[reprinted from December 15, 2009]
– Henry Neufeld
As evening was approaching that day, he said, “Let’s go to the other side.” So he left the crowd, and they joined Jesus in the boat where he was already sitting. There were other boats with him. And there was a violent wind storm and the waves were coming over the side of the boat, so that it was already filling with water. And he was in the prow sleeping on a pillow. So they roused him and said to him, “Teacher! Doesn’t it matter to you that we’re dying here? So he rose up, rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Be calm! Shut up!” And the wind stopped and there was perfect calm. Then he said to them, “Why were you afraid? Don’t you have faith yet?” Then they were very afraid, and the said to one another, “What kind of person is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” Mark 4:35-41 (HN)
What makes you afraid?
Consider a driver, recklessly speeding and driving erratically. He is in danger. Perhaps he is intoxicated. But generally he’s not afraid. Then the flashing lights come up behind. Now he’s afraid. Why? Because he’s going to be pulled over and suffer consequences for his actions.
He should have been afraid when he was weaving down the road. That was the greatest danger. The consequences for his actions will be considerably less than they would have been for an accident, in which he might have faced death or permanent physical disability.
But the strongest fear comes in the presence of authority, and authority that is going to save him from himself.
The disciples are not doing anything wrong, but they are in danger. They may be swept away by a storm and drown. They wake Jesus up. I’m not really sure what they expected. Clearly they hadn’t said to themselves, “Let’s wake Jesus up. He’ll stop the storm.” Perhaps they thought he would help bail out the boat.
Jesus commands the storm to be quiet. Authority. Action. Decisiveness. And because of who he is, the storm obeys Jesus.
While Jesus calls the disciples “fearful” of the storm, the result of them seeing Jesus in action is “great fear” or perhaps we could even say terror. Who is this? How is it that even wind and waves obey him?
This, I believe, is where the disciples were pointed in the direction of moving from faith to trust. They knew Jesus was powerful. They’d seen miracles. But this was something more. This was incredible power. Wouldn’t you be afraid of someone who could command a storm to stop? Can you trust someone with that sort of power?
Trust is the key. The disciples had to learn to trust Jesus. We have to learn to trust God. We can realize that God is powerful without trusting him to do what is best. As long as we do not get that trust, we will remain afraid of God. Not in awe of, or having an appropriate fear of God—being afraid of God and what he might do.
Like the reckless driver in the car, our own lives are the real danger. God may discipline us. He may allow discomfort, but he’s the solution. We need to learn to fear the right thing, and trust the right thing.
I Will Follow Him written by Franck Pourcel & Paul Mauriat and sung by the cast of Sister Act