Have you ever struggled with worry? I have before, and I still find myself struggling with it now. There are several reasons lately that are ever-present: the seemingly rapid pace of society is moving from God’s moral compass. Issues like the normalization of homosexuality, gender identification, and other sexually permissive behaviors. Then, the present pandemic is wreaking havoc with the church’s functioning and our efforts to grow together as His body. Where is all of this taking us? Where is it taking me? It can be a little overwhelming. Worry can be so exhausting! One person writes, “Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow; it only saps today of its joy.” A Swedish proverb says, “Worry often gives a small thing a big shadow.” During our bible class on Tuesday night, we briefly discussed a text in Mark 4:35-41. That text gives insight into where worry comes from and how to become focused again.
And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat so that it was already filling.
Life at times can seem like a series of distractions, filling our minds with things that destabilize our thoughts and cause us to sink into times of anxiety and lose sight of hope and joy. Winston Churchill once said, “When I look back on all these worries, I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had had a lot of trouble in life, most of which had never happened.” This thought brings us to our text for today. We find the disciples in a boat with Jesus, sleeping at the stern (v38), with a great storm buffeting their boat. Before we go further, we need to look back a couple of chapters and see the wonders of Jesus, witnessed by some and, in many cases, all His disciples. The casting out of an unclean spirit (Mark 1:21-28), the healing of Peter’s mother-in-law along with many others (Mark 1:29-34), the cleansing of the leper (Mark 1:40-45), and the healing of the paralytic (Mark 2:1-12). Okay, now back to the story and how the disciples reacted. They wake Jesus saying, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” (v38). First, it was their perceived reality that initiated their fear. We are going to die! Some of them were fishermen and most likely experienced turbulent seas. It seemed hopeless! That is, with Jesus out of the picture. They thought Jesus could do something, but He was sleeping. How many of us, at times, believe Jesus is sleeping; that is, able to do something but absent from doing it? When life’s troubles distract us from seeing Jesus and trusting He is working things through, worry will begin to consume us.
Why are you fearful? How is it that you have no faith?
This word translated as “fearful” carries the idea of being cowardly, timid, fearful, i.e., faithless. Seriously Jesus, are You kidding me? Can’t You see the water in the boat, the waves crashing over the sides? Without the presence of Jesus, the One who healed so many, their perceived reality was very real! I know, He healed many, but this is not healing! This situation is different. Jesus gets up and rebukes the wind and the sea, saying, “Peace, be still!” The Greek word for peace figuratively means to be calm. Why were they fearful? The storm around them had distracted them from believing in the One whom they had chosen to follow. They had lost sight of their faith. All too often in my life, my worry is attributed to this simple fact, I become distracted and lose sight of Jesus.
I will not deny that there are disturbing things in this world of ours, storms that seem to fill our minds with something that, over time, can become distracting. From what though? From the most important thing of all; that is, the hope and joy that is found in Jesus and Him alone. The solution? Let Jesus take care of the storm while we place our faith in Him.