Early in the journey the disciples had to learn they could trust Jesus to respond. Though He may be unpredictable in His ways, He was very much predictable in His heart. They might not know how Jesus was going to respond, but they could know and place confidence in who He was going to be when He responded. Though they shook, He stayed steady and in His steadiness, they found reassurance and rest. Their confidence in His consistency would enable them to face what life brought their ways with confidence and security.
After a long day in ministry, Jesus put His disciples in a boat to lead them across the lake. While they journeyed He retreated to the back for some much needed rest and recovery. A day of ministry had left Him in need of a recharge. The disciples knew this rhythm well. They weren't worried about Jesus resting in the back of the boat. They were more than happy to serve their Rabbi in this way.
Because the Sea of Galilee sits far below sea level it is nothing for a storm to rush in out of nowhere. One minute the water is calm and collected and the next it’s beating up against the boat so violently those inside fear for their lives. The same can be said in regards to life as we know it. If you've lived long at all, you've experienced an unexpected storm in life. ) The world and its people are unpredictable. If you aren’t currently battling the winds, you can bet the farm, that soon the tide will shift and your once steady boat will rock. Everyone gets a turn to battle the unpredictable winds of life.
What you do when the weather shifts makes a difference. The management of the vessels carrying you through life will either be sustained or destroyed as you "batten down the hatches." The way you intended to reach your destination might not actually be the way you survive the storm. As the waves tossed their battered boat back and forth, the disciples had one hope and He slept unaffected in the stern.
Mark 4:35, "He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!”Then the wind died down and it was completely calm."
After rebuking the storm, Jesus turned to His friends, "what were you doing, why were you afraid. Haven't you realized by now you don't have to react in panic?"
Jesus had given them a word before they started this journey across the lake, "lets go to the other side." And that word was enough to get them there. He didn't say the journey there would be easy. He didn't guarantee them they wouldn't struggle, but His intention in this journey was to get to the other side.
Psalm 119:11 says, "I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you."
By this point in the journey, Jesus and His disciples had begun to build a history together. The disciples were in on the fact that something different was happening in and through this man. They might not have fully embraced His deity yet, but they were on their way. The steadiness of Jesus in the midst of whatever they faced invited the disciples deeper and deeper into a place of intimacy and trust. Jesus said they were going to the other side. They didn't have to know how they were going to get there, but they had to trust, they were going to get there. This storm had nothing on them with the word of God hidden within them.
They were learning to trust Jesus's response. And each time Jesus consistently responded their trust grew. I, personally am so thankful we have a Father who moves into response mode at the threat of any wave. I can list a handful of undisciplined reactions that have left me banged and bruised as I've traveled through life. Some from myself and some from those around me. It's never fun when the person who has the ability to help you navigate the waves responds in a way that increases them instead. As a mom, I instantly think of the times my girls have needed me to provide a safe place for their emotions to deescalate and instead, I reacted in a way that only did the opposite. As a mom, I can also remember the times I've been able to stay steady in the word of the Father, and respond to them in a way that opens a door to intimacy and connection bringing us closer in the midst of their emotions.
It’s healthy and healing when we learn to respond instead of react. When the places of our hearts are so governed by the thermostat of His love that we are free to give regardless of the pain. To be a thermostat is to offer a steady, predictable calmness to the world regardless of what's happening around you.Thermostats set the temperature. They are not governed by the wind, the waves, or the emotions of those within the boat. The disciples panicked and all the power they possessed to move forward left them. They had the word of Jesus and it was enough to steady their posture, but their fear convinced them they needed more. Running down to the stern of the boat one of Jesus's disciples shook him awake, "teacher, don't you even care if we drown?" (Mark 4:38)
Jesus stood up, silenced the wind and waves, and then turned to face His fear feared followers.
How does one learn the invitation to stay steady?
In regards to living a life of faith famous theologian Eugene Peterson always said, “it’s about long obedience in the same direction.” The question we have to ask ourselves then becomes; is the way I weather the storms of life sustainable? When my boat takes a beating, do I cling to the promises of God or do I get lost in panic trying to bail myself out? Emotions not governed by the chaos of the world, but by the heart of the Father offer a safe dwelling place for those in our lives; those we lead, those we parent, those we disciple, and even just those we comfort for a season.