Be encouraged. There is more to life than going through.
As individuals, we have different backgrounds and life experiences. However, despite our diversity, God is committed to meeting each of us at the point of our need and revealing things to us in ways that are relevant and meaningful. For this reason, the New Testament Gospels often recount the same events from various perspectives. As each record accentuates a point of view that would have otherwise been lost in a single retelling, reading each account provides the most comprehensive understanding of what actually happened.
Recorded in Matthew (8: 23-27), Mark (4: 35-41), and Luke (8: 22-25), the disciples encountered a storm while travelling from Galilee to the other side. As the winds were blowing and they feared for their lives, Matthew writes, "Lord, save us! We’re going to drown (verse 25)!" Similarly, Luke records these words: "Master, Master, we’re going to drown (verse 24)!" The retelling that is captured in Mark, however, is markedly different. Although each writer depicted the disciples as men who were desperate for divine intervention, Mark suggests that they were also slightly annoyed with Jesus as they said, "Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown (verse 38)?" Whereas Matthew and Luke focused on what they wanted Jesus to do, Mark questioned Jesus. Whereas the cries recorded by Matthew and Luke assumed that Jesus could save them, Mark wasn’t necessarily doubting his ability to rescue them from the perils of the storm, but rather whether he cared enough to do so. In other words, "I know that you can, but will you do this for me?"
A CRISIS OF FAITH
Despite the differing, but not conflicting perspectives, the response from Jesus was the same and showed that the disciples were experiencing a crisis of faith (Matthew 8: 26-27; Mark 4: 40-41; Luke 8: 25). Like many of us, especially as we’re going through storms of our own, the disciples were surprised that Jesus had everything under control. Despite walking and talking with him, and witnessing the many miracles he performed for others, when they needed Jesus to do something for them, their belief was clouded with unbelief (Mark 9: 24). Parenthetically, if others are critical of you because you’re unsure of how you’ll get through challenging situations, be encouraged. Faith and fear are not incompatible. More accurately, faith is the triumph over fear.
Although the miracles that Jesus had already performed showed unbelievers that he was the Son of God, they were also significant for the 12 men whom he called to help change the world. Moreover, because everything that we experience prepares us for what’s coming next, the storm was not the end; but it was necessary so that the disciples could effectively minister to those on the other side. Even today, how can we encourage others to trust God through difficult seasons if we have not already trusted him for ourselves? How can we tell others to have faith in God if we have not overcome our uncertainty about what God will do for us? How we can tell others that God cares for them if we have not been convinced of this truth ourselves? After we’ve weathered storms with Jesus, and have personally experienced the supernatural power of God, nothing can challenge the reality of who God is.
THE OTHER SIDE OF THROUGH
As always, what we go through is never about us. Therefore, the significance of the storm is not that the disciples made it to the other side, but all that happened on the other side. In other words, the storm was less about the disciples than those whom they were destined to meet on the other side. In fact, not only did Jesus feed a crowd of more than 5,000 with a little boy’s lunch (Mark 6: 33-44), but the same disciples who were amazed that he could handle the storm, also performed extraordinary deeds (Mark 6: 13). So not only does Jesus have supernatural power, but because we know him, we too have the authority to positively affect those around us (John 14: 12).
2 Corinthians 4: 17: "For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long..." As it was for the disciples, our present troubles are simply storms that we must go through. But here’s the good news: storms are temporary. And although we might not realize it while we’re going through, when we get to the other side, and meet people who need to experience the life changing love of God, we’ll know that it was worth it.