Who Is in the Storm with You?
That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”
He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.
He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” (Mark 4:35-41)
We certainly live in an age that is full of fear. Whether it is terrorism, war, the economy, government over-reach, disease, or just an internal anxiety, fear seems to be everywhere. Yet the commands of God throughout Scripture tell us not to fear. Instead, we are to be a people of faith. Faith and fear cannot share the same space in our hearts, according the One who has said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33)!
The storm on the Sea of Galilee was of such intensity that the disciples feared for their lives. How could Jesus sleep in the boat while they struggled for survival and wondered if they would die? After the disciples awakened Him, Jesus got up and did what only God could do . . . He calmed the storm. Interestingly, that act terrified the disciples, too. They moved from one kind of fear to the next. That’s often what happens when we give in to fear.
Jesus’ questions to His disciples reveal much to us today about fear and faith. “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” The reason the disciples could have and should have had faith, even in the face of the storm, was the presence of the Son of God in their boat. Did they really believe that Jesus was going to drown? Horizontal thinking focuses on the storm. The vertical perspective focuses on the One in the storm with us: “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). Faith is able to overcome fear. Jesus, who lives in us, is always able to incapacitate fear if we are willing to release our fear to His care.
Faith in Jesus deals with fear in every aspect of life. As we cultivate an awareness of His presence with us, our faith will grow and our fear will recede. One of the marks of the Church as we face increasingly dangerous times preceding our Lord’s return will be strong faith instead of paralyzing fear. Unbelievers are watching to see how we handle fearful situations and seasons. It is our faith in Jesus that can become attractive to others. Scripture says that the process of faith over fear should be simple: “Every God-begotten person conquers the world’s ways. The conquering power that brings the world to its knees is our faith. The person who wins out over the world’s ways is simply the one who believes Jesus is the Son of God” (1 John 5:4-5 MSG).
Listen: Spend a few quiet moments seeking God. Be attentive to whatever He may speak to your heart.
Reflect: How is the Spirit leading you to respond to what you have heard from God?
Confess and Repent: If there is something the Spirit convicts you of, take time to prayerfully confess it. Resolve to turn from it if it is sin, or step toward whatever He is leading you into that you have either neglected or not seen before.
Ask: Thank You Lord, for being a God who calms storms. Even before You stilled the waves, You were with the disciples in the midst of it. Thank You for walking with me through the storms of my life. Help me to always be aware of Your presence as I turn from fear and embrace faith this day.
- Romans 8:6 says, “The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.” Is your mind
governed by your flesh or the Spirit? Fear is a fleshly, horizontal response within our lives. List the things you are afraid of. Name these things one by one and ask the Holy Spirit to give you the perfect love that drives out fear (1 John 4:18). What happens to your fears as you begin to develop a vertical focus to deal with them?
- Is there a storm in your life or the life of someone close to you right now? Take some time to imagine Jesus in the midst of it with you. What would He say to you as you face this struggle? Can you trust Him to calm this storm?
- Consider each of these passages about peace and allow them to strengthen and encourage your heart: Psalm 4:8; Psalm 29:11; Psalm 119:165; Psalm 122:8; Isaiah 26:3; Isaiah 26:12; Isaiah 32:18; John 14:27; Romans 8:6; Romans 15:13; Philippians 4:7; Colossians 3:15; 2 Thessalonians 3:16. Pass the peace from these verses to others who struggle with fear so that they will have their faith built up and realize that the presence of Jesus in their situations will bring peace to the storm they are experiencing.
Taken from Vertical with Jesus by David and Kim Butts. © 2022 PrayerShop Publishing.