A Mariner’s Greatest Fear

Mark 4:36-41 NIV

35 That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” 36 Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38 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?” 39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. 40 He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” 41 They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him”

One of a mariner’s greatest fears is to find themselves in the middle of the sea faced with a terrible storm. Apart from the vessel you find yourself in, there is really not much in the way of protection. A mariner is at the total mercy of nature. His situation is a dire one that cannot be remedied with the blink of an eye.

After a very long day of teaching and ministering the Lord decides he and the disciples must travel across the sea to continue the work He was called to fulfill. The activities of the day apparently caught up with Him and He fell fast asleep in the stern of the ship. So deep was His sleep and peaceful His rest that as a violent storm suddenly came upon them, He remained slumbering. This storm was threatening even to the point that these experienced fishermen worried for their wellbeing. Soon they woke the Master, He stilled the wind and sea then challenged their faith.

“Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” What an interesting assessment. Here were experienced mariners facing the dread of every seaman/fisherman and He challenges their faith. What was so different about this situation? It’s as if the Lord is implying that every storm at sea that a mariner may find can be stilled by a word of faith. I’m inclined to think it has more to do with who is in the ship not what condition is the ship in. The unusual variable in this situation is the Lord in the boat. Mariners have been stuck in troubled seas for centuries and will continue to be. What makes the difference in case is the fact the Lord is in the ship. If He is there, it will not fail. If He is center, it shall not sink. Where He is master, the waves will be stilled. And so, if we are found doing His will He can freely ask the question, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” Just make sure you are in the same boat He is in. This is His will!

J. Robert Hanson


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