Learning Childish Lessons
In Mark 4:35-41 we read of an account that every child has heard at the knee of his or her Bible class teacher at some time. As children, we thrilled to the picture of a half sunken ship in a fierce gale until the Master of all speaks, "peace, be still", and the gale turns to a perfect calm. As children it was easy to see the message in Jesus' question from verse 40, "How is it that you have no faith?" We are convinced that the disciples should have trusted Jesus and not been frightened. What happens to us then as we grow older? As adults, why is this lesson not so clear to us? Do you suppose it's because....
It's hard to stand steady when great winds rock the boat. When the pressures of life begin to mount up and the vessel of our life begins to shift and spin a little, it's difficult to remember Jesus is still there in the boat with us.
He's there when our friends invite us to participate in activities that our conscience says is wrong for the Christian, or at the very best, questionable. We need to remember that we will not be alone if they go on without us for the Lord is near. If we're serving Him He's right back there in the stern of our ship, right behind us always.
It's become common among Christians today to excuse themselves from pleasing God to go and please their employers instead. I'll leave the matter of a family's breadwinner trying to please two masters and missing worship from time to time to their own judgment and conscience in pleasing God. But, when we speak of placing our service of worship to our Creator behind extra jobs, second shifts, second incomes and teen spending money, I'm wondering if we've forgotten the lessons we knew as children. We've forgotten that Jesus is near and He will take care of us (Mt.6:33). Is life really blowing our boat around as hard as we want other to think, or are we simply trying to excuse our chasing after the dollar?
But, then again......
It's hard to stand when the boat is filling with water. When it is not a matter of some wind and spray, but instead, the waves are breaking over us, it is difficult not to be afraid. Things like loneliness, depression, or frustration with events that seem to be out of our control can make us think that surely the end is near, surely we are perishing therefore we might as well just give up. Losing a job, or a loved one, or even an eagerly hoped for opportunity can make it appear that our ship has run aground and we are hopelessly and irretrievably lost. But, look around once more. Jesus is still there with you. He has the power to calm this storm like all the others and bring us through safely to the other side. Do not give in to the lie of hopelessness as long as you are earnestly seeking the Savior. Remember what you expected of those apostles. Sometimes the appearance that all is lost and over is just that, an appearance. It is not the truth. The blackness of night always comes before each new day and new roads and opportunities are often available for those who will lift up their eyes to the light of men.
Friend, when it comes to life, listen to the Creator and Master of it all. He asks still, "why are you so timid?" Wind and waves do make it hard to stand, He understands that. Trials, tribulations and temptations in this life make it difficult to be steadfast and confident. But, look around with the eyes of a spiritual child. The child of God is never left to deal with a storm alone. Jesus is right there with us, he never leaves. He has the power to calm and still and stop the raging currents and winds that we are so fearful of. All we need is the same simple belief and understanding that we had as children. We just need to get close and stay close to Him and He will carry us through. God bless.
By Carl McMurray
From Expository Files 3.1; January 1996