since the boat was being swamped? Or were they asking Him to miraculously save them, but surprised at the magnitude of it when it happened?
I think the Lord gave me the ability to picture the situation. Here are all the disciples, bailing like mad, afraid they are all going to drown in this storm. Jesus however, is sleeping through it all. I think at least in part, they went to wake Him up, so He could pray to God for them, because they did not yet understand that they could ask God directly. They are used to having the priests and prophets and rabbis intercede for them. Jesus is asking them to have enough faith to talk to God themselves.
Of course, people in life threatening situations often cry out to God for rescue, whether believers or not. It is interesting to note that Jesus, in this situation, did not ask for Gods help. He simply commanded the situation to change. There are times when we need that as well. It takes more faith to command change than to just ask God to do it. On the disciples’ part, this was one more miracle from a man of miracles. But on Jesus’ part, it was interaction, Him working with the Father to effect change. And the experience of it must have built the disciples’ faith, so actually all three perspectives are represented in the story. May we have the wisdom to know when to ask and when to command and when to accept our circumstances with joy.